I’ve had a partial blog written about anxiety since we were in Florida on the 4th of July. I have a few other blog topics started also. Every evening I gather up my laptop and sit down on the couch… that’s it, I just sit there. Occasionally I glance at the computer sitting there and think nope. I just don’t want to write about that, so I don’t. Today I’m finally going to do it, so that perhaps I can move on from this topic and write about something else.
Before I start lets just get something straight… I’M NOT WRITING THIS BECAUSE I WANT YOUR PITY, SYMPATHY, OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT. I don’t want anyone feeling SORRY for me. I’m not a victim of anything. I’m a grown adult, and I’m trying my best to deal with it and get on with life. I’m sharing my feelings and life events to hopefully help someone else who is facing the same things. Maybe, just maybe somewhere along the way through my transparency about all of it, I’ll find some healing. I desperately need to step out of the anxiety.
This next part was written while in Florida. Please forgive me if it jumps around a little… Some of it is just random thoughts while the anxiety is in full effect.
It was a great weekend with friends but honestly I had a thousand things on my mind. For whatever reason my anxiety decided to rear its ugly head on Saturday…
“I sat in an airplane seat across from three of the most important people in my life, and I couldn’t shut out the voices in my head. You will never be good enough for them, they whispered. You’re not worth fighting for, they spoke a little louder this time. They unfortunately were carried home with me, and have been taunting me for over a week. Today the anxiety got the best of me again. I spent the afternoon in a puddle of self loathing.”
“I’m in the house of one of my very best friends in this tiny bed that I’ve spent so much time in during the past year and a half. I find myself thinking about all the nights my tears have soaked these pillows, that don’t even belong to me. I remember nights full of pleading prayers, and nights where all I could do was cry. At one point there came a time where I felt like I couldn’t pray. Then came I don’t know what to pray for… I honestly think I’ve been afraid to pray for awhile now. Tonight I finally hit my knees for the first time in a long time and all I could say was help. Don’t get me wrong, I pray daily but it’s for the people around me who need it, or it’s for Frankie and the kids to be happy and healthy. I stopped asking God for the things that I thought I needed or wanted a long time ago. It occurs to me that I’m scared to ask God for anything that is specifically for myself, because I know His ways are not always the same as my plans. I also know that God is not a magical genie who just sits around granting wishes all day. I realize that’s not how it works. At the same time, I believe in miracles. I believe we should talk to God daily. I believe we should trust him, and I do. I doubt myself daily though, and this is a real problem.”
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
“I’m going to share a little secret. I don’t sleep well… In the past week I’ve woken up most nights drenched in sweat and terrified. Just two mornings ago, I woke up sobbing uncontrollably. I really hate crying! What exactly does one do when they wake up like this and for no apparent reason? I dread bed time. It’s getting better a little at a time, but so much slower than I want.”
It frustrates me to no end that I could be in the middle of the best day ever, there will be a trigger, and I’m out of place. I don’t fit in. What if? Comes to visit and I find myself riding a train I didn’t board, to a place where it feels like I don’t matter.
Let’s take a minute and lay out what anxiety is like for me. Yes I shake uncontrollably and stutter at times, but it doesn’t always show up in that form. It’s a tightness in my chest that makes me feel like I’m having a heart attack. It’s not being able to focus, or staring off into space, lost in worry. It’s constantly feeling like something is wrong, but not aways knowing what. A constant fear of losing everything that means anything. Waking up in the middle of the night with your heart racing and you can’t stop crying. I’m dealing with it though, I just spend a lot of time mentally and physically exhausted. Before you tell me I need to go to the doctor… Let me assure you I have! I’ve taken medicine, which does not help what so ever. I know how you’re supposed to cope with it. The methods don’t always work. Sometimes, I recognize what’s happening and can stop it, but not always. I’ve been told by more than one doctor that it’s a form of PTSD. It makes me feel small and unimportant. It makes me feel like I can’t walk beside you, I need to walk behind because I’m not good enough. It makes me feel like I can’t talk about what I’m feeling because everyone will think I’m a spaz… someone actually called me that during an anxiety attack.
If you want to help someone with their anxiety calling them names will NOT help. For me, holding my hand sometimes works. Sit down beside me and tell me it’s ok. Remind me that you love me, and aren’t going to give up on me because of this. Remind me to breathe. Quote me a scripture. Don’t get angry or frustrated at me for feeling like this though, because that makes it worse. I don’t always know what’s causing the anxiety, so if you ask what’s wrong and I don’t answer it’s not that I don’t want to tell you. I just can’t pinpoint what the problem is.
A friend got pretty upset with me this week because I said the wrong thing and didn’t ask the right questions. Things got blown way out of proportion and honestly I don’t know how to fix it. I just know that for once in a really long time, I was genuinely excited about something. I called the person I couldn’t wait to tell. It wasn’t a good time to call, but I didn’t know that. I’m apologizing once again.
I’ve also been informed in the last week that my heart is not perfect. In the past six months I’ve been given the “sex” talk from more than one of you, told I’m no better than my ex-husband, and I’ve been told I’m not a good Christian on more than one occasion. I’ve been called all kinds of names for trying to save a marriage that everyone knew wasn’t working out. I’ve been called names for moving on from said marriage. I had someone straight up ask me if I got divorced because I was a cheater. When I was shocked by the question and said no, I got the reply, “well I just assumed…” Really??? Stop it!
