Smile and Wave

Reality hit in the form of a friend of mine who is very direct. Very logical. And although I hate to admit it…very right.

The past while has not been good, I have not felt good and I could feel the darkness that I have fought off for 3 years starting to creep back in.

Despondent. That’s what I was. Still am a little bit…but I now have perspective on the whole situation.

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I was focusing so much on the future, on the uncertainty of my future and on the current situation that felt like it was swallowing me whole. I could not make head or tails of anything and it felt like everything was bearing down on me all at once. It’s a scary place to be in, when you actually can’t even make the decision between coffee or tea, a bath or a shower, eating or not eating. Small decisions become these impossible mountains that you cannot even fathom climbing.

But then you do. You get someone to slap you thoroughly in the face and make you realize that you are okay. That you are coping and that you are a hell of a lot stronger than you thought you were.

Yes, I still cry and feel weak and barely sleep because I am too afraid of the nightmares… but I have perspective.

One thing that this friend said to me that made a lot of sense is this: Look at the relationship where the information is coming from that is upsetting you and evaluate accordingly. She mentioned the following example: If say, you were driving, and the beggar next to the street calls you a whore because you do not give them money…does that really matter? Should it upset you? If, however, your mother or a really close friend calls you a whore…well…then it has a lot more power doesn’t it?

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Don’t allow people who actually mean nothing to you the power to bring you down. To make you doubt yourself and who you are as a person. Evaluate your relationship with them, and react accordingly .

I was allowing people to speak negativity into my life, and I started believing it. The negativity was drowning me, consuming every part of me…and I felt like I was going to die. I felt like I wanted to die…or run away…or simply disappear.

Not that I now no longer feel like I am drowning, I still am, but I have come up for air. My lungs are still burning from the salt water, my body still feels like it has been to war and my mind…well my mind is exhausted. But, I am getting there…every battle I fight, every difficulty I face, every impossible situation I find myself in is making me stronger. The future me at least. The current me does not feel so strong, but I will fake it till I make it!

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My new outlook is to evaluate, breathe, calm myself down and then smile. I may be crying while I am smiling, but I will keep smiling. I will keep treating people with kindness and respect and the way that they deserve to be treated. The way that I would want to be treated, even if they do not deserve it. I refuse to drop down to someone else ‘s level. 

I refuse to become negative, bitter, hateful and petty.

It is not who I am and it is not who I want to be.

Come at me world! But maybe…just give me five minute’s

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This is how ……..

Stress. I have stress. I am stressed. Stress and I are tight right now. Like conjoined twins tight.

Going into detail about all the things that are stressing me at this moment will be a very long list…so lets just say that there are a lot of factors contributing to the levels of stress in my life. Work, emotional, physical…just about everything. Choices that need to be made, steps that need to be taken, work that needs to be done…

So instead of listing the things that are stressing me, I am going to share with you the weird and wonderful ways in which stress…

  1. Neck spasm. I get this wonderful burning feeling that runs all the way down the left side of my body that kind of escalates in my left trap. This gives me pins and needles in my left hand. Heart attack? Wouldn’t be surprised!
  2. Severe Migraines.The simple process of breathing sends my skull with waves of crushing pain
  3. Sleep walking. Yes. This happens. The other night I fell asleep fully clothed in my bed and woke up without my pj pants on my couch. All the lights on. No idea how I got there.
  4. ADD. I cannot focus on anything. Its like there are misfires everywhere in my brain. I go from: have to buy milk, milk comes from cows, toaster toasts, skulls, oh hey look shiny! So yes…logical train of thought: Zero
  5. Water retention. I bloat like a puffer fish. I look like the Oros man. I look like the zombie in the second season of The Walking Dead that they found in the water well. My double chin rivals that of Honey Boo-Boo’s mothers!
  6. Shake it baby!  I think I get temporary case of Parkinson’s. Sometimes it gets so bad that I can’t hold or lift a cup of coffee to my mouth and need to use a straw to drink anything, Hot or cold.
  7. My stress spot. Eczema. There, I said it. I have this spot on the back of my head/neck that is my stress spot. And I will scratch that spot till it bleeds. Gross right?
  8. When I am not sleep walking…I am not sleeping. Insomnia. Insomnia like a BOSS. My brain will be so active I could probably write a trilogy of epic proportions…if my ADD didn’t keep me away from actually staying on one thought. So my trilogy would start with a rainbow pooping unicorn and end with a serial killer from Jamaica who’s calling card is a bag of weed and instructions to a hidden treasure.
  9. Lastly, and by no means leastly (? Yes I know I just made up a word), procrastination. Why do you think I am writing this? I have a shit ton of work to do…and yet I am writing this and pinning like a mad woman on Pinterest.

