a few weeks ago i was sitting in my living room on a nice quiet evening, watching the great british bake off on netflix, nice and mellow, and all of a sudden BOOM: massive anxiety attack.
i had just been offered a part time job and was working over a new budget and suddenly FREAKED OUT. full on tears, chest pain, full on panic: OH MY GOD. HOW AM I GOING TO SURVIVE ON A SINGLE MOM BUDGET?
yes, how am i, the single mother, who has survive on a single mother budget for the last 20 years, going to keep surviving now on a single mother budget?
that's right. i retro-actively freaked out about the last 20 years of my life.
i told myself i should have been kicked out of every apartment i lived in...it takes 2 people to pay the rent more often than not. I SHOULD HAVE FAILED.
2 people working full time can barely make ends meet...HOW AM I GOING TO AFFORD ANYTHING?
well, let's see...my kids never went naked, our power was never shut off, they never went hungry...
it's a special kind of crazy that makes you panic about something you've already done. FOR TWENTY YEARS.
this has been my mind the last few months...never. ending. anxiety.
i've battled with depression. i've battled fear. i can't remember a time i wasn't under some kind of stress. i've dealt with domestic violence, divorce, sick kids, family dying. this isn't the first time i've left a "career" job. this isn't the first time i've taken a part time job. this isn't my first go round with lonely holidays. this isn't my first run in with a moody hormonal teenager.
i'm older. i've been seasoned, earned my grey hair (that i immediately colored over).
SO WHAT THE FUCK?
anxiety man. it's the worst of it all. it's this never ending voice of terror. of destruction. of certain doom. it's this constant sound track of every. single. thing. wrong. that i've done in my life. it's a constant slow motion replay of every. single. decision. over the last 6 months reviewing every one over and over and over and over. it's every horrible thing i've ever thought about myself BLARING over a megaphone all day long and even in my dreams.
all my writing has ground to a heartbreaking stop. i have so many project i want to finish but i just...can't right now and it's making me so mad.
i've cried more in the last few months than i have in a LONG time.
we got a new puppy this weekend and it's been CONSTANT terror the last few days that i can't handle it. a puppy. i have myself convinced that i can't handle a puppy.
i believe, i really do believe, that things happen at a specific time for a specific reason. i believe in the balance of the universe. i believe that things happen when they're meant to, that there's lessons to be learned in every experience.
i believe that out of all the jobs i applied for and interviewed for, there's a reason this job was offered to me. THIS is where i need to be right now.
so why can't i quit questioning it and worrying about it? why can't i stop looking online at indeed and craigslist to see what else is out there?
i believe that out of all the jobs, state jobs, corporate jobs, big businesses, small businesses, government jobs, out of ALL the possibilities over the last few months, THIS is the place for me.
can you believe and not believe something at the same time?
i know the universe is SCREAMING at me to just trust myself.
and i just can't do it.
JUST WRITE. GET IT OUT THERE.
and then the doubt and questions and hate start.
so what if i finish writing something? what's that going to do? it's not like it's going to be something that i can make a living at. do you know how many people WORK for YEARS to make a living at writing? and i think that whatever hack job i throw out into the universe is actually going to be anything more than a blip?
WHO CARES IF IT ISN'T A MILLION DOLLAR BOOK DEAL? haven't i always said that as long as ONE person connects with it, it's worth it?
SO WHAT THE FUCK IS MY PROBLEM?
i've been trying to meditate more. find a calm space for my mind free of judgement and hate and anxiety.
spoiler alert: quiet time just means all the negative voices have less to compete with and get louder.
i worked my way through the meditation basics on the headspace meditation app a few times. even with the guided meditation i still haven't been able to shut off the anxiety spiral for more than a few minutes at a time.
it's a whole different beast than depression.
it's way fucking meaner. just a relentless. it's much more active than depression. anxiety is like depression on meth: all the horrible thoughts, seventeen times the speed ricocheting around your brain! it's an endless choose your own adventure OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION. no happy endings here kids, no matter how many different ways you follow the rabbit trails. go ahead. try EVERY option. NOPE. still terrible.
and i know i'll figure it out. always have. always will. it hasn't always been stars and rainbows and pots of gold, but i've made it through the last twenty years. i can make it through this too.
i'm not giving up, as much as...whatever it is in there is screaming how much easier that would be.
i'll research. i'll keep trying. i'll keep kicking cans until i find an answer for this new challenge.
man. you have to give credit where credit is due.
just when i thought i had shit dialed in and on the right track. just when i thought i had figured out the tricks to my own mental health and how to catch myself when i'm slipping and get myself back on track...life was like OH REALLY BITCH? TRY THIS FASTBALL THEN.
just when i was like- i'm going to take three months to make shit happen! make myself the best i've ever been! spend time on me! chase dreams! believe in yourself! DO IT!
then life was like...but first...
and, somewhere in the deep corners of my brain, there's a theory percolating: ok. so. if life is so scared of you becoming healthy and being your best self that it has to distract you THIS HARD, what kind of fucking powerhouse of awesome does it know you are? and what happens if you are finally able to actually believe that and tap into it? if you can get past these distractions, if you can do what you set out to do...
what if anxiety is like the boyfriend that constantly puts you down because he knows once you stop listening to him and realize how awesome you actually are he doesn't stand a chance in hell...
given my track record you think i'd be much better at kicking a crappy boyfriend to the curb.