“Did I say something wrong?” “Oh nooo, she is taking so long to respond. Maybe I was offensive.” “What’s going to happen if I say no?” “I’m probably coming on too strong…I should fall back a little.” “Why am I in a bad mood? I can’t shake this feeling…” “Man, it really doesn’t seem like I’m connecting with anyone today.”
These are a just a few examples of some of the thoughts that run through my head on what should be a “normal” day. I’ve realized three things in the last couple of years: 1) because of it I never have a “normal” day; 2) there are lots and lots of people who suffer from it and experience the same feelings I do but never talk about it; and 3) it has become more evident as I get older.
The “it” that I am speaking about is anxiety. I believe that most people deal with some form of anxiety in one way or another. I have figured out a way to function through it somehow. Now, am I functioning well? I’m not really sure. I have avoided medication and therapy, which some have found to be extremely helpful, I’m sure.
I find myself questioning so many more things than I used to. Is it good enough? Will they like it? Then, I talk myself out of doing whatever it is I wanted to do. It has been YEARS since I’ve done this. It bothers me that I am back in a place that I thought I had escaped from. Maybe it never went away…I just suppressed it somehow.
It’s hard to determine what kind of day it will be when I wake up every morning. Some people go to sleep happy because something great has happened that day, and then they wake up with that same energy. That doesn’t happen with me. I can go to sleep happy over the same news the other person was happy about, but my next day may be filled with negative thoughts about why I shouldn’t be happy. I don’t even know if I’m explaining this accurately…I’m doing the best I can. The point is, it isn’t something that just “goes away” because you play a feel-good song or because someone says something funny.
Have I ever dealt with depression? Yup. Have I ever had thoughts of harming myself? Yes, albeit a very long time ago. The point is, I understand. I know what it is like to feel separated from everyone even when they’re close by. I know what it is like to think that life would be better for everyone else without you around. I know how hard it is to smile and laugh when you can’t even explain your feelings to anyone.
I get it. I hear you. I see you.
I am not sure what the future holds, as none of us are. I just know that one day at a time, we will get through.
One day I won’t read and re-read…and then re-read again an unsent text message that would seem so simple to most. One day I won’t leave an email in draft for two days while I wrestle with myself over sending it – just because. One day I won’t agonize over telling someone I am not able to do something they’ve asked me to do. One day I’ll understand that it’s okay for me to take care of me first. One day I’ll allow myself to truly feel proud of my accomplishments…I think I have a few…(smile). One day I’ll accept that there are some people who genuinely enjoy being around me.
I am often asked if there is anything I don’t do. But they don’t reallllly know why I keep myself so busy. I work from home full-time, I write for my blog, my husband and I have a small catering business, I braid hair and I do my fair share of online shopping. I keep myself busy so that my mind is occupied. I think that’s why if there is ever a moment that I have down time, I grab a crossword puzzle or get a new jigsaw puzzle to keep my brain busy. Otherwise, I will sit and think about who said what, who did what, maybe I should have…, I wonder if… basically just getting myself worked up for no apparent reason. I am good at creating scenarios in my head about things that have not actually happened, and may never.
Someone once told me that every time they see me I’m smiling…I make a conscious effort to do that. I think that’s a step in the right direction. I make sure to focus every day on what will truly make Lea happy and I commit myself to doing just that. I am trying to get more sleep, relax more, exercise to ease the tension in my neck & back that is constant…anything that will help me cope.
I am grateful for such a strong support system – some of whom know exactly what I am feeling because they too, experience it. I love having the opportunity to be so open without feeling judged. I can say that for the most part I am happy. My husband and I have a strong, loving marriage. Our children are all amazing. I am excited about my career path and other business ventures.
Are there days when I do not want company or want to be around a lot of people? Yes and I’m not talking about just not being in the mood – I literally have gotten body aches over it and became irritable. My husband is so dope, ya’ll. He totally gets me. Never forces me or makes me feel like I’m disappointing him for not going somewhere. He understands that crowds aren’t my thing, even though he thrives in those environments. I often wish I could command a room like he does…maybe one day. We are total opposites in so many ways, but we fit together perfectly. I am grateful for him…
Do I have days where my brain is consumed with thoughts of sad events or self-doubt? Yes, I do…but I also know that I can take it to the Lord in prayer. I can fall into the arms of my husband. I can call my sister and unload…some people don’t have anyone. You feel alone and misunderstood.
Well, you have me. We can start there…