I am dealing with a lot, just like the rest of you are. There are people out there facing way worse situations than I am. When I stop to think about those people I feel so guilty for being down and struggling to get through each day. I refuse to defend myself any longer against small mindedness. Yes, I know I don’t have a perfect heart, not even close in fact. Thank you for pointing it out though. I really needed a reminder. I don’t go to church every Sunday. I do thank God often! I ask him to search my heart and show me how to be better. I know the bible pretty well, but am always open to learning more.
I live with a man I’m not married to… let that sink in. I don’t know if marriage will ever be in the cards for me again. I’m committed to him, he’s committed to me. I’m not looking for anyone else and don’t intend to ever. I’ve never been a cheater and I never will be. I don’t keep secrets because I know that can destroy any relationship. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. I’ll put in the work to have a healthy, well rounded relationship. If it makes you feel better to tell me I’m not going to heaven because of this, do what you have to do I guess. I can assure you that I’m my own worst critic. If you feel it’s your Christian duty to point out every sin I am currently committing, let er’ rip. There are a lot of them, I’m not proud of them. I’m still trying. I still want to serve God. I still believe he will use my life… Some of you’ve actually said God will not use me. How am I supposed to respond to that? Frankie would quote John 8:7- “Let him who is without sin among you, be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Most of our mothers taught us that if we didn’t have anything nice to say keep it to ourselves . I would love to talk about my faith with you. I will discuss any topic you like as long as your kind. I can take constructive criticism pretty well. When it crosses from a place of loving correction into just plain mean, that’s not ok.
A friend told me this week that I just don’t get her. You know, she’s right. She doesn’t fully get me either though. To expect that out of someone else, to want them to fully understand every little detail of you… I’m not sure it’s even possible. To expect someone to be on point in every aspect of a relationship is setting yourself up for disappointment. To search for that, is a search that will never be completed on this earth. We are human. We fail at how we treat each other. We fail at how we treat ourselves. We don’t always have to be so hard on one another. I’m starting to see that everything isn’t always black and white. Sometimes there’s a grey area. Right isn’t always easily distinguished from wrong. Sometimes we have to look really hard, and what looks like the right way isn’t what we thought. If someone trys to understand you, and wants to listen and help with your struggles, maybe that should be enough.
You know yourself better than anyone else, if there’s something you need out of a situation or from a person in your life… Tell them. Personally I need to not be the one always reaching out to everyone else. I need to know I’m appreciated and loved. If we are friends, you will remember a time when I called all the time just to talk. I can’t always do that anymore. Call me… Remember all those times I went out of my way for all of you? Sometimes I need to feel that kind of love. I didn’t do it so it would be returned. I did it so you would know I loved you. Right now, I’m taking my own advice and I’m telling you, I can’t always be that version of me anymore.
I want to live without the stranglehold of anxiety. I’m sorry that the one I love didn’t know me before I was broken, before everything hurt my feelings. I wish you could have seen me when I wasn’t scared of everything. I’m fighting to get back to that. I’m just as sick of all this crying and anxiety as all of you are. I really just need someone to put their arms around me and hold on tight for awhile. Is that too much to ask?
I’ve been told by doctors that when I feel an anxiety attack coming on, I need to look around me and find three things to ground me. It’s never worked before, until yesterday. I was fighting it and I was struggling. It took everything I had to put my focus off the need to shake because of what was bothering me, and instead just enjoy what the day held. As I’m sitting here typing this morning, it occurs to me that I started off this article writing about the three most important people to me. Now I’m writing about the three things that I need to focus on to ground me and help me through the anxiety. It’s Funny how that works sometimes. I know I don’t always choose the exact way that a Christian should. I probably spend too much time in the grey area, than most of you think is appropriate. I don’t think I’ll be out of the grey until the end of my life when I meet my maker, but that’s just me. If you want to say you live perfectly on the right side of grey all the time, and never(even accidentally) step into the grey, who am I to judge. I find that I’m living right at the edge of grey, and for now the only time I can touch perfection is when I swallow my pride and bow my knee. When I cry out and all I can say is, “I’m sorry, help please”, I know that He is listening and that He is the only one who fully gets any of us.
This morning as I sit here writing and putting the finishing touches on the blog, everyone is sleeping. I am sitting here trying to decide whether to post it or delete it, and I hear, “psst”. I look over and there’s a three year old looking at me and giggling. I think of the eight year old sleeping in her bed and smile to myself. This situation is so hard for me. I never knew I could love someone else’s children quite this much. It’s a fine line to walk, and a whole new set of anxiety for me. They have a mother and father who both love them so much. They really don’t need me… but for some reason they’ve accepted me. Actually a whole family of people have accepted me, no questions asked.(well except for a few searches on casenet lol) I’m so grateful. They make me want to be better. I want to teach them kindness, and love. I want them to know that everything I do stems from a desire to please God. For me they are it… and I know they are oh so worth every ounce of pain I had to go through to get to them.