Tag Archives: anxiety

That Time I Quit Facebook (gasp)

I’ve taken quite a break, yeah? 2 weeks which is a long time for this little blog. A lot has happened in this head of mine. I used to love all things social media. It was so much fun seeing pictures of my friends, reading funny memes, catching up on people’s families and vacations and everyday adventures.

And then it got hard.

Friends would get upset if pictures weren’t liked (dumb). Arguments broke out among people who would never have the balls to talk the same way face to face. Passive aggressive quotes and pictures were posted after hard situations with friends. Unfriending or unfollowing sent a stronger message than what it might just look like at first glance. Social media became a mean place, an angry place, a place that reminded me how courageous and outspoken people are behind a computer screen. I’ve never understood that. I say what’s on my mind, face to face or through a keyboard. Friends get awfully brave when they don’t have to see the hurt in a face. All of this has happened over the course of the last couple years, at different times, in different ways, nothing I’m saying is towards just one person or one circumstance and sometimes it’s happened not to me but to friends and people I really care about and that is just as bad.

This year has been a rough one for me at times. I talk about anxiety a lot, so *SURPRISE* I’m talking about it again. It got really bad to the point of me going to the ER thanks to a panic attack. I decided to give up Facebook. Everything posted by friends who I’d been hurt by felt like a personal attack, even if it wasn’t. I found myself being uber sensitive when that’s not who I am at all. And it feels weird and ‘off’ to feel like who you are is changing, not in the way you want.

So here’s what I’m doing to remedy the sitch:

  • I’m blogging more. Blogging is like my journal and publishing my journal is like therapy to me. Being able to go back and read what I’ve felt is important to me and I think that if anyone can relate to it, it’s important to them too.
  • I’m seeing a new doctor who is helping me sort things out better than I ever thought I’d be able to do. I’m learning a lot about myself and I’m rediscovering my confidence and positive self image and that means everything.
  • I’m quitting Facebook. I’m teaching myself not to care about what people think of me as long as I’m kind and generous. I’m learning that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and not everyone is mine and that’s okay. I’m learning to let it go and letting go of Facebook actually helps quittttttte a bit believe it or not. I value people for exactly who they are and when what they portray online is different, it makes me upset and I feel betrayed. I take things too seriously.
  • I’m learning to let things go (see above comment about taking things too seriously). I’m trying to just let things go. With some help from meds because, honestly, not everyone can be like Danny.
  • I’m prioritizing. What’s important? What’s not? Let go of what’s not and don’t do things just because people ask you to. <—- I get sucked into a lot.

 

I’m so happy, that’s the truth. My kids are incredible, Danny is amazing and my friends are great. I try to reflect all my feelings in my posts — so there’s lots of party posts and fun posts and vacations posts and kid posts and scattered throughout are these honest posts, the ones where I admit to feeling a bit lost sometimes and when my struggles are shared. That’s a true representation of my life. It’s so good and fun.  And just sometimes it’s not. I think anxiety gets smashed together with depression a lot. And sometimes I know they go together but for me they don’t; I don’t have depression and I’m so thankful for that. My anxiety is very pinpointed, it’s directed at something very specific and it centers around that completely. I think people are sometimes surprised to learn about my anxiety disorder and the fact that I really struggle with it sometimes. I appear to be confident and I am in many areas of my life: as a mom, as a wife, as an advocate…so it doesn’t affect every piece of my everyday. And that’s hard for people to wrap their brains around. “So, you have anxiety, but you just took all your kids to the Farmer’s Market alone. And had a good time. You don’t have anxiety.” I usually just nod my head and laugh. Because even though it’s hard sometimes, life is also awfully funny.

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Dust Tornadoes

I’m not a medical doctor, nor am I a doctor of psychology or psychiatry (although if you give me some symptoms and ask me for a diagnosis, you bet your ass I’ll pretend to be one and give it my best shot. Diagnosing is my favorite hobby.). I’ve seen medical professionals and counselors and psychologists and while I’ve received guidance and been prescribed medication, I’ve learned that anxiety isn’t really something that you can get rid of.

All aboard the anxiety train, because I’m gonna take you for a little ride. (Do you think I’m as clever as I do? Say yes.)

I currently feel like I’m in the middle of one of those dust tornadoes. Ya know, the swirls of dust you see when it’s windy outside? Have you ever just wanted to go stand in the middle and twirl around with it? I feel like that. All around me – the people, the situations, the relationships among all of them – is normal. It’s standing still and is just fine. Meanwhile, I’m spinning and I’m surrounded by junk spinning with me. Everything is jumbled up and I feel like everyone knows it and can see it. This happens every so often. A situation will trigger my anxiety something fierce and it takes a lot of effort (not just from myself, but from friends and family) to clear that little dust tornado away.

dyset

When this happens and the trigger is centered around a relationship of some type, I start worrying about every relationship I have. I worry that I’ve done something to make everyone think twice about being my friend and I spend lots and LOTS of time scrutinizing every text I’ve sent, every conversation I’ve had and every greeting I’ve made to make sure they were appropriate and okay. My worst fear is people thinking I’m mean or malicious or a bad friend. That gets really exhausting. It leaves a constant knot in my stomach and lump in my throat.

I tend to talk through situations over and over with a few people – my mom, my dad, Danny, my closest friend. I’ll recount conversations or situations and search their faces or voices for a hint that I’m in the wrong and have made a poor choice. I’m high maintenance when this happens and I know it, but I’ll go nuts if I can’t talk it through. Not everyone sees this, only a very select (sarcasm) few. They’re awfully understanding and know this about me and I think – i hope –  they know that that role they play in my life keeps me from losing it. I’m kidding but I’m not. Life would be a lot harder without them.

Usually these little ‘episodes’ (that sounds so dramatic) don’t last long. A few days, a week at the most, where something is bothering me. Then I go back to feeling like myself. I’m productive and a normal friend and, “..are you sure?” isn’t a constant question I ask. And what’s so weird is that even when I’m in the middle of it, I go about my day and few people would suspect a thing. It’s all internal which makes me feel even weirder.

What drives me crazy is that I’m confident. I’m happy and silly and a really good friend. I’m smart and driven and if I want something I work really hard to make it happen. So when my anxiety hits me, I don’t feel completely like myself. I can still be happy and confident and silly and all those things but not as much as usual. And that’s a yucky feeling. Anxiety is a really yucky feeling. And even though I don’t have that awful feeling every second of every day, I know that it’s never permanently gone. It’ll come back and I’ll deal with whatever it is all over again. I’m bound to be that high maintenance friend for a couple days and I’ll likely drive myself crazy with my lack of self-confidence. But just like I know it’ll come back at some point, I also know that feeling doesn’t last forever.

 

 

For friends of people who have anxiety: Be soft. Be kind and understanding.  Try to think that sometimes if they seem a little unlike themselves, they’re probably just trying really really hard not to show you they’re having a rough time. Wait around, because it’ll pass. That’s hard to do, I know. But it’s worth it. They’ll be themselves in no time.

 

(ps – I’m fine. I’m more than fine, I’m great. This totally, 100% was not a post in which I’m hoping to receive lots of nice comments and words of support…for real. I’ll feel really uncomfortable if that’s what you think. I’m really lucky in that I know what to expect and how I can best deal with it. But writing about it is good for me, and that’s why I do it. And I think it’s important to know the hard things about people as much as the good because it all goes together, right?)