Over these past few months I have been taking a break from blogging and posting for several different reasons – not the least of which is being insanely busy and trying to juggle the new normal of school, working, and a baby.
Besides the obvious, I’ve been purposeful about stepping down from the writing because I haven’t felt worthy of trying to help right now. I’ve been absolutely drowning in severe anxiety and bouts of postpartum among the reality of living with a post Lyme body that’s very mad and confused.
I think that the imposter syndrome hit me hard around September for whichever reason. How could I be reaching out, trying to help people, if I was drowning in the ocean right next to them? I didn’t even know how to make it to the next day without completely losing it, let alone doing so with songs of praise on my lips.
I became emotionally constipated with bouts of emotional diarrhea. I’m sorry for the language, but I don’t know how else to say it. One week I would be completely numb, unable to feel any emotion besides the usual annoyance or panic – then, the next week I would be a sobbing mess, raging at the smallest of inconveniences and crying at every opportunity I got because my soul was/is sad and hurting. But I cannot for the life of me pin down why.
This continued, along with the roulette of physical manifestations of actual symptoms mixed with anxiety from being sick for so long, in a breakneck cycle. I was driving myself and my family insane. But, it did give me the opportunity to be a bit introspective as to why this could be causing it, beyond the obvious postpartum hormone shifts.
I believe that as chronically ill individuals, we cope as best we can. That can mean cancelling all plans on the weekends, or that can mean dragging ourselves through our regularly scheduled social calendar and chanting that “it’s just not that bad, others have it worse, at least I’m not in a wheelchair this week,” or any other mantra that fits for that particular day.
I think this helps, in the day to day.
I think this is harmful, long term.
Because when we are always saying what we hear other people or doctors say and own that for ourselves – that it truly isn’t that bad, we just need to get over it, etc etc….
We stuff it in. We choke it down. We consume and consume all of the pent up frustration and confusion until it’s all quiet.
In the quiet lies the chaos and anxiety.
So we busy ourselves. We run all over the ends of the earth with this coffee meet-up and this work event and this playdate…
Until we can’t…
Until the fears that live in our brains take over and chain our wrists and spines to our beds, and our pain is so severe we cry ourselves to sleep every other night.
This is the vicious mental health cycle the health community fails to address, as it is barely capable of addressing our physical needs.
It is on us to stop the behaviour. It is on us to encourage eachother to rest, and to live in the moment – no matter how dreadful it is. We cannot allow our emotional spigot to become clogged in the monotonous chant of “pick up, and soldier on.”
We need to feel.
We need to fall.
And we need to overcome.
But, we cannot overcome what we constantly deny.
Fight your battles and lean on your support system. For those that feel they have no support system, you have this blog. A voice in the crowd that understands and feels for you and is happy to pray for you.
Please, own what hand you’ve been dealt. Let’s make the best of it together.