Better Out Than In

Feelings. Who needs ’em, right?! What pesky little monsters they are. Who knew suppressing them could mess me up as long as it did?!

I have a roommate now. He arrived the second week of December and I welcomed him here with cautiously optimistic arms. You see, we have some history which was very painful on both sides. We used to date and we dove into dating, bypassing out brains in the process. A year ago, we were two battered, well meaning, imperfect human beings who triggered each other’s wounds frequently and thus, split in an abrupt fashion.

We reconciled, thankfully, around Thanksgiving 2020. Honestly, this is one of the bright points of 2020 for me. I needed this renewed friendship for my soul. There’s some folks in this world that are so rare and you don’t want to let them go. He is a kind, caring and understanding person. That is my friend, my roomie, the one I couldn’t simply forget.

I wrote about this before but, having him here has made me realize my old patterns and conditioning within relationships. Living together has brought up this sort of stuff for both of us, which has been good. I welcome the growth. Lately, I have been processing so much of my own stuff that I’ve felt really disconnected from reality. At work I’ve been going through the motions, here but not present. Lights are on but someone is in the basement smoking weed in the dark. Their face illuminated by the glare of Seinfeld on TV, completely ignoring life. In the distance, a dog barks. I’ve felt like this for about 2 weeks now.

Last night, I finally talked about what was going on inside my head. Last week, I was working on a lady who reminded me of my mom in a way. This lady was around the age my mom would have been if she was still with us. I got to thinking how I wish I could have given my mom a massage. I finished massage school in 2018. Mom died in 2016. I started to tear up during the session and stuffed those feelings down so I could finish my day. I didn’t address them once I was home either and my mood started to sour. After evenings of drinking, distraction and suppression, stuff finally came to the surface last night. I had to talk about it and my roomie was there, listening and supporting me. He lost his dad and can understand and empathize, which helped tremendously. When one brings their heart to a conversation, making the other person feel safe to share and doesn’t judge? It’s amazing. It’s what I want in a person and it is what I strive to be for others.

A lightbulb week

I’ve been off work since Dec 10th thanks to a Covid diagnosis. Today is December 30th and I’m still testing as positive. Hopefully my next test will be negative so I can get back to work soon. A few days before I got sick, a friend came to stay with me. Him being here has been a blessing and we’ve had a great time together. We’ve enjoyed cooking together and watching shows, football and movies.

It’s funny how being under the same roof with a man that I think highly of, sure has made my former relationship wounding rise to the surface. To the surface, but most importantly into my awareness. This week especially, I noticed my past conditioning has bubbled up. I noticed myself apologizing for being me. I noticed that I felt compelled to shrink, as a conditioned reflex, even though no one expected that of me in my current situation.

Becoming aware of these old responses made me angry at how I once existed. It also made me quite sad and that sadness lingers. I’m sad because I spent so many years in a relationship where I couldn’t fully be. I’m thankful for this lightbulb moment. Now I have the awareness and opportunity to unlearn living small in relationships. I’m getting better at being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Bring on this new season of growth.

Out of my control

My anxiety has been acting up recently. Or, perhaps it’s just increasing for no good reason. I’m not sure. Either way, it’s a thing. It plagues me at night and I feel really helpless when this happens.

Last night, I went about my usual routine after work. I got off late last night. This after calling out the previous day. I was told, when I got to work yesterday, the day before was a rough one in my area. I work in the Cath Lab at the hospital. Heart surgery and such is risky business. The team lost a patient on the table on the day I called out. I’m so glad I wasn’t there. I am a sensitive person and when something big and emotional happens, I feel it.

Fast forward to last night as I was attempting to go to sleep. My brain started thinking about this patient. I don’t know any details apart from it was an older person and the surgery was simply more than their body could handle.

As I lay in bed, I started imagining myself in the shoes of this patient’s family. I thought of the times I’ve lost family members and even pets. I remembered how helpless I felt when my mom was ill. I remembered how helpless I felt when I found my big dog and recalled the moments which were his last evening with me. I relived all of that as I was trying to settle down for the night.

My thoughts then jumped to my boys. I worry about them often and hope they’re OK. I started thinking about what if something happened to one of them. Mentally preparing for what I’d do if ever faced with such a tragedy. I’ve done this more often over the past few months and it’s enough to drive me insane.

