The number of near panic attacks that I’ve had this week out pace the number of digits I have on one hand.
In fact, I am writing this post, on my poor neglected blog, because I am about to explode and need an outlet to diffuse the emotion. Even just my Spotify forcing a restart is enough to make me shout profanity into the air like there was someone out there that control little blunders like this from happening.
Why can’t the world work the way I want it to?
So what’s going on with me? Nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that deserves sympathy.
Creative projects are draining me. I took a chance on a friend that I trusted and that person took advantage of me. What I do for work and where I work are both drastically changing. Medical bills for a bum knee keep appearing in my mail box. I am trying to find a new apartment in an industry that only cares about numbers. I can’t run because of that bum knee, which often keeps me up at night. I am trying to be there for other people, but not for myself.
All of these things are part of the price to live in this world and whining about them makes me seem ungrateful and annoying. I am not going through a big break up. I am not wading my way through an illness. I am not jobless. Hell, I am not even worried about anyone but myself. Yet, many times this week I’ve been pushed so hard that I look for outs, big ones.
When your sadness in life is stemmed from big changes at work or unanswered text messages, you think it doesn’t matter. You think your emotions are irrelevant next to the father who is spending nights in NICU or the child whose mother hasn’t worked in months. You feel ridiculous being caught up in the minute when countries are being wiped away by AIDS or, that just a few miles from where you cry at night, someone’s child is being gunned down.
So why do I want to cry or drink or hide away?
I used to think that I was special. I understood that my emotions were grand and overpowering and I thought that separated me from everyone else. I assumed that I thought differently from others, that my swell of emotions defined me.
What I have learned, though, through my current therapist is that I am not special. These emotions, insecurities, and anxieties are not mine alone, but part of the deal when we are born into this world. Yes, we all have different struggles, but we all want to be loved, to be enough, to feel good about the life we are leading. My worries feel so specific to me that I think I must defeat them alone. But I am not, because all humans feel similar struggles, which doesn’t make me feel that much better.
Yet, that doesn’t mean that I can’t acknowledge them and care for those worries. This past week I saw my therapist for the first time in several weeks. I started telling her about a situation in my life and immediately wanted to move from it because I thought I was making a big deal over nothing and it wasn’t my situation to be emotional about. I thought that I couldn’t feel pain or sadness or anything about it because I wasn’t the protagonist and the one who was had bigger worries than me. Instead, though, she made me unpack what I was feeling. She made me accept the pain I had felt and acknowledge its existence.
“You are grieving,” she said.
That word – grieving – hit me so hard in the moment that moment as I understood grief to mean more than death. We grieve when we lose someone, something, some idea. Grief is one of the hardest emotions because we often feel like we are not allowed to feel it and we try to suppress and control it. We push it down because we aren’t entitled to it. But, when I let that grief come up, when I saw that I was experiencing it in this particular situation, I realized I was feeling it in so many others.
Grief for ideas I had for my life.
Grief for the situations that I thought I understood.
Grief for people I thought others should be.
Grief for who I thought I should be.
Now I see loss everywhere and it’s not necessarily helping the situation, like last night when I was nearly in tears because I couldn’t find my keys after I had been home for a few hours. It’s in my life and I don’t really like it, mostly because I still can’t control it.
So, what can I do? As I said before, I can’t run right now and that takes away one of major coping mechanisms (I hope to write about that later because I am dying on the inside). I think about drinking, a lot, but I know that I can’t. Writing is giving me the most anxiety these days. I can’t rely on anyone else to make it better, mostly because I put expectations on people that they will literally solve my problems.
I don’t know. I think all I can do is move forward. I can put my stress into perspective but also know that my emotions matter and they are present. I can count my blessings and make more time for me. And, I can see that this is part of living and admission is worth the price.