The silence gets louder every day. It seems like I lose more and more of who I am every day until all there is, is silence and emptiness. I feel like a void. And today, it feels like the void is swirling with feelings that I can’t control, and whose origins I can’t trace. I am overwhelmed and tired and sad. And I can only hope that tomorrow will be better.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon
I saw this recently (probably oon Facebook) and I was struck by it – not because it is particularly profound or an idea I haven’t heard before, but because it suddenly seemed to describe my anxious self. I have other selves – my depressed self, my opinionated self, my crafty self, and many others. But for the last couple weeks, my anxious self has been mostly running things. I do and think a wide variety of things as coping mechanisms:
Sleeping more – sleeping in and taking naps
Hanging out with my doggies – snuggling and going for walks
Sitting in whatever room my husband happens to be in just for proximity
Listening to music
Reading a book
There are a lot of other things I do some less constructive than others. But for the most part, the one thing all these coping mechanisms have in common, is that they more or less keep me cooped up inside my house or in the case ofndog walking, they keep me alone. All of my coping mechanisms keep me “pulled back from life”. This makes a lot of sense to me, because one of my primary anxiety triggers is people I don’t know or social situations where I can’t predict what will happen (which, as it turns out, is all the time).
So, intellectually and even in my heart, I know that I am keeping myself from the world, but I find it to be a herculean task to act in any other way. I have to continually remind myself that I am doing the things I need to do to keep myself functioning in my small corner of the world, even if that means that I am restricted to that small corner.
How do you cope? And do you find yourself pulling or currently pulled back from the world?
Friday I went to the Madonna Center with forty other women for my church’s (mostly) annual women’s retreat. I have gone to the last three or four women’s retreats and they have always been uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable.
There hasn’t been one since Erik and I got together in late 2010. In fact, this past weekend was the first time since Erik and I met that I have gone away and left him at home. It’s usually the other way around. So when I found myself on my own, away from home, knowing Erik would be home in our bed at the end of the day, my anxiety shot through the roof. I was so racked with anxiety I could hardly think straight and I certainly couldn’t pray, meditate, or connect with other women. Well anyway, I eventually managed to shake the worst of it, enjoy the weekend, and learn a few things as well.
Today, Erik and I overslept again. He ran off to work and I spent a half hour cleaning up paw prints from Sanka who had jumped up and down in his own poop and then come bounding into the house. Then I ran off to work, only to grab the kiddo I was taking care of for the morning and run back to my house because I forgot the landscaper’s were coming today and I had left the doggies in the back yard. I made phone calls while my kiddo played fetch with the dogs and then ran back to his house to make lunch for everyone. Home, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s, the bank, Walgreen’s, pay the landscapers, lay the rubber pavers, eat dinner, take Sanka to puppy preschool, and…and…and.
Tomorrow, onto my ‘inside the house’ to do list. Oh yeah and buying more pavers to finish the back yard, finding storage benches, training the puppy, making dinner, and…
My activities are limited to what I can accomplish on a scooter with barely one cubic foot of storage space. Not to mention the freakishly cold/windy weather we’ve been having.
So it’s Thursday night and I had the car today, but I also had to work all morning, an appointment at 3pm, someone coming to the house at 5:30pm to give us an estimate on landscaping the backyard before the party, and someone else coming at 6:30pm to see about renting our extra room.
In between all of that I was supposed to do laundry, pack for the retreat, buy groceries, make dinner for tonight and something for the weekend, clean the room for rent before 6:30pm, get the dogs ready to go to the kennel, and who knows what else.
Only half of that got done and I’ll give you one guess what this does to my anxiety and depression. More on that next week. I have absolutely no excuse for spending time at the computer.
Wish me luck. See you Monday!
Somewhere between 5:45 and 6am Erik came in and out of the room three different times because it was really cold today and he needed his jacket and his gloves, but he couldn’t find them and he was late so he was frustrated. By 6:05am Erik was gone and I could get comfy and really fall back to sleep.
At 8am, my alarm went off for the final time. It’s time to get up. Wednesday is counseling day. Every week, Wednesday is counseling day. If I don’t see my counselor on Wednesday’s, my week gets completely thrown off. You see, my counselor keeps me functioning. He reminds me that really I’m not that crazy, and really, I’m doing pretty well considering. But most importantly, he lets me rant and rave about whatever it is that requires ranting and raving about. I love Wednesdays.
Despite this fact, it was very difficult to get out of bed this morning, especially since I had two soft, warm doggies snuggled up to me. So I didn’t get out of bed until 9:05am and my appointment was at 9:30am. But the office is only 5 minutes away.
I should have boarded up the bed at 3am.