I don’t know if all of these thoughts are due to the vast uncertainty 2020 has brought all of us. I don’t know if it’s a manifestation of the collective fear for my health, security and wellbeing, but my anxiety is increasing as the months pass. I feel helpless because I can’t control things outside myself. I have no control over much, apart from my reaction to my environment.

Last night, I put my hands over my heart and breathed deeply. I prayed for peace. I prayed for help. You know things are bad if I pray, because I’m not a very religious person. However, I felt desperate. When I truly feel scared and not in control, praying is all I have. Finally I felt peace and drifted off for a few hours. I woke at 630, anxious about the sun rise. I don’t know why. It makes no sense to fear morning, but I tend to feel anxious in the early morning hours.

I took a few hits of my vape pen, put on a sleep mask and dozed off until 11am. I don’t like anxiety. I don’t like uncertainty and feeling out of control. I hate not knowing what’s next.

Why am I here again?

That’s been my question recently. It’s not that I want to “leave”, necessarily. It’s just, I don’t know why I’m here and I feel like I’ve outlived my usefulness. My kids are grown and finding their way in the world. They are forming their own opinions about life and how they view humanity. They’re figuring things out for themselves. I don’t feel very needed by them or anyone, apart from work and my dogs. If I am completely honest, I don’t feel especially wanted a lot of the time too. But not feeling wanted is an ever-present, underlying feeling I’ve always had, so perhaps it doesn’t really apply in this context. It just compounds the already sad, lost feelings I’m currently experiencing.

I started a new job this month. It’s an EVS (environmental services/housekeeping) job at the local hospital. I work 2nd shift which is 3pm to 11:30pm. I like the hours because the hospital is a bit sleepier during my shift and there’s less people roaming around. The halls are very quiet and, if there’s no cases, I have a decent chance of getting all my areas finished before quitting time. I wanted an active job vs. a desk job. If given the opportunity, I will hold down the couch and watch YouTube or Netflix all day and not move. An active job will help me keep fitter, or that’s the hope. It’s only the first week down but I am feeling nervous and hoping I haven’t bitten off more that I can chew. My body is still getting used to the increased activity and I am mentally preparing for our Tuesday task of washing walls and ceilings in the procedure rooms. I’m told there will be someone to help me with that, but still. It’s new and I haven’t experienced it yet, therefore I’m anxious and I’m not even at work yet. I hate that my brain does this.

I hate my anxious brain. I hate that when I find something that tics the boxes of “wants”, I start second guessing myself and preparing for the possibility that I’ve made a bad decision when things get tough. I can’t seem to just roll with things, look for the good and be confident that my decision is sound. This job is just one more piece of uncertainty that is making up 2020. Seriously, I should be used to this by now but I’m not.

My next goal is to find my own place to rent. My dad wants to sell his house and I am holding up that process because I still live here. Getting back on my feet has proved more challenging and frustrating that I initially thought it would be. Also, can we please have affordable housing in my area?! I’m not rich nor am I retired. There are no financial guarantees for me at this point and it all stresses me out very much. I feel like one small thing could go wrong in my world and I could end up homeless. As someone who tries to be prepared for disaster before they happen, I’ve thought about what I’d do if I couldn’t afford rent and had no place to live. My sister said she won’t let me be homeless (which I greatly appreciate). I’m hoping I am coming to the era of me being able to fully support myself and not have to rely on other’s kindness to cover my basic needs.

My future scares me because nothing is certain. I currently feel I have no solid security and I feel very alone. It feels expensive to exist and when one is questioning why they’re here, the dark thought of not sticking around definitely wanders through the grey matter. I know I would be missed if I wasn’t here and I know I’d wreck the lives of those I love if I clocked out early. That’s the sole reason I’ve stuck around on this earth. These are my real thoughts and feelings and it’s the stuff people maybe don’t want to know about or acknowledge. I’m glad September is suicide awareness month and folks on social media are sharing hotline numbers and resources. I don’t know if people realize how easy it is to slip into feelings of hopelessness but for me, it is something I fight often.

I fight by unlearning patterns that don’t work anymore and learning to realize my worth. It’s exhausting, mentally and physically. All of these thoughts have been on my mind this morning. I’m already tired and work is in about an hour.

