Baring It All

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Hello…It is I. I am her. She is back.

I’ve been neglecting this blog of late (I feel like I start most of my blog posts in this way) but I’ve been doing so for a legitimately non-lazy reason. Of course now the more than five of you followers I have will be wanting to know what that legitimate reason could be. Well, I’ve been going through a few things in my life and honestly at one point I felt like I may have actually just lost my damn mind altogether.
I’m good now though…Relaxed, at peace and truly just enjoying life once again after taking a hiatus from my own existence.

There’s something to be said for taking a vacation from your own life. I didn’t do it in slow degrees by telling people they wouldn’t be able to contact me then vanishing, having at least left word. Rather I reached a point in my life where I couldn’t dip my toe into the pool of my own solitude anymore in order to feel better, I had to dive in. I had to be alone. I had to gather myself. I had snapped. My life had become so overwhelming for my little self to take that I deleted all my social networks (even the email app on my phone) in one night and switched off my life. Fell off the face of the Earth. Dropped the curtain on the show, so I could retreat into my inner-ness (yes, I’m making up words here) to recuperate. And it worked wonders.

I had been physically suffering with the effects of my own anxiety and starting to have debilitating panic attacks by the time I decided that for my own emotional and physical well-being I had to remove myself from everything that was stressing me. I took two weeks to do absolutely nothing but eat, sleep and read things that would bolster my crushed spirit and make me a stronger individual. But of course the downside to removing yourself from your life in order to GET your life is that all you have to occupy your time with is your thoughts and the menial tasks you set for yourself to do so you won’t have stayed completely in bed all day. I know this sounds terribly depressive but I know I wasn’t depressed, just overwhelmingly tired and dealing with problems that I had pushed to the back of my mind but that had forced themselves to the forefront and needed immediate solving. So I thought. A lot. And I came to a few conclusions.

Firstly, anxiety is a terribly narcissistic condition. This blog and its posts are to do with my thoughts and opinions on subjects and situations I’ve experienced so of course I can’t speak for everyone suffering from anxiety (I had to add a little disclaimer there) but for me being anxious was exhaustingly self-involved. My thoughts consisted of “I, I, I”… “Me, Me, Me” or “My, My, My” day in and day out. MY studies, MY family, MY failures, MY career, MY health. For someone who isn’t used to that it can only cause more anxiety. All I had on my mind was ME. I’d have panic attacks over the tiniest thoughts about myself, normally comparative thoughts, which would then enlarge into thoughts that became self-harming for my spirit as well then self-harming to my body. Thoughts like “I wish I could do this like so-and-so” then the thought would turn into a larger thing like “WHY can’t I do that like so-and-so?” To “Will so-and-so always be better than me in that?” To “Will she better than me in life?” To “what have I done with my life?” And finally “What am I doing with my life?” At which point my hands would already be sweating and my heart beating a mile a minute leading me to think I may just be having a heart attack so let’s just add in a “Will I even live to do something with my life?”
Because really in the midst of a panic attack you truly believe that you may just die right then. In the next five minutes. Your breathing escalates, your body sweats, your heart thinks it’s the hare and your body the tortoise, then your mind switches off. Even when I wasn’t in the immediate throes of a panic attack I couldn’t sleep, my nights were spent lying in bed with my thoughts and listening to my heart beat. Listening for the switch up in rhythm when I had a particularly sad/angering/disappointing thought that made me anxious all over again. A few times the very thought of being anxious made me anxious. I was scared of my own anxiety.
Logic always dictated that I’d be just fine, but the psyche is a powerful thing. My mind was telling me I might not make it so my body was giving me corresponding information in the forms of my breathlessness and physical illness. (I never mentioned the overwhelming and near-constant urge to throw up, this is a Lady here remember?) I could not and still cannot believe that my own thoughts about myself could lead to my believing I was sick. I went to two doctors trying to find out what was wrong with me and both came to the same conclusion. I was a nervous wreck…It was all on me. Medication was given and some counseling done but really I had to do the work. So changes had to be made.
There’s this quote by Iyanla Vanzant that states “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” Words more true have yet to be spoken, in my case I was the creator of my own anxiety through comparing my life and where I am in it to those around me. I had assumed I was a confident woman until my gas ran out and I was no longer even running on reserves of confidence, I had to take a step back to fill the tank. I am lovely. A blessing to somebody. Loved beyond compare. Capable of having my own. My own successes, my own beauty, living through my own disappointments and taking charge of my own life without looking behind me to see what others are doing with their “own.” It took a good deal of thinking to get to this point but I’m here and these are my own thoughts. A Lady is allowed to be proud of being able to have dug her way out of a dark place in her life.

The second conclusion I came to was that I was just not going to live my life in fear anymore. A Lady takes the metaphorical horse by the reins and leads it where she wants it to go. THIS IS LIFE. Using another analogy, a Lady can throw on her best heels to look good at the party but her own feet still have to carry her there, SHE has to navigate those streets. I am the master of my destiny and if I don’t like something I should say so. If I want something I should grab it. Even my decision to pass on something, to remain quiet, to fade into the background, should be mine. Too many a time I allowed someone else to steer my steed because I was fearful I might make the wrong decisions but in my “thinking time” I’ve found I’d rather live with the regret that I made the wrong decision than lie in bed one day questioning why I let someone else make that decision for me because my decision COULD HAVE been a better one. Nothing hurts your conscience more than running through the “could have, would have, should haves” of your own life.

Lastly, I came to the conclusion that as self-absorbed as this experience was, it may just have been what I needed to return to the person I was possibly meant to be. I may not be making any sense to the sane (“how could THIS have helped?” They’ll say) but then maybe this post just isn’t for you. I went from a spent shell of myself to understanding my own thoughts. The time spent away from everyone and everything allowed me to see my life with clearer eyes, wearier eyes, more aware eyes. But then we weren’t meant to view life through the untainted lenses of a child forever.
It raised me. Life isn’t easy. Obstacles are abundant and free, they’re everywhere and ever-ready to knock you down.
But what do you do once you’ve been knocked? Honestly, I cried. A lot. Two good weeks of it. And a forced vacation from my own life. But then I got up. I took that time to train for the next race, with luck I’ll tackle the next hurdle better because I’ve had practice now. Next time I might not break the leg but bandage a sprained ankle.

The thing to remember is that you made it the first time you broke.

Til Next Post…
ThatQuintessentialLady

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