You know what’s the worst thing about fighting with your own mind is? It’s that it knows you so well that will make you consider things you know you’d never do. It whispers into your subconscious that you won’t always be happy, that you should worry about this or that, that you need the sabotage the good things in your life because it will be sabotaged anyway. Might as well beat it to the punch, right?
This is my current struggle. I’ll have a good thing going and in my mind, I don’t deserve to have this good thing, I don’t deserve the happiness it adds to my life. Or that it won’t last. And sometimes I don’t know how to cope with it, so I’m sure I’m unintentionally sabotaging it anyway. Nothing in this life is guaranteed and the part of my mind that I fight with knows this and uses it. I know to some degree it may be trying to protect me from getting hurt, but in the end the fight wears on me like I just fought an epic battle. And it some ways I did. I have days where I can feel it in my bones and muscles, and yet I didn’t even pull myself out of bed. There are days that it’s an absolute fight to eat. My body says, “You’re hungry, you need to eat.” And my mind says, “You’re not hungry though.” As if they rumbling and grumbling in my stomach wasn’t evidence enough of that. That when I try to force myself to eat, my mind is fighting me so hard that I’m crying, and I can barely get a few bites in.
Just to be clear, my fight is not usually one about food. My lack of appetite is just a side effect of my real issue. I don’t know for sure if it’s depression or anxiety, or some toxic combination of the two, but I know that it effects me deeply. It comes like a thief in the night, sapping away at my desire to function as a competent and rational human being. It makes me look at the things that I have and say, “You do not deserve this.” Or in the case of having an episode around someone I love and hearing, “You do not deserve them. You shouldn’t burden them with your issues.” Despite them telling me over and over that they want to carry this burden with me.
Trying to push the words that could relieve me of these feelings is a fight as well. To let my loved ones know the weird and crazy things that my mind is telling me to do, to end the happiness even though my conscious mind knows I deserve to be happy. My anxiety just simply won’t let me sometimes. My boyfriend got to experience one of my episodes the other night. He was up making himself a coffee and found me in a ball on his couch, and asked me why I was all balled up, thinking at first I was just being silly, because I tend to do things like that to be silly. I like having a fun personality, full of teasing and goofing off. The words that escaped my lips were, “I think I’m having a really bad anxiety attack.” And he immediately jumped into action to calm me down.
With sobbing in my chest, tears running down my face and the swirl of terrible thoughts running through my head, he sat there and just rubbed my back. It seems to center me, it lets me know I’m not alone and it gives me something to concentrate on. To pull myself out of this attack of the mind. It was something I told him in the beginning that seems to help, and I’m so grateful that he remembered.
My anxiety had been building up a bit in the days before, but not severely. Just with quiet whispers. If I’m with other people, I’m fine. I’m sufficiently distracted and living in the moment, and I was having a really good day! I had spent the day with a really great friend who I hadn’t seen in almost a year, catching up and enjoying the Halifax sunshine. Then that evening I was spending it with my boyfriend, so I wasn’t worried. It was the quiet moments on the couch that it came out of no where and proceeded to speak lies. It wiped me out and took my down so quickly and quietly.
Once I was calmed he asked me, “What’s on your mind? Why are you feeling anxious?” To which I couldn’t respond right away, because it was another battle with my mind. It wasn’t because I couldn’t trust him, because I do trust him, he’s the one that I don’t mind sharing my secrets with. It was because my issues don’t seem to want me to get better, to get relief. It wants me to wallow in the negative spaces in my mind. It took a long time for me to internally fight to get even some of it out. That in my mind, it kept screaming, “Your happiness with him will never last. You need to end your relationship. You need to cut him off. Or he’s eventually going to get tired of you. He’s not going to want to stay with someone as mentally messed up as you so you need to end it.” And that is the complete opposite of what I want and know to be true, but it doesn’t stop that anxiety ridden part of my mind from spreading such toxic ideas.
To which he responded, “You are my plan. I’m not going anywhere unless you tell me to get lost and go. I want you to know that I always want you to be you. Always.” Which even thinking about it now is such a surreal gift, but one I’m thankful for. On the drive home he asked me how I was and I said that I was okay. The worst was over. After a battle like that, feeling okay is the best I was going to be able to do. Feeling okay means that I’m miles ahead of where I was and that I’m still recovering to get back to my fun and life loving self.
I’m thankful to the people who see me at these deep dark places, and still choose to love me. That they still choose to fight my fights with me, and holding me up when I can’t even hold myself. That rub my back, wrap me up in blankets, put cheesy movies on and just sit there quietly in love. You guys know who you are, and I’m so thankful for you, even if you don’t always understand the fight I’m going through. You just being there and whispering words of love to me when I don’t love myself are wonderful gifts that I am forever thankful for.