Sick of Limbo

It’s not often that I nail down my post’s title before I start writing it but today, I knew what is bothering me. It’s this constant state of limbo since the start of 2020.

This bloody year…..

Who could have predicted all it has brought us so far? I, like so many others, felt 2020 was “their year”. I genuinely thought this was going to be the year I got my shit together. By stark contrast, this has been the year I’m learning more about myself than I thought possible, due to the hurdles I’ve crossed thus far. I learned that I do not like a strict routine for infinity. I also learned I don’t like too much uncertainty either. (Can I blame this trait on being a frustrating Gemini?!) I learned that I need to have much less stress in my life too. 

At the start of 2020, I was planning to travel. I was going to take that trip to NY I’ve been dreaming of for several years now. Granted, when I first envisioned my trip, I was going to brave NYC. Now? I want to visit upstate NY and see the beauty it has to offer. I was going to go to Las Vegas later in the year, for Halloween too. “Travel” is something that I have been told I’d be doing. With COVID erupting across the world, none of my travel happened. I’m not sure when all of the travel, dating and wonderful job opportunities are actually going to occur, but I’m holding out. Things have to improve at some point.

Seems a few things did get accomplished and were learned in 2020. My divorce was final on April 1st. I got my medical marijuana card this month. I’ve ended all the negative relationships I was holding on to. I’ve discovered that my mental health is not great at the moment and needs attention. I’ve also discovered my anxiety has been the constant which has caused me to change jobs so much since graduating massage school.

I also learned that shopping becomes dissatisfying when living on one’s savings while unemployed. I didn’t lose my job to COVID. I resigned due to my shoddy mental health. I wasn’t sleeping, had constant headaches and my anxiety was becoming uncontrolled again. I lasted a full 90 days before resigning and I was very disappointed with myself and my limitations. However, my boss resigned a week after I did, due to increasing stress and management’s lofty expectations for our skeleton crew, post COVID cut backs.

The past 8 weeks while I’ve been unemployed, I have been able to finally address some of my health, both physical and mental. I still need to get my eyes checked and I could do with a chiropractor adjustment still. All in all, I feel like I’m on the right path towards getting myself better and becoming that person I can see in my future. Limbo still sucks but at least it’s been internally productive. Who knew this collective forced rest was going to be my blessing in disguise??

Ego work and introspection

In a bid to better understand myself and grow as a human, I follow a few psychologists on social media. One of my favorites is Dr Nicole LePera who is @the.holistic.psychologist on Instagram and Facebook. Her posts have helped me realize some of my dark spots and understand some of my patterns. She is very big on journaling and keeping small promises to yourself as a way to honor one’s inner child. I struggle with the “inner child” work, if I’m completely honest. I also struggle with journaling, however I do blog! So this post, like so many of my posts on here, falls under stuff that might be kept private by some folks, but won’t be by me. What can I say? I find this arena easier to express my thoughts vs. keeping all my nonsense in my head and to myself. 

So, what does my title mean?? Dr. LePera posted about how we act when our Ego is in full swing and triggered. Her post stated: “My Ego is Activated When I” 1.) Deny another person’s reality. 2) Become defensive and reactive**. 3.) I have cynical thoughts of comparison or scarcity, or feel “less than**. 4.) Judge others to elevate sense of self**. 5.) Engage in cynical arguments in an attempt to control someone or change their viewpoint**.” 

This particular post hit me between the eyes because lately, I’ve been very angry and reactive in my thoughts. Mind you, I live alone so all I’m left with are my thoughts on most days. This can be really uncomfortable but also, a great space for personal introspection and growth. I’ve been most angry, lately, when it comes to Covid 19 & people choosing to not wear masks. Well, this and those turning a public health crisis into a political one, thus making strong lines which divide us all. The anti vaxxers also really get under my skin. My personal observation is: the anti vaxxers also tend to be anti mask people. This observation might be limited to seeing posts from family members on Facebook, but I digress.

Now, if you haven’t already guessed, I am all for wearing masks. I’m a massage therapist (albeit one who isn’t practicing at the moment) and I am for measures that keep our germs to ourselves. I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe so, if wearing a mask keeps folks safer? I’ll do it. My question to myself is: Why do the “no maskers” and “anti-vaxxers” of the world get under my skin in such a precise and fantastic way?? I really had to examine this within myself. Why bother understanding my reaction? Well, every time I venture out into public or I’m driving in the parking lot and I see a large group of people not wearing masks as they enter the supermarket, I genuinely want to hit them with my car. My thoughts of injury and harm towards others (which is quite uncharacteristic of me) required further investigation. 

