2020 has quickly become the year that I don’t write when I should.
Today, after church, I had pulled our couch covers off of both of our couches because they desperately needed a wash. I was going to wait to vacuum the floor til after I reput the couch covers back on (we have molting couches) but, instead I sang a little ditty.
“Sometimes I clean to hide from my emotions…”
I cleaned, I made lunch, I laid in bed scrolling tiktok. I took a nap. I woke up foggy and cloudy. I ordered dinner and then decided to just sit at my computer and stop running from the words that were attempting to topple out of my brain.
I’ve hinted at this a couple of times in the few blogs I’ve written this year, but I’ve basically been crippled by anxiety on multiple occasions in the past four months.
It’s ebbed and flowed. It’s caused me to stay in bed and hide, or not hang out with the small group of humans that I’ve surrounded myself with.
It’s caused me to cry a lot.
Talking about and posting about anxiety in the way that I want to feels like putting myself out there in a way that feels like people are going to worry- they don’t need too.
I think talking about anxiety and the causes of it and how it feels is so incredibly important.
And it’s so different for everyone.
Just because I go to work every day and function and have a smile on my face doesn’t mean I’m not a high functioning basket case of anxiety. Just because I show up doesn’t mean my skin isn’t crawling or that I physically have to force myself to stay present for the kiddos in my room. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t had to run into my storage closet at work and rip off my mask.
It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes try not to fall asleep because then I have to wake up again and keep going.
I’m a person who shows up for other people.
But sometimes, I realize that is something I just can’t do.
The past few weeks were exceptional hard. I’ve been overcome with a lot of sadness for my camp kids. I took a few days off because I had to use vacation time and it was really hard and I spent any moment alone in tears.
And in the week leading up to July 4th, I just battled daily voices in my head telling me I was failing or no enough or not worth it and then to add to that I had some really haunting memories crawl out from under the bed.
It just made me so damn tired.
I realized when I woke up on the 4th of July, I didn’t want to go to the small barbeque I was invited too, I didn’t want to people.
My heart hurt.
I think I was tired from the anxiety, I was tired from the sadness.
I was tired of all the memories that come up around the weekend of July 4th.
So I stayed home.
And that was a good choice.
I cried I slept, I watched food network.
I took a lot of deep breathes.
I’ve come a long way in my journey through dealing with and having anxiety.
This journey started about 11 years ago. It involved hitting rock bottom, not knowing what the hell was wrong with me, going into therapy and getting on incredibly strong antidepressants. It involved weeks of not sleeping and literally living in life in fear of being a burden or not doing something correctly.
I literally stopped going to work. I was crippled by darkness and anxiety. The voice inside my head was winning whatever game it was playing.
My journey included grappling with suicidal thoughts and sobbing on the phone to my therapist in a parking lot and terrifying myself in the process.
I came to the understanding that my brain just was a little out of wack and the meds I was on needed time to settle.
The hope in my life wasn’t gone- it was just very dim.
2020 is not 2009.
But 2020 is a game of its own.
I’m stronger now and honestly just more stubborn.
I have facts in my head that I can list through when I’m feeling especially out of wack.
And I live in a lot less shame from on me from those around me that say my anxiety is because I’m doing something wrong or I’m not “close enough to God” (yes, that’s a thing).
I’m less prone to listen to someone who says my anxiety is shameful.
If I’m being honest, in 2020 my anxiety has shown me how damn far I’ve come.
It’s showed me I can keep moving forward.
It’s reminded me that I can listen to my body and know when I need to stop or when stopping would be detrimental.
It’s reminded me that crying is ok.
I want to remind you that just like me, you’ve probably come a lot farther than you think you have.
Just like me, you’ve gotten stronger.
And just like me, it’s ok that your battle isn’t over.
I wanted to sit here and write these words and admit to the sadness and the thoughts the run through my head sometimes because I wanted you to know that you have nothing to be ashamed of when you feel like you aren’t winning the battle with those things.
And honestly, the world is not making it easy for those of us who have feel as if they have no control over the balance in our brain spaces.
You’re doing better than you think you are.
I am doing better than I think I am.
Let’s keep fucking going.