Buspirone, are you my friend?

Sitting at the stoplight, on my way to work, I found myself in deep introspection. I’ve started a medication for anxiety. This is the first time I’ve ever tried anything for anxiety and I’m still getting used to how it makes me feel. I’ve upped my dose to twice as day, as directed. I was told this is something I can’t quit “cold turkey” as it will cause pretty bad rebound anxiety.

I never thought I actually had anxiety. When I was young, I was just “shy”. I’ve always been a quiet, sensitive kid. I was often told I was too sensitive, which makes one feel like there’s something wrong with them straight off the bat. As I got older, I just thought I was awkward, as kids sometimes are in their preteen years. I grew up being laughed at a lot, simply for just existing. I wasn’t trying to get laughs or was the class clown. I just managed to attract the wrong type of attention from insecure, hurting people. What’s the saying? “Hurt people, hurt people”? Me being a quiet kid, I was an easy target for those who secretly felt like shit about themselves. What better way to deflect from one’s own insecurities than to draw attention to and laugh at every awkward moment in another person’s life, knowing they won’t fight back. Am I still working through this shit from when I was a kid? Yup. Do I feel weak, stupid, broken and eternally flawed for admitting that this stuff still lives in my head an effects me? 100%, without question. The unfortunate fact of the matter is, I still feel like that kid that everyone is laughing at and thinks is stupid and a joke and is the person who can’t do anything right, despite my confident exterior.

Fast forward to my early 20’s. Social anxiety was starting to raise it’s ugly head. My ex husband is from Mexico and a good portion of his family speaks Spanish primarily. However, we never spoke Spanish at home. He always said, “I live here now. We speak English”. The one’s that live here know English but when everyone is together, Spanish is what’s spoken as it’s the majority. I get it. It’s easier as it’s their first language. I have relied heavily on the little Spanish I retained from high school. Had I known this was going to be my future, I would have worked harder in class and not taken that time for granted. Being the one who didn’t know enough Spanish to follow the conversation, I was on the outside of many family gatherings. As we were together longer, my Spanish got better but it’s still pretty shit. “Use it or lose it” definitely applies to language. It would take me about three days to get acclimated to thinking in Spanish. I got to where my mother in law and I could communicate decently. She’s a saint of a woman and incredibly patient and loving. Whenever anyone would give me the third degree as to why I didn’t know Spanish yet, she would defend me and tell them “We can talk!”. This lovely woman still has a special place in my heart and always will.

As I went from my 20’s to my 30’s, I started to realize that this whole social anxiety thing and my great aversion to meeting new people or attempting to socialize with folks I didn’t know might actually be a problem. Also, my hyper-vigilance at work and my being on edge in every social setting might not be how regular folk operate. At one point, I couldn’t make myself enter the house of someone we knew, by myself, despite there being people I knew inside. All because the main language was Spanish and I didn’t know everyone there. I had to have my ex come with me. He thought I was being ridiculous, he just didn’t understand.

When I was 38, I entered therapy for the first time. I had been diagnosed with anxiety, at least in my medical chart, back in 2010. I can’t remember the visit or which doc I saw but that was the conclusion. I think I was given depression medication back in 2010 for the first time. It worked on both the anxiety and depression for a while. Eventually I stopped taking it because I didn’t feel like it worked anymore. Side effects were not great and I felt I could exist without it. I did and I could but not for an extended period. The social anxiety started effecting my job and that’s when I decided I needed professional help. In therapy, we worked on the depression mostly. The anxious tendencies seemed normal and not all that unusual as I’d found other people with the same behaviors.

Acute attention to detail was a favorable trait in my line of work. I didn’t know there was an underlying fear of failure and real distress every time I’d be corrected by a supervisor. There was a real and very strong feeling that I was a massive waste of space/pond scum/worthless human being whenever a mistake might be brought to my attention. I still don’t take criticism well but I’m better than I once was at recieving it. I still can feel my inner dialogue getting very defensive whenever I’m corrected. When I’m in a low, outside criticism has turned into internal berating, self loathing and self nit-picking. I hate this tendency within myself. I also didn’t realize that not knowing the answer to something was OK and was a perfectly human thing. Having to always get the question right for fear of looking stupid has been something that’s been with me for ages.Β 

For whatever reason, I simply thought anxiety was something I had because I was simply a scared person. I wasn’t brave enough in life, and I thought that’s all anxiety was for me. I wasn’t brave enough to drive in the big city by myself or brave enough to travel. I wasn’t brave enough to start something new. I thought people without anxiety were just more adventurous, daring and braver. That’s all I must have to do to get past this. Just be braver, right?

In 2018, I left my job and moved to a different city to start massage school. I finally felt I was “brave” enough to try something new. During massage school, I decided I couldn’t move back and decided to end my 22 year long marriage. I finally felt strong enough to face the fact that things were not going to change. I was quite unhappy and in order to save myself, I needed to do this. I graduated massage school, stayed in my current city and have tried to make bold, necessary decisions for myself ever since. But you know what?? I still have fucking anxiety, despite all my bold moves and bravery.Β 

Being brave isn’t just about getting out of your comfort zone, going places or trying to be more social. Being brave can also look like asking for help when it’s really hard to do. Asking for help can be hard because you don’t want to look weak or you’re afraid to look like a failure or you’re afraid someone close to you will look at you with pity and think you’re broken. Being brave is working through all that shit in your head and venturing forth, doing what you need to do to take care of yourself for a change. It can look like starting medication for the first time despite fears, because you’re facing the fact you aren’t really doing as well as your facade suggests.Β 