I can only deduce some of my internal rage stems from earliest experiences. “Oh boy, here we go. Snowflake” *insert eye roll*, you may have just said to yourself. Here I go, nonetheless.

Our family seemed picture perfect on the outside but my sister and I were raised by two emotionally unavailable adults. When I was a child, I felt dismissed and brushed aside a lot. I felt I was a HUGE bother to everyone around me. No one wanted to deal with the sad, emotional kid who was “touchy”, easily offended and who cried a lot. I was an emotional kid and I was easily offended because the smallest, perceived injustice only reinforced my core belief that I was thoroughly insignificant. I remember getting jealous of my sister when she was sick once. She was getting attention and I was being ignored. I was a very depressed kid and I often wondered why my folks decided to have my at all. I remember telling myself they would have been better off drowning me in the bath, because then they wouldn’t have to put up with me being around. (I remember clearly thinking this as a 10 year old) Granted, my folks were imperfect people who did the best they could at the time as they parented through their own unaddressed baggage. But these experiences left an imprint and formed my Ego in such a way that I react in anger when I feel helpless and alone. 

What does any of my personal baggage or core beliefs about myself have to do with our global problems??

When I see people choosing to NOT take measures that could protect their fellow human beings, it makes me feel very unsafe in the world and that’s a horrible feeling. It also makes me feel angry because logic cannot influence other’s to choosing “my” way of thinking. I feel these people view lives, outside of their own, as unimportant because of their actions. By their actions, I feel they see my life and contribution to this world as insignificant and unimportant. I feel frustrated with people when they try to disprove science, just because they don’t want to be inconvenienced or be told what to do by anyone.

The world feels like a pretty fucking selfish place, even if folks with these opposing opinions are generally said to be “good people” and “well meaning”. It’s exhausting to be alive right now. It feels exhausting to make myself care about people when all I can see are a bunch of selfish, tantrum throwing children. I feel scared for my family who has to work with the public. I feel scared because I have zero control over anything but my own actions. 

I feel sad, angry, scared and generally melancholy due to the state of the world. However, I suspect I’m not the only one with these feelings, regardless of the triggers behind them. 





From Empath to Cynic

I’ve been unemployed for several weeks now. The job hunting is in full swing. Basically, I want something where I’m more “behind the scenes” vs. a front line role which involves dealing with the public. I’m tired. Tired of people, their anger, their inhumanity and selfish disregard for fellow humans. I was employed in a fringe healthcare position for a grand total of 95 (?) days and I resigned. I could no longer take getting yelled at by inconvenienced people for things completely out of my control. We’re in a fucking pandemic, people. Shit has changed. We can’t have everything our way. I felt like I was surrounded by a buncha spoiled children on a daily basis. Each work day consisted of me doing everything within my power to make things flow smoothly, simply to keep patients from yelling at me. Thankfully I started anxiety medication just before signing on to this outfit. It helped, but not enough. I was on the highest dose for sleep and still having trouble. The next step was to change to heavy hitters and I am not OK with that. If my meds are no longer working, my environment must change. So, I resigned and I’m hoping to find something else with will be more tolerable.

Being off work gives me plenty of time alone with my thoughts. In the past, this was a horrible thing because my thoughts sought to destroy me. It’s not great now, but I’m able to dig deeper and sift through my own bullshit better. That’s one of the pluses when it comes to age, I suppose. Recently, I found myself spinning a scenario in my head. Surely I’m not the only one who does this. I imagine a conversation with people, in my head, and we are discussing something that’s been bothering me. Something that maybe I’m not consciously aware of, but it definitely has me out of sorts. Thus the birth of therapeutic, imaginary scenarios. I tend to do this when I feel I have no one to talk to.

In my most recent imaginary conversation, the topic was about empathy and caring about others. I found myself very angry and stating, to the random gathering of strangers involved in my scenario, that people are only out to use up those with a soft heart. They lie in wait, sniff us out like blood thirsty wolves and won’t leave until all the bones are picked clean. Then they move on, never thankful for what they took and they leave carnage in their wake. I also angrily stated that people with soft hearts get told this happens to them because they don’t have boundaries. So basically, a soft hearted soul gets routed and then blamed for their treatment. They get told to “toughen up” and “be stronger”.

