I’ve often written about the limits that anxiety imposes on me and how my goal is to do away with them. In the past few weeks I have been going out on my own more. Today I went out truly alone as I did not have my son with me. This was equally liberating and worrying to me as he often distracts me when my thoughts start straying towards anxiety/panic inducing territory. Even though I enjoy going shopping with my son (he’s two and a half) it was a different experience to go without him. The store was less charming and wondrous but I did like not having to worry about him. I felt carefree knowing he was home with his dad while I got to browse as much as I wanted without worrying that I was keeping him buckled into a shopping cart for too long.
My husband wanted me to pick up dinner for him on my way home and I can’t lie and say that I didn’t consider going straight home after the grocery store. I felt that I had pushed myself enough for one day and that pain in my chest was threatening to bloom. I said fuck it! I am going to do this thing and do it all the way. I’ve been letting my anxiety win for far too long. (That’s how I look at it but I am by no means making some sort of blanket statement that blames myself or other sufferers of mental illness for their plight.) I managed to do that as well with a relatively low level of anxiety. The one thing I wish I had been able to do is to not think about it all together but THAT is almost impossible for me at the present time.
Challenging myself is always fruitful but I am cognizant of the fact that it has to be well timed. If I am already feeling panicky before leaving the house I set myself up to fail. I know when I need to pull back and I am more interested in making long term progress than accomplishing something at the cost of my future attempts. The more I am able to do the more like myself I feel. I have glimpses of her sometimes and it brings tears to my eyes because it gives me hope that the fearless me is buried deep inside and like an archaeologist uncovering a fossil I am slowly but surely brushing away the sediment that obscures her.
This weekend we are going to a wedding. We also have plans to visit a friend. Both of these events cause me some form of social anxiety (which is different to my other anxiety but it contributes to it). Whenever I am in a situation where I meet lost of new people (like at the wedding) I am always anxious about my appearance and how I will come across to people. These social events are the ones that make me loathe my current weight, my fat rolls, grey hairs, the size of my breasts. There is an endless list of crap that all of a sudden matters to me because these social gatherings are everything I would rather not partake in. It makes me want to disappear. I don’t like being in a large crowd of people. Especially people who are interested in meeting my son for the first time, which means by default I have a lot of interactions coming my way. I know that it will all be all right but knowing that doesn’t mean that I won’t dread it. Or that I won’t want to hide out in a quiet corner for a while. Socializing drains me. I am much better suited for a quiet evening sitting around with a handful of friends. Nevertheless I am actually looking forward to the weekend, especially seeing my friend. It makes no sense I know!
If you’re reading this and you also suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or any other mental health issue please know that you aren’t alone. If you need someone to talk to please count on me as a friend.