A couple days ago I was texting with a friend who has been having a rough time. Amongst the dialog, I expressed lots of niceties but one of the things I said to them was that I understood and have sometimes been in their place…

There usually comes a state of disbelief shortly after I say things like that… “but you’re awesome, beautiful, make wonderful art, you got a rad family, you just look so happy“.

You know the whole saying of “you don’t really know what people are going through unless you’ve been in their shoes”? Well let me tell you, that no amount of “looks happy” means that you are. We can fool ourselves with Facebook posts, happy photos, smiles and selfies and still feel like it isn’t enough. Well, here’s my truth: I haven’t been there. I AM there. I’m not gonna front, especially not about this.

I have spent a good portion of the past year in therapy, or as we say, “doing the work”. Why? Because there is always room to grow and learn, it’s not always a place for the severely broken. At least that’s why I started down the journey cause even though the light at the end of the hallway seems close, it always seems to keep moving away just as you think you’re about to get there. Kinda like that scene in Poltergeist except without the granny panties cause…. FUCK. THAT.

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I go and talk and hash and cry and holy shit has it been one of the most emotionally painful years of my life. So much salt has come from me that one would believe I am one with the sea.

Self discovery is a motherfucker, especially when you uncover all the dust and shit you pushed under the rug – some voluntarily, some not so much. And when you finally arrive to the sources of so many of your ails, well, there’s the lightbulb flash and explanation to so much. When you realize where the roots to those fucking seeds come from? Talk about an epic weed you can’t just pull from the garden.

So I say this without fear of stigma or being viewed as “less than”, or “broken” or “damaged”…

Hi, I am an anxious person. I fidget, I bite the print of my thumb, I twirl my hair or sometimes I hold onto things tighter than normal. I think too much about so many things to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes I don’t sleep well, sometimes it is all I want to do. I take a simple statement and break it down into multiple questions…. “what did they mean by that? OK? or ok? I wonder if they’re mad? Are they mad or am I reading into shit? What did I do wrong?”… On days where I am lucky, I wake up without feeling anvils on my chest and getting out of bed doesn’t feel like a chore. Then came the day where it sent me into an attack and I didn’t even know what was happening. Why do I feel like I can’t breathe? Scary, especially when it had never played out in that manner so you have no idea to even get off that ledge of uncool.

Truth be told, for someone as mouthy and open as I am, I have suffered about this in silence for quite some time. I don’t reveal myself nearly as much mainly because I seem to have a track record with “friends” who have taken me for granted or horribly misread me. Why drop the guard? Why invite people to your kingdom when they only want to visit and not make a home in you? Ya know?

Having anxiety brought out a fear in me that I have never felt. I am on the cusp of my 43rd birthday and having a myriad of medical things pop up sent me on the tailspin of questioning my own mortality. When you’re someone with an overactive mind? Well, enjoy that fucking ride. It’s terrifying. It led me to places I never thought I would be in, it made me mistrust so much, so many and my own self. I stopped feeling heard or like what I had to say wasn’t valid as much. So much so that I stepped outside of myself in hopes of feeling anything besides fear or over-analysis.

I am trying: To be self compassionate, self forgiving, self caring. To get it under control or sometimes, to not control one fuck of it and just let time play it all out the way it should. Stop looking back in order to be able to move forward, all while trying to be more present instead of looking into the way to distant future. Self care can be really hard! Even more when you’re always putting others ahead of your own needs. I catch myself doing it a lot, helping others see the worth in themselves. But that shit is a fucking drug, you’re the dealer and you can’t even dip into your own stash to do yourself a solid.

I’m so incredibly grateful for those very few I allowed in to see me, who met me half way with compassion, support, understanding, who let me wipe my tears on them. They aren’t many but they’ve listened, encouraged, told me shit I didn’t want to hear, spoke to me in ways I hadn’t been on the receiving end of in quite some time. My relationships and connections with my people are about as vital as water and oxygen. It’s a force I live and drive off of. And when you find that commonality, when you know someone has seen you in a place where you feel like you’re cracking or bursting at the seams and still loves you anyway? Shit, that’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow I am willing to go to voracious and gluttonous states for. That’s when the claws come out and you want to sink them in so deep. It’s those connections I hang onto because in doing so I am realizing that this place I am in isn’t just mine. It’s a hippie compound of humanity that I share and as of late it seems there are so many of us in this place of anxiousness. I am one of them and if you are too? Shit. Know you’re not alone in it. I am doing what I can to learn and accept that this is a part of who I am. Just know I see you, I hope you can see me too.

Under its eye.


2 Responses to A Not-So-Secret Society

  1. mlleghoul says:

    Oh, yes. I am forever in that place of anxiousness. I was born there and no doubt I will die there, and I hate to see that there are others in its clutches, but at the same time it’s such a relief to see I am not alone.

    Also: “I catch myself doing it a lot, helping others see the worth in themselves. But that shit is a fucking drug, you’re the dealer and you can’t even dip into your own stash to do yourself a solid.” Oh, man. So true. And I did this for so long that now I think I’ve gone ’round to the other side where I can’t seem to find the words anymore to build people up, even those I love and care about most. I just haven’t got it in me. I’m tired, man. I’m worn out. And I’ve just…got nothing.

    But you’re doing the work and making the connections (both within and without) and that’s amazing stuff. I hope you continue to make strides toward positive mental health, and to surround yourself with like-minded souls and kindred spirits who have got your back, and with whom you can be exactly who you are–anxiety, cracks, busted seams, Poltergeist granny panties, and all.

    • Ivonne says:

      thank you for chiming in lady! I never realized how commonplace this stuff is! I think we all can feel a little better knowing we aren’t alone in it. Now if it would only be as simple as to turn that time, attention and self compassion toward ourselves. Work in progress but no granny panties, cause no. xo

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