It’s been awhile since I’ve surfaced. Sorry about that. Life started to happen at a frightening rate, and I was not strong enough to cope, so I kind of shut down for a while… hid in my pillow fort and waited for the storm to pass. I got really sick, lost a lot of weight, and it kind of broke me mentally. I am very lucky to have Chad by my side, he kept me from a lot of dark places and held my hand through it all. God, I love him.
I hit what I believe was my absolute rock bottom. Christmas was a mess. Then, while working on my birthday, I lost my marbles. I had a panic attack at work that led to me taking the next four months on sick leave. They’ve been beyond amazing to me at work, checking in on me and helping me with any forms and paperwork I needed. They’ve been by my side the whole way and that is support for which I am truly grateful.
I became physically ill during this time and required minor surgery. Sure didn’t feel minor to me. As someone who worries about everything, this almost made my brain short circuit. But in the end, I recovered quickly. At least the physical part anyway. I still feel stuck in a web of some sort and I don’t know what it is or how to get out of it.
I’ve been meeting with counsellors and therapists and doctors pretty much on a weekly basis, and I’m still what I like to refer to as “as hot mess”, but something happened while I was so sick. Something in my brain kind of snapped. I don’t know how to explain it.
I couldn’t remember a time in my life where I felt like I wasn’t chained down to something. School, jobs, bills. Family obligations, people always seem to want something from me. I felt like I was giving away pieces of myself so much that there wasn’t enough left for me. My mother was my way of regenerating. She was me, we were so much alike. For family members who had to deal with both of us, it was probably exhausting. We were like the Doublemint Twins… well… maybe more like the creepy twins in the Shining. The point is, I am a carbon copy of my mother, she got me, like no one else has ever been able to get me. I’d recharge every day by talking to her (essentially talking to myself, but way better). Since she’s been gone, I haven’t been able to recharge. My magical powers are gone. I’ve lost my Wonder Twin. My powers won’t activate.
I tried to keep going in my life after she died the way I always did. Spread myself too thin, took on too much, worried too much, and rested too little. I thought I had to keep busy to keep myself from thinking about missing my mother, but I guess I hadn’t figured out yet that I wasn’t bouncing back like I used to. I was different now. It took me a little too long to understand and accept that. So, I broke. In a big and frighteningly public way (sorry about those pork shanks boss).
Well, fuck. That’s embarrassing. I’m actually blushing over here. I thought I was past giving a fuck. Well, I’ve gotten this far, it’s stupid to turn back now. This post has literally taken me a month to write. I have come to this site every day, written something, erased something else, stared at the screen, thought about things I wanted to write, things I couldn’t write about yet, things I’ve already said, things I can’t quite seem to remember… it’s frustrating as hell, let me tell you. But I guess you could say it’s a process. Sure, I’ll go with that. Sounds like I know what I’m talking about.
Since my surgery, I’ve felt better. I haven’t wanted to vomit 24 hours a day, or wanted to curl up into a ball and activate the “don’t touch me, it hurts” bubble, haven’t basically been the sick and miserable pity party that I’d been for 6 straight weeks. I had energy for the first time in weeks, I could keep food down, so I perked up almost immediately. I compare it to turning off your device, waiting a minute and turning it back on. Almost always works a lot better when you just give it a chance to reboot. I’m rebooting. Installing updates and such. It was when I began to feel better that I had my epiphany. I can’t live my life the way I did before, because my life is different from how it used to be. LIke I said, I lost my wonder twin, my powers are gone. I have to adapt. Now is my chance to search for the things that make me happy, the things that help me recharge, and make me better. I started going back to work. I’m strictly limiting myself to only a couple of shifts per week, at most, because I still suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, I haven’t learned how to manage them and calm myself down. I know I’m still busted, and I’m working to repair it. I don’t like being useless, and by hiding in my apartment and not dealing with my issues, I was becoming useless. Not worthless, but useless. I’m 31 years old, I should be able to say with some matter of pride that I have some skills. Everyone has skills. It’s when you recognise them in yourself that you can really start sharing them with the world, so other people can see how fucking awesome they are. Some of my closest friends have been able to see themselves with objective eyes, see what skills and traits they bring to the table, and they USE THEM. Why not me? I said it out loud one day and I had a freaking lightbulb moment. It was terrifying, because I didn’t know my brain actually still worked. I thought that apartment was vacant.
Why not me? Ever stare at yourself in the mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and ask that question out loud so your ears hear it too? Here was my epiphany: Why wasn’t I allowed to have the life that I really want? And I thought about it. I’m a person just like everyone else, I… AM allowed. Well, fuck. Really? Cool. Let’s do this.
I have spent my whole life trying to make everyone like me. After my little light bulb moment, I realised something extremely important. I don’t WANT everyone to like me. At least not all of the time. I don’t have to be “ON” all the time. I used to think that I had to be likeable all the time. I also used to think that “out of sight out of mind” was always a bad thing. Why did I think that I ever had enough energy to do that? What the fuck was wrong with me? Ah, shit, am I having my midlife crisis early? Gah, I’m still tired.
So, yeah, I went back to work. I’m struggling, but I know it will get easier. I also know that I don’t have to break my back bending over backwards pretending to be the perfect employee (there’s kind of no way of fooling anyone now anyway haha! Yes, I laughed about that. Someone high five me)
A friend I haven’t seen in a few months said something to me the other day that stuck. She said she always wanted to send a little hello, see how I was doing, but never knew what to ask, or how to approach it. So, she just gave me space, but she said I was always in her thoughts (which is just the sweetest thing ever and I’m getting misty eyed just writing about it). It got me thinking. I’m not an overly private person, I don’t see any point in hiding anything from anyone. I’m not particularly interesting, so what have I to hide? I wonder, do any of my friends have questions they don’t know how to ask? Were you ever that kid in class who had a question but didn’t want to ask for fear of looking stupid or like I hadn’t been paying attention, so you waited to see if someone else would ask it first? I was. And do you know what? Sometimes the question I had would go unanswered. Because it wasn’t asked. I can’t have been the only one. I can’t. I know this because I participated in a study on this very topic, and found an alarming number of people feel exactly the same way. So, a question box was introduced in one of my classes. Anonymous questions (specific to the topics discussed in the previous lecture) were posted and answered in class before the next class began. We shifted the curve on that next midterm. So, yeah… people have questions. There, I answered my own question.
So, in addition to that I’m going to leave with this. Sometimes anonymity is a blessing.
You can ask anonymous questions.
Ask what you like. For the questions I choose to answer, you’ll get the realest answer I can manage. Don’t be a dick.