I've never been particularly good at admitting my weaknesses. The sorts that can be deprecatingly laughed about, like my lack of self-control when it comes to shoes or dark chocolate with raspberries, my obsession with the numbers on radio volume control, my tendency to twitch when I see apostrophes used for plurality...fine. Those are the sorts of weaknesses we fondly call "foibles," those little quirks of personality that transform us into special little snowflakes, possibly just a touch flakier than the next one over.
But real weaknesses? The sort that require trips to therapists, medication, incredible patience on the part of those who live with us?
Not so much.
I spent at least three years mired in high-functioning postpartum depression because I couldn't bring myself to ask for help. I was so good at hiding the despair poisoning my soul that most people made all sorts of admiring comments on how Together I was, what a SuperWoman I was...Ha. It didn't help that the one time I did tell The Ex that I thought I was depressed and in trouble, he told me to suck it up. I kept my mouth shut for another six months after that, and by then I had fallen so much further that I almost didn't make it back out.
I've come a long way since then, but I still struggle to admit that I'm, well, struggling. I have the few individuals who are "safe": DraftQueen, Heidi, Amy, and of course MTL. I don't fear judgment from them, in part because they have all Been There in one way or another, and because they love me for who I really am rather than who I would like people to think I am.
And...I just realized I'm doing a very good job of avoiding what I came here to say. You see what I mean?
I struggle with anxiety and depression. It's nothing like what I once experienced, especially the depression aspect, but I deal with anxiety on a daily basis. I'm even (gasp) medicated for it (shh, don't tell anyone) (because we all know that people who have to take medication for that mental crap are nutjobs and shouldn't be trusted), because panic attacks have a nasty way of interfering with one's ability to get through the day.
I have a feeling I always will. For one, it runs in my family, on both sides. For another, studies have shown that highly intelligent women are also highly prone to anxiety, because we overthink EVERYTHING. Mother Nature giveth and she taketh away with the other hand, the stingy bitch.
Oh, and I do kind of have a stressful life, despite the many delightful compensations.
I've been struggling this week. I've been a good girl and taken my little pill every morning, and I still find myself short of breath, my arms burning, my heart racing. I haven't had a full-fledged panic attack (thank you, pharmaceuticals), but I've come close. I keep telling myself and others that I don't really have a good reason for it, but I suspect I'm lying.
I've dealt fairly well with my grandfather's death. After all, he was old and in pain and he passed so peacefully. It's the way to go, you know? BUT. He was the first of my grandparents to die. And watching my grandmother face life without her beloved...I think that struck too close to home. I can't stop thinking about what it would be like to have to keep going without MTL.
I struggled with that reality last year, when something made me realize that I had allowed MTL to get closer than anyone else in my entire life. This meant that I also had opened myself up to incredible pain, because losing him would be like losing a part of myself. I remember weeping one night and finally confessing to him that I was terrified of letting him in that much, because it meant that one day he would die and I would have to deal with that pain.
He didn't tell me I was being silly (though he would have been fully justified in doing so), rather telling me that he understood my fear, but that we couldn't allow our fear of death and losing each other prevent us from living life and loving fully.
He was right.
So I'm not falling apart over the thought now, but that fear and anxiety are finding other ways to make themselves known. And let's face it, I'm not good at dealing with this.
What do you do about your anxiety? What works? Because I'm asking for help.
3 years ago