Ditching the Norm and Focusing on Important Matters

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So here’s the thing. I haven’t posted in a few days. And it’s not because I haven’t wanted to, it’s because I haven’t really known what to say. It seems so simple to just keep up with my normal posts each day, but this weekend brought some matters of my life into focus and I cannot get them out of my head now. 

I’ve mentioned before that I have anxiety, but it’s not just your every day anxiety. I get severely anxious when dealing with certain situations. This weekend the biggest issue was homesickness. I tried to take a vacation all by myself like the big girl adult that I am. I had support from my family and God to watch over me. But even with all of that support and help, it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t get control. And, needless to say, it stunk! What was supposed to be an amazing week-long vacation turned into a one-day trip, with two twelve-hour drives before and after it. 

Please do not get me wrong: there were moments where I was truly happy and content to be there. But they were overridden by a feeling of extreme dread, nausea, and anxiety. I had people there with me, talking me through the entire thing… I had constant access to a phone and the ability to talk to my family at home. And somehow, for some reason, it wasn’t enough. 

So I’m sitting here today on the couch, trying to find a good reason to get up and move. To do something to distract myself or make myself feel better. I’ve eaten a decent meal, watched some TV, and moved around a bit more than yesterday. But I still feel so stuck right now. Stuck in my own body, stuck in this situation, mostly, stuck in a rut. 

Why am I writing this? Not only because I hope that others with anxiety will understand that they are not alone, and not only to educate others about how it actually feels to deal with this day in and day out. Mostly, it’s because writing makes me feel better, and talking makes me feel way better. But right now, everyone is working and I’m here all alone. Not alone in spirit, but alone physically. 

The trip this weekend was fun and amazing in a lot of ways, but something coming up in my life is going to be way harder than that trip, and I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. An overnight trip with my students. It’s looming before me on the calendar, just over a month away, but it’s already got such a grip on my anxiety that I can barely think of anything else. I honestly feel like this new job and field trip thing are part of the reasons why my vacation became so unsuccessful. I was so focused on these stressers (without even realizing it) that they played a huge role in my anxiety this weekend. 

I don’t want it to be this way, to feel this way. I don’t like the fact that I feel so much weaker than everyone else that I’ve ever known. But this is who I am. I’m so torn right now between accepting myself and embracing my flaws and trying to work past them to become something better.

I came to the realization yesterday, while talking to my boyfriend, that I overexert myself to try to improve. And that’s when I end up in situations like I am now: stuck and feeling awful. I want so badly to be better than what I am now that I sometimes lose focus of the fact that I am me and I am okay the way I am. There may be things in life that I may never be comfortable with: being unable to spend the night away from my comfort zone (the house) is a definite disadvantage in the world these days. But maybe it’s easier to deal with that hill when it’s necessary and to not pressure myself to just “get over it” already. 

And here’s the thing too; something I’m not sure anyone else relates to. But I hear things in people’s voices when they speak to me that I’m not sure are really there. No, I’m not saying I’m psychotic and hearing voices or anything like that. But discussing my anxiety issues with anyone makes me feel like there are expectations there that I’m not sure really exist. When my parents tell me “you’ll be okay, just go and have fun”, I end up reading into that more than I should and thinking that I need to have fun regardless of what else is going on. It’s like I immediately put this pressure on myself to be something that I’m not. Granted, it’s something that I want to be, but I’m just not there all the time. 

People always tell me that I’m stronger than I think I am. And maybe they are right. They encourage me to try new things, go new places, and be independent. It all sounds so good, so great really. I’d love to be as carefree as some of the other people in this world. To be able to throw it all to the wayside just because I can… would be paradise to me. I tried it this weekend- I just packed up and left. I said to myself you know what, you want to go, so go. And I said my goodbyes and I packed up the car, and went on the road. But being that carefree didn’t work. When my anxiety got triggered, I wasn’t prepared for it. It was right in my face and I had no attack plan. 

I feel like I should be so proud of myself for what I did; for packing up and leaving because it’s what I wanted. I should be so proud of myself for reaching my destination and being where I wanted to be. But I feel like a failure too. Because I couldn’t control myself, I couldn’t manage my anxiety. And more than anything else, I worried and affected people that I love in such a negative way that part of me wants to regret ever even trying. 

I don’t know what lies ahead for me. I’m not sure when I’ll be feeling better. I’m slowly trying to accumulate myself to a routine that I can stick to. Routines help me a lot. But even after I start feeling better, I fear I’ll be no closer to knowing how I should act, how much I should push myself to grow, and how to be settled and content with the person that I am. So many people love me, and maybe a huge part of my problem is that I don’t appreciate myself in that same way. 

Here’s to trying though… just for the sake of trying. And here’s to hoping that if any of you out there deal with anxiety, you don’t feel this horrible right now. We all deserve to be happy regardless of when or where that happiness occurs. 

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