High-functioning anxiety looks like… 23c365f6af44dd8272a6b5fd1d1f9938

Over-Achievement. Hyper-Activity. Perfectionism.

When it sneaks out, it transforms into nervous habits. below the belt sarcasm . Fast pace walking. Running my fingers through my hair.

If you look close enough, you can see it in answered text messages. Flakiness. Nervous laughter. The panic that flashes through my eyes when a plan changes. When anything changes.

High-functioning anxiety feels like…

A snake slithering up my back, clamping its jaws shut where my shoulders meet my neck. Punch-in-the-gut stomach aches, like my body is confusing answering an email with being attacked by a lion.

High-functioning anxiety sounds like…

You’re not good enough. You’re a bad friend. You’re not good at your job. You’re wasting time. You’re a waste of time. Your boyfriend doesn’t love you. You’re so needy. What are you doing with yourself? Why would you say that? What if they hate it? Why can’t you have your shit together? You’re going to get anxious and because you’re going to get anxious, you’re going to mess everything up. You’re a fraud. Just good at faking it. You’re letting everybody down. No one here likes you.

All the while, You appear perfectly calm.

It’s always looking for the next outlet, something to channel the never-ending energy. Writing. Running. List-making. Mindless tasks (whatever keeps you busy). Doing jumping jacks in the kitchen. Dancing in the living room, pretending it’s for fun, when really it’s a choreographed routine of desperation, trying to tire out the thoughts stuck in your head. 

It’s silent anxiety attacks, hidden by smiles.

It’s always being busy but also always avoiding, so important things don’t get done. It’s letting things pile up rather than admitting you’re overwhelmed or in need of help.

It’s that sharp pang of saying the wrong thing, the one that starts the cycles of thoughts. Because you said too much, and nobody cares, and it makes you never want to speak up again.

It’s going back and forth between everyone else has it together but you, and so many people have it tougher than you.

Get your act together.

Suck it up.

You’re not OK, you’re messing everything up.

You’re totally OK, stop being such a baby.

It’s waking up in the middle of the night sobbing because the worst-case-scenario that just went through your head at high speed seems so real, so vivid, that even when it’s proven to be untrue, it takes hours for your heart to slow down, to feel calm again.

Because how “OK” are you when a day without a plan is enough to make you crumble? When empty spaces make you spiral at the very anticipation of being alone with your thoughts? When you need to make a list to get through a Sunday: watch a show, clean your kitchen, exercise, answer five emails, read 10 pages, watch a show… ?

It’s feeling unqualified to write this piece because I’m getting by. It’s when you’re social enough to get invited to things, but so often find yourself standing in a room where it feels like no one knows you. It’s being good at conversation and bad at making close friends because you only show up when you feel “well” enough. Only text back when you feel ready. Because you’re afraid they’d hate you if they really knew you. That the energy would overwhelm them, and you’d lose them.

So you learn to reign it in. Channel it. Even though sometimes you do everything right (exercise, sleep, one TV show, five emails, 10 pages…) and you’re still left with racing thoughts, the panic. The not good enough’s.

When will it be enough?

Having anxiety means constantly managing motion that can be productive or self-destructive, depending on how much sleep you got. Depending on the day. Depending on the Earth’s alignment with Mars. Depending on…

It’s when “living with it” means learning how to sit with it. Practicing staying in bed a little longer. Challenging the mean, unrelenting voices that say you’re only worth what you produced that day.

It means learning how to say, “I need help.” Trying to take care of yourself without the guilt. It means every once in a while, confiding in a friend. It means sometimes showing up even when you’re scared.

It’s when answering a text impulsively and thoughtlessly is an act of bravery.

It’s fighting against your own need to constantly prove your right to exist in this world.

