Friday, July 16, 2010

this messy life

what would it look like if i accepted my inabilities and instead focused on my abilities? that doesn't mean submitting to my anxiety attacks, but i think i am unbalanced in how i deal with them. see, every year or so i have good periods and bad at usually about an 80/20 ratio. what i am coming to believe is that what i perceive as being the good times, are in actuality just me stuffing my feelings and issues away which results in the present predicament i'm faced with, the infrequent but intense periods of anxiety attacks. so my theory is that if i was more balanced in how i live - meaning accepting my limits and not trying to "muscle my way" through my life trying to act as if i do not have anxiety attacks or feel plagued by agoraphobia - that my overall levels would be much improved. that would mean asking for help with triggering situations (taking the children to school, etc.) and in general being more upfront that i have limits on what i can attend or do. i feel a bit like winnie the pooh over here going think, think, think. i am admittedly a bit afraid to undertake such an experiment. it doesn't seem like the right time (but what time WOULD? a: none) and admitting that i have a limitation up front and to everyone would feel embarrassing. see what i want most out of myself is to go unnoticed. (uhh says the person with tattoos and large holes in her ears...) what i mean is to not make a spectacle of myself with my issues. i want to live a quiet, happy life of love and service to God and my friends. what more could i want for? anxiety attacks do not fit in that and for the last 10 yrs i've been trying to suffocate and smoke that problem right outta my psyche.

(and see how well it's working!?)

pretty much the best compliment i can tell a person is that i am chained up with my agoraphobia and anxious tendencies. if i confide that in you it means i trust you & you are welcomed in this messy life. but to confide also means i am giving up the charade, that i am admitting that i cannot suffocate and smoke it out, that at times it has it's boot on my neck. nothing displays what a control freak i am like trying to submit to this out of control feeling. david and i were driving home from my brother and sister-in-laws home this past weekend. when merging from one highway to another near downtown columbus a car in front of us was nearly standing still which caused david to have to SLAM on his brakes sending us all askew on the pavement. the resulting feeling is pretty on par with a panic attack. except i might be simply sitting next to you on the couch or pushing a cart in the grocery store. it's how you feel when a police officer pulls behind you and turns on it's lights. even though you intellectually know you were simply speeding (or equivalent benign behavior) your body reacts as if you are about to get killed. david assures me that my body gives away little of the rumbling inside but good grief do i feel like a big billboard for freak-outs when im in the middle of it.

what i want is to stop bemoaning the fact that i am not emotionally on par with most people. that in itself it is no different than having some other disability. if i were in a wheelchair would i keep trying to orient my life as if i wasn't? NO. you can't quit rehabilitation but you've got to make some concessions. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE THOSE CHANGES and it's been 10 yrs! & if im honest i'm scared to try because i don't know what that would mean. i do not like being a person that anyone has to "make arrangements for". that is not part of the quiet life. also: jeff cannell my awesome pastor wrote: "I can't God can" and that is going to be my mantra if i do this.

so let's review: the biggest compliments i can give a person are NOT attending a special function of theirs (because it means i really wanted to go!) and telling you i have panic attacks. see? messy life.


Mandie Oliver said...

i have the same issues and limitations. over 12 years for this gal. yikes.

Jenni, Jon, Benji and Lexi Clifton said...

Thank you for continuing to describe your feelings so well. I feel like it is so hard for other people to understand. I hope your honesty helps you, and those around you (and me) accept this disability.

crystal ann said...

wow have you talked to a doctor?
they might be able to help i don't know what i am talking i was just trying to help =D

jenny mae. said...

crystal ann - yes i have been seeing a doctor regularly for the last 10 yrs and for a while i actually went to a phobia specialist. the latter helped but we could never afford it. my anxiety is managed only by .5 mg of ativan as needed as prescribed by my family doctor.

meghan said...

"so let's review: the biggest compliments i can give a person are NOT attending a special function of theirs (because it means i really wanted to go!) and telling you i have panic attacks. see? messy life"

This is so beautiful. It really is. We all have steamer trunks of baggage we're carrying around, lady, and it takes a brave soul to open up theirs. I think we'd all be much happier if we could admit to each other how broken we are.

My brokenness:
-- couldn't breastfeed my daughter
-- have no confidence when it comes to finding a job I'll enjoy or that is worthy of my talents and abilities
-- want to write but never think what I write is good enough, so projects never get finished/published
-- would rather be polite than honest

We're all messy, Jenny. You're not alone in that.

Sarah said...

just so you know, as a far way outsider who found you through a friend of a friend of a friend (and i also have a daughter named Olive), i've read your blog and found your honesty about anxiety to be comforting. i'd say you are doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lesson you're supposed to learn is that you are perfectly imperfect and are not supposed to be the same as everyone else. Maybe God is teaching others through you to be more accepting of others limitations and that even people with seemingly enviable lives still have issues they must work through or around. I think that's the beauty of your blog and your willingness to share. You don't have to be perfect,you just have to be uniquely you.

Sausage Mama said...

Your honesty about your anxiety makes me exhale. I too really want to go to things, but just can't get there sometimes.

I feel I can't just say 'I quit my job at 16 weeks pregnant' without adding 'because this is a difficult pregnancy and it was causing me so much stress and anxiety' because everyone around me worked until the night they gave birth, if not the week before.

'what i want is to stop bemoaning the fact that i am not emotionally on par with most people.' this really resonated with me. As did your blog ages ago that made me realise I am HSP.

There is TOO MUCH work to do to get to the same level of emotional stability as everyone else. Childhood trauma, teenage trauma. I forgive my parents and abusers, but it doesn't really make my life much easier. You know?

It's nice to know everyone seems to have their something too. We sensitive folk just are more aware of our emotional issues, because we have so much empathy and awareness. Most people don't even acknowledge their problems, so that's something.

I'm dreading Christmas this year, as I do every year, when every man and his dog travels from overseas to spend Christmas here. So now I don't want my family here? What type of person doesn't want that? Am I a bad person because they argue and demand so much of our time and money for up to 6 weeks that I'd rather go to an island without them for Christmas?

What makes it worse is that I'm due with this baby on Christmas eve. My last weeks of pregnancy are going to be full of anxiety and stress and I'm so worried about how it's going to affect my labour and trying to enjoy my newborn. Gah.

Thank you for your honesty Jenny,

Anonymous said...

I have PTSD and major anxiety that goes along with it. I really like your blog. Thanks for being so honest. I still haven't told anyone.

Eva said...

so well said, thank you again for speaking for probably all anxiety sufferers out there!