You know what happens to the soft heart when it toughens up? It becomes cynical and highly distrustful. It becomes closed off because it’s sick of being taken from and left in the dirt. The brave vulnerability that was once seen as brave and beautiful gets hidden and they go back to hiding their true, beautiful, open selves as protection. The soft heart is told to be more discerning but wolves are pretty damn clever and red flags are missed. Intuition is clouded and being able to trust oneself gets harder. Caring about people gets harder. Being kicked so many times and being blamed for the mistreatment really makes a soul not give a shit if they ever have a chance to show love again. (Even though, deep down, this is what the soft heart longs for. The chance to love and be loved.)

Sadly, that’s where I’m at right now. I feel beat up and very distrustful. Being alone with my thoughts made me realize I have a pattern of choosing people who are unavailable emotionally. I have chosen partners and fallen in with acquaintances along the way who don’t add value to my life. They take and make me feel less than or not good enough. This cycle makes me feel fearful that I’m doomed to always choose the wrong partner and I feel I’ll never getting with anyone who can see that I’m a pretty cool person. Not because of how I make them feel or what I do for them, but just because they freaking like me for me. Even on my bad days or sad days. I want someone who can be vulnerable with me too, like I am with them. This sad, battered heart needs some real love for a change. I want someone to love me as hard and intensely as I love them. Than would feel nice, I think.








I stand with you

Again, there was another African American person killed by the police. This shouldn’t happen, but it still continues to happen. There are riots currently happening in big cities around the U.S. People are angry and their anger is understandable. I can’t imagine their pain or fear. My heart breaks for them and for the state of the US right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past two days about what I was taught about other cultures as a kid. Racism is taught, 100% and that is why racism still thrives amongst us. Growing up, I was taught I should fear dark skinned men and people different than me. This stuff was never directly said, but it was learned by reactions and through comments from extended family.

I grew up in Louisville, KY. I remember my sister and I were downtown with my grandmother. We were walking in the shopping area and my grandma pulled us close & clutched her purse. Why? There was a darker skinned guy with a boom box on his shoulder, walking past us. I remember being very confused by her reaction, because he was obviously minding his own business and I did not understand why I was “supposed” to be afraid of him. I remember looking at his face and noticing a look of disgust and anger. I know he saw her reaction. Reflecting back on that, I understood why I read what I did on his face, because he was just existing and minding his own business.

People are taught to fear those who are different. This is what keeps us separate and hating each other. We hate what we don’t understand and yet we don’t take the time to look deeper and see how we are more alike than different. This mindset and inaction is passed down from generation to generation. Until people break that chain, racism shall continue to thrive. Until we start challenging people when they say something racist, or act hatefully towards a different group, hate is perpetuated. It will continue to divide us.

To the People of Color: I see that you’re different but I don’t see you as a threat. I see your anger and feel your frustration, and it’s 100% justified. I see your pain and I mourn with you. My heart feels heavy for your losses and I can never know what it’s like to live in your skin or walk in your shoes. I want you to feel safe in the world, because everyone should be able to feel safe. One’s skin color should not be seen as an automatic threat when you’re just trying to live your life. I’m tired of you getting murdered by those who are supposed to protect and serve.

I see you, I love you, you matter and I stand with you.


A white lady in America



**I wrote previously on this same topic several years ago, un-eloquently. I was trying to express how I felt back then and how I still feel, which is what I’ve written above. I’ve heard and I said before that I do not see color. What I was trying to express was: I do see color, but I do not see a person’s color as a threat. I said in that previous post that all lives matter, which they do. What I was also wanting to express was: we seem to lack the ability to see the humanity in others and this is why we continue to be divided. People who hate do not see their neighbors as equal therefore they don’t treat them as such. This is why people still fear what is different than themselves and that is why racism continues to thrive. If we could start to treat others with love and recognize the similarities in others, perhaps we would start to treat our neighbors as we’d hope to be treated.



Saturday, Mid April 2020 ramblings of an isolated woman.

