The last few weeks have been full. We’ve been out of town a few times on short trips–meetings, a conference (for David), and celebrating my birthday last week. David gifted me with a day-trip to Charleston and even though it rained and I wasn’t feeling my best, we had a sweet time, which is always something to be grateful for. But David and I have fallen prey to the monster that is busyness and we need to examine whether that fits in with what we want and what we believe. The filling up of our time hasn’t necessary been productive.
In Charleston, despite being glad for the comfort of my husband, I was overwhelmed by fear–my emotions heightened to the point of tears and trembling and retreating with no understanding of how to make it better. My anxiety has been on the rise since December, and although I’m not sure of the exact trigger yet, this post resonated with me. Simply acknowledging that something feels off is freeing.
Anxiety has been a struggle for me all my life, and later I realized depression as well, but now, at the point where I avoid everything and everyone who isn’t my husband, something’s got to give. My responses are as much a natural physiological reaction to stimuli (crowds, being the center of attention, going someplace new alone, having to talk to strangers) as they are responses to the things specific to my life that cause me stress, a persistent and often debilitating tendency to worry. The smallest interactions seem terrifying because of what might happen, what topic might come up, what uncomfortable or sorrowful thing I may have to deal with when what I really want to do is pretend it doesn’t exist. Every interaction is a possible scenario in which I’ll have to explain myself, justify myself, prove my worth to others when I don’t know if I believe it to be true. A situation where I’ll have to take stock of my life and find myself wanting. The simple question, “What have you been up to?” overwhelms me, and that’s just not right. It’s not right that much of my life feels like getting by, or hiding. But it is okay. As difficult as it is, I do believe I’m exactly where I need to be.
I’m making time to understand how I feel, starting with writing this post, something I’ve been avoiding. I’m thankful for my husband who’s pushed me to think about what’s been going on physically and emotionally, pushed me to accept those parts of myself without giving in to them. I’m beginning to see that I can free myself from these mental burdens, this loneliness and isolation. I’m not confined to the limitations I’ve always believed my anxiety placed on me.
In a few weeks I’ll be going with David to book related events, things I usually skip out of fear. And that’s a good start.