It’s learning how to validate your own feelings. That even though you don’t feel like you’re enough, and you’ll never be enough, it’s knowing you’re at least anxious enough to benefit from help. That admitting you need it doesn’t confirm voices’ lies. That taking a break doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

It’s finding your own humanity in the anxiety, in your weaknesses. It’s trying to let the energy inspire you, instead of bring you down. It’s forgiving yourself when it wins.

It’s a way to live, with this constant companion. Your bullying twin. Collapsible luggage you can bury away at a moment’s notice. Shove it under the bed. Pretend it’s not there until you can’t fit anymore. Until you can no longer ignore it. Until you have to face it.

A first good step is staring at it straight on and calling it by its name.

High anxiety can be a natural consequence of a busy lifestyle, but its existence is akin to the chicken and the egg. Which came first, the anxiety or the busyness? Am I always moving because I’m anxious or am I anxious because I’m always moving?

Either way, it’s not a noble way to suffer. It’s not a “better” way to be anxious. Just because you’re “functioning” doesn’t always mean you’re happy. And just because you’re functioning doesn’t mean you shouldn’t slow down, breathe and take one damn second to be happy the way things are.

In this very moment.

This quiet, short moment.

To remember the peace you found in that second of silence, until the electricity starts again, and you’re forced to move.

So this is how I stress…and currently I have all the symptoms. At least I can still laugh! Even if that laugh is slightly manic and leaning toward the hysterical nature of The Joker (circa Health Ledger/ Jared Leto). But hey…that’s why they have wine! And the gym…yoga helps….

Now let me get my shit together and get some work done…oh look, a bird

What is it, Asshole Day ?

Today started off normal enoughactually, it started off pretty good. Besides the fact that my Achilles are killing me and it took me a half hour just to stretch them enough to be able to get out of bed.

But it started off good….its Sunday, its been a busy week so the week has flown by and I was feeling pretty damn good. Stressed, but good.Then it seemed like the shit just went ape shit and hit the fan. Not going to go into details, but it has been a rough day….and its not even 1:00 p.m. yet!

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In short, I have broken down into tears about 4 times today. Been crapped on by one person and made to feel like an idiot by another.

I hit a point when I was sitting on the bus coming back from work at the casino, where I seriously considered just not going back to work. Just to fadeand then when asked where I am my only reply would be: “I quit.” Not because I want to, but because I am sick of office politics and games and miscommunication and wellat this point just everything.

It is as if all the little things throughout the week have added up and came crashing down on me all at once. I have been without my at home glasses after the contacts are out for the week because mine have grown legs and walked away, so there’s that and the permanent headache that you deal with when that happens.

My body has this new trick where it feels like I’m about to pass out /fast heartbeat on me randomlythat’s always fun. Especially in peak customer traffic. Great times. I love being sworn at for something I cannot control.

Also, apparently I am quite stressed about the fact that in a week I am going to have my MRI read to let me know if both of  my Achilles need to be cut open and cleaned out which will result in me being in a wheelchair for 4 weeks. That’s fantastic

Today I am feeling sorry for myself. I am mad at myself. I am feeling all the cracks and they hurt like a bitch.

I hate that I have to go through something this big again on my own. Sure, I have people around me who are very supportivebut there is just something about actually having someone special in your life who you know you can count on being there. To look after you, to take you to the hospital, to be there when you wake upand then for everything after that. And feeling like this makes me so mad! I have to scramble to make arrangements, I have to suck up my pride and ask people for help and hope that they don’t turn around and see me as a burden, a nuisanceI don’t ever want to be that to anyone But I guess that is what I am right now. I mean, I have no other options.

Today is not a good daybut I will make it betterI will suck it up and deal with it. Like I always do.

When is this whole, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing going to start paying off? Have I not gone through enough? Am I not strong enough now? How much more am I going to have to take? How much more am I going to have to break to be this invincible being that can take anything? When am I going to stop crying? When does it get better?

Because seriouslyI have had enough. I am tired of struggling. I am tired ofthis. This life that I try and make better, but then get kicked back down again. I am done.

Maybe I just need to take a few breaths, enjoy weekend and just focus on one thing at a time. Obviously my silver lining is still hiding behind the storm. It will come out at some pointbut for now, for now I don’t want to have to pretend that I am okay and that I am strong and that I have my shit together.

I am not okay. I am not strong. My shit is all over the place!

But I will get through this day and the next and the next and the next and if I just keep goingI will claw myself out of this hole.

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