I thought I’d write a blog post tonight in a bid to keep from eating when I’m not hungry. The country, nay the world, is on some sort of quarantine/lock down/social distancing for a while now. When this was put in place varies due to where one lives. Seems sometime around the last week of March is when our governor signed the order to start shutting down “non essential” businesses. It’s been some stressful and scary times we’re currently living in and anxiety is high for so many.

I feel I’ve been in survival mode since before all of this business with the Coronavirus happened. The first week of March, I had a visit with my PCP. She listened to what I was experiencing and decided I would benefit from starting some anxiety medicine. This was a wise and well timed decision. I have been able to function at my new job and have been able to keep my head under stress, although I was on the verge of becoming very frustrated on Friday. Nonetheless, without aid of medication, I probably wouldn’t be fairing as well. Better living through science? Absolutely.

Amidst all of the current uncertainty, I’ve resorted to some of my old coping mechanisms. I am still in survival mode, even if I don’t want to admit it. The emotional eating is definitely in full effect and I’ve been shopping online like a person with an endless supply of funds. I’ve felt recent guilt about my shopping habits and I hope the disgust at myself will help curb this urge. I don’t need more lingerie, but I want it. I don’t need my kink related purchases, but I wanted them. I don’t need quite a lot of what I bought but it was purchased to fill a void. The emotional eating is also done to fill a void. What void is all of this meant to fill?? It’s meant to fill the lack of emotional connection I am currently experiencing, something I long for so much.

Now, logic tells me that no amount of pretty, nice smelling or shiny things will fill that void. It’s impossible. The joy of a new item is fleeting and unsustainable, without emptying the bank account. Things do not buy happiness, at least not for long term. Right now, everything I do is a band-aid over the fast bleeding gash, that is my emptiness. Poetic, isn’t it? I was feeling lonely and isolated before we went into isolation. I envy those in lock down with partners or kids. At least there’s someone there to talk with, even if tempers run short and sparks fly.

I do have my 3 dogs with me right now. My two little pups joined me a few weeks before things got really strict. I was supposed to be getting the little dogs caught up on shots and vet exams. I got one half completed (I still need to turn in a stool sample for analysis) and never got an appointment set up for pup #2. I don’t know if they vet is doing face to face visits now anyway. I don’t thing so. My own doc is only doing telemedicine, to limit their exposure to the public.

I feel silly mentioning I might be struggling, because there’s folks in other places who are not doing as well. I feel silly mentioning I’m lonely because it almost seems selfish. I feel silly for being very human right now and there’s no logical explanation for it other than someone along the way made me feel like this when I tried opening up (at some point in my past, not blaming anyone specific).

I was watching Twitch last night and the fella on was celebrating 3 years on Twitch. It was glorious and the community was so supportive of him and each other. Our slightly tipsy host opened up and shared some personal things, mentioned is parents and said what great people they were and told how they taught him great things. I loved this because, in my great desire to connect emotionally with someone, a person online shared his heart and honest emotion. It was fantastic. I felt warm and fuzzy inside and it made me realize even more how much I want more warm and fuzzy feelings.

Today, I did a photo shoot via webcam with my photographer friend, Robin. We had a great session and I was so happy to do this from the comfort of my house! I was facing some insecurities going into this, just like every time I’ve done a photo shoot. (I’ve had 4 now with various photographers!) I’ve gained some weight, thanks to changing to a desk job recently, and emotional eating. However, There were some great shots from today and I’m glad I didn’t let a little extra belly padding stop me from having fun and following through. I had two artists reach out because of my recent posts. We had nice conversations and there’s more art possibly in the pipeline, in one form or another. It was fun to chat with folks today and it felt good to have more interaction than I have in a good while. Today was a good day, despite eating an entire grocery store sized thin crust, chicken pizza by myself.

I’ll get back on track in time. I’ll lose those 5 or so pounds that have made my stomach and second chin home. I’ll start drinking more water and less coffee eventually. I’ll start walking more and won’t be so scared of being near strangers or leaving my house, in time. It will happen and I am trying to do my best to show myself love and grace in the mean time. I am in survival mode but I’d argue that most everyone is too. More positive coping skills will go in effect when I’m able to implement them. Until then, I shall do the best that I can with the tools I have. Be easy on yourselves, folks. We will get through this too.



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. 

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. 

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. 

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.