It’s been a minute, I know. A long minute. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 minutes or so. If you wanted to count months and days and hours and … minutes.
I have been… Um… How do I phrase this correctly?
Overstretched, overcommitted, sad, angry, anxious, and probably a wee bit depressed for the last 18ish months.
Those are NOT words I like hearing or saying about myself. Nope. Nope. Nope.
But here we are anyway.
I’ve been expending so much energy trying to keep our baby, big kids, marriage, and business alive while also not completely fucking up my day job that I have become . . . detached from who I am.
Depleted. Worn out. Just… surviving.
Not thriving — just fucking surviving.
Yes, I could share this struggle in a humorous, relatable, and profanity filled post as I’m accustomed to doing here. I’m very good at that, actually. Self deprecating humor is my Modus Operandi. But though hiding behind humor is accessible, it is still hiding, and hiding is not a place where growth lives.
So, no more of that then. No more holding it in, alone. There is zero benefit in perpetuating any lingering parts of a myth that I, or anyone really, have it all together. I don’t.
As a yoga teacher and studio owner, as a community leader, as someone people pay to lead through trainings, I’m supposed to be past this shit. I’m supposed to be more advanced in my journey of Self. I’m supposed to be on the other side of struggle, right?
No one but the fearlessly authentic Brené Brown could have framed it better— “… a surefooted and confident mapmaker does not a swift traveler make. I stumble and fall, and I constantly find myself needing to change course. And even though I’m trying to follow a map that I’ve drawn, there are many times when frustration and self-doubt take over, and I wad up that map and shove it into the junk drawer in my kitchen. . .”
So here I am, all my tools out of reach, building myself a ladder.
Last week I sobbed out a barely audible “why did you even want to marry me?” to my husband as long repressed emotion collided with yet another stressful situation.
This last fall a former student saw me at the grocery store and (totally innocently) asked where I’d been the last year. She remarked that I’d “totally disappeared.” It took me a full week to stop choking up about that one sentence.
Drowning. That’s where I’ve been. I’ve been drowning.
I’ve been trying to be a wife to a partner I’m still learning. I’ve been parenting two, and then three kids. I’ve been working a full time day job while running a household, and a business. I’ve been attempting to create a community within an existing community with my limited skills and even more limited time and money.
Although my logical self recognized the inherent danger of holding all these things I carry with only my own two hands, sans the actual ability to release any responsibilities my physical self began its slow and violent tantrum. When the thyroid cyst and subsequent partial thyroidectomy wasn’t enough to create change, eczema waved its literal red flag at me. My hands, arms, neck, and even parts of my belly are inflamed and aching with a fiery burning that refuses to be put out.
Though this could be enough, it wasn’t. Fatigue affecting my memory, vocabulary, and productivity set in sometime around five months of sleepless nights and has yet to be relieved.
This kind of brain fog is unnerving. Words are my friends, research my weapon of choice, and the the well timed articulation of stinging yet salient points my signature strike. But not right now. I have been forgetting what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I am not exaggerating and this is not a one off experience, it happens multiple times a week, every fucking week.
The weight of information I’m required to retain and reproduce at any one given time is heavy enough to sink a thousand ships at sea, and instead it’s just sinking. . . me.
I cannot do this like this anymore. I have reached my critical mass. The discomfort of change ranks far less damaging than does the risk of things staying the same.
So where to begin, because to be honest, I am here because I took those steps with my own two feet and as the outcome of my own choices. I’m suffering from mostly shit I knowingly signed up for three main reasons—
- I went too fast and didn’t ensure I had real and sustainable support structures in place,
- I intensely and naively believed that I could manage my anxiety postpartum,
- And, perhaps most notably, as a white middle class woman, it was by and large really fucking easy to get what I wanted, which both angers and sickens me.
So while it was easy to do, it is, unfortunately for me, not easy or accessible to undo, however. And yes, there are far, far, FAR bigger problems out there than this. Problems that require every one of us to be engaged in solving. Problems that I’m trying to carve out time and energy to show up for in solution oriented, powerful, and respectful ways.
But I can’t keep showing up for everyone else when I’m not showing up for myself. I can’t. I physically cannot. I emotionally cannot. I mentally cannot.
I have got to, as my friend Kellie says,
RELENTLESSLY ATTEND TO MY OWN SELF CARE.
Over the next year as I spend more time in therapy, continue to commit to being in the practice of caring for myself, and begin accessing and growing my toolkit this blog will shift its focus from stories of generalized personal growth into those specifically centered around anxiety and working with it.
The irony is not lost on me that three years ago I originally chose to call this blog “I Calmed The Fuck Down,” especially when I have not, in fact, actually tamed that dragon. Oops. You may notice that the verb tense has since changed. It now reads “I’m Calming The Fuck Down,” as that’s a much more accurate and authentic framing of my reality.
May it be of use to you, messy, ugly, and painful as it may be, let’s grow.
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