To all of those fighting stuff people can’t see or understand, massive virtual (((hugs))) to you. You’re not broken. You are loved. And, you are truly brave, even when you don’t feel like it.Β 

PB&J

It’s funny what things spark memories and take you back to simpler times. I was making my lunch this morning. PB&J sandwich and two oranges. It reminded me of when I was a kid in grade school. I went to a private, Christian school. Lunch may have been provided but that would have been an extra expense, so mom packed our lunches. Everyday, we had a PB&J sandwich and maybe some apple sauce. Maybe not. The only thing I consistently remember is the sandwich. It got old after a while and I remember asking if she could make something different. Sometimes we got a pimento cheese sandwich to shake things up. Sometimes an egg salad sandwich which needed to go in the big fridge back in the lunchroom kitchen.

It may have been boring to have every day at the time but oddly enough, a PB&J sandwich has become a comfort in my adult years. Some potato chips smashed inside is always a nice bonus, if I have them! A simple PB&J reminds me that I will survive and will be OK, even if that’s all I have in the house at the moment. In this crazy, uncertain world, I find myself leaning towards the simpler things. An easy to fix lunch is certainly up there.

Intuition

Have you ever hit a point in life where you feel like your intuition is broken? Where it feels like you’re just floating along, hoping for the best, unsure of what’s next? Unfortunately, this is where I’m at now and I don’t like it at all. I feel like my life has been in limbo for nearly two years, going on three.

After separating from my husband, I felt really free. It was a huge decision which needed to happen for a while. (He’s not a bad man, we’re just a bad match) I felt like I was finally taking control of my life for the second time. The first time was when I got my tubal ligation at 30. I dated a lot in 2019. I finally felt like I was coming into my own, sexually and emotionally. I was finally making decisions for myself and rolling with each new experience as an opportunity to learn more about myself. I was embracing this new found freedom, until my last relationship (which, with 20/20 hindsight & much introspection and analysis, was QUITE unhealthy) ended badly.

It’s already March 1st, 2020 and I am not dating anyone. It’s been 7 months since things ended with that fella. I still think about him. I do still miss the good parts we shared, despite most of the good being a fucking lie and just a pretty facade. I’m certain this man never really cared for me. It’s hard to love someone else when you hate yourself so much, so honestly I shouldn’t be hurt by this or surprised. I genuinely loved him though. I honestly feel this was the first time I’ve ever loved someone so deeply. I last spoke to him in Dec 2019 and cut off all communication since, for my own sanity.

I do have a friend with “benefits” relationship with a man I met in 2018. It’s no strings attached and purely physical. I met him after I first separated and I got attached. He was not down with having a proper girlfriend so we stopped seeing each other, but remained friends. When everything went to shit with my last relationship, he was happy to jump back in as a sexual partner, as long as there was no attachment. Given my raw state, emotionally connecting with someone didn’t feel remotely safe so, this arrangement has worked. However, I know I’m ready to move on now. Especially since I’m longing to show and share love with someone new again.

So, what does any of this little ramble have to with intuition??

I don’t know what’s next in my life. There is no direction at this point and I wish I could have someone tell me the future, because it’s pretty damn scary, in my mind. During the past 7 months, I have done lots of daydreaming about where to move next. I thought I had it all nailed down but not being connected to my intuition has made me second guess all my plans. The only thing I’ve decided on are the characteristics I want the next man I date to have. Now, keep in mind, everything I list are the same qualities I bring to a relationship. Everything is reciprocal.

While I don’t want to get married again, I do want a long, committed relationship with someone. I am not looking for a man to financially support me or provide for my needs (I can do that for myself) but I do want one to defend me and have my back when shit goes sideways, as it inevitably does in life. I want a partner who loves my body, with it’s imperfections and is also comfortable in their own skin. I want a partner who is aware of their mental health and who takes steps to take care of themselves mentally and physically. I want someone who isn’t embarrassed to talk about sex. We’re all adults here. Sex is an important aspect of our existence. Let’s have a real and open conversation about it.

I have a few “in the back of my mind” wants. The times I’ve gotten very specific about where I wanted someone to be from or other more specific details, I’ve gotten them. I know the universe listens, and it kinda freaks me out sometimes. But it’s also quite cool too. Whenever I feel despair, I need to keep in mind that I’m looked after by a higher power and it will be OK. That’s actually was a message I got one morning last week, when I was feeling especially low and lost. Do I still want a NY boy? Yes. Do I fancy a fella with dark hair and light eyes? You betcha. Is that a hard and fast “want”? Nope. A person’s character and how they treat those around them is much more important. Character trumps the presence or absence of hair, eye color, body type or anything else, honestly.

The next time around, I hope to be fully re-engaged with my intuition. I hope to be so tuned in that I catch the red flags and have the strength to cut things off before I get destroyed emotionally. I hope to be so aware that can actually have some clarity in my life for a change. These past few years have been full of growth and were necessary, as painful as it’s been. I’m ready to move onto whatever is next. I’m ready for a good job. I’m ready for a good relationship and I’m ready for a new town, where I’ll start to thrive. This post is half “talking” this shit out, because I don’t have a sounding board and also half projecting what I want into the universe, so things can start falling into place. I’m ready for good things and I’m excited about what is next. Thanks for reading.