Let me tell you a story.
There’s this woman, who by all accounts seems successful, loving, kind, optimistic…all those good things. But she has a secret.
She doesn’t believe any of it most of the time.
Oh, by the way, she’s me.
I know, I write and talk a lot about being positive and all, but living it is a different story. However, part of the work is being honest and accepting who I am, so here it is.
I am insecure. Like, super insecure. Nine times out of ten I hate how I look. One part of my body or another seems off, or gross, or I hate how I walk or talk. I am CONSTANTLY afraid that other people are judging me. This, in turn, creates horrible anxiety. For some reason I have this thought that EVERYONE is always watching me and judging me. Do I think I’m really that important? That the world is watching and judging my every move? No. But I don’t know how to turn it off.
For instance, last night I really wanted some egg rolls, sweet and sour cabbage, and fried rice. I spent AN HOUR looking for a way to order without needing 1. To call anyone and 2. To leave my house. So I finally decided to order delivery and got a meatball sub and fries. Because I was literally paralyzed by the thought of calling and picking up food. I even dialed the number once but never called. I was afraid they wouldn’t understand me. Afraid I wouldn’t say it right. Afraid I wouldn’t walk in and pick up the order correctly. Absolutely ridiculous stuff! And I know it’s ridiculous. But fear is a powerful motivator (or anti-motivator, as it were).
I’m afraid most of the time to try to fix things in my house, afraid to decorate, afraid to make decisions because (*gasp*) I might do it wrong. I’m afraid to ask for help sometimes because I don’t want to look dumb. I’m afraid of failure. So many times I just don’t try.
I am also insecure in my relationships and friendships. I constantly worry people don’t like me and will leave me, turning the most innocuous event into a massive story in my mind with me being the victim every time. I search for positive feedback incessantly and I know that HAS to be annoying to anyone with me. I cling tightly to the people close to me and fear even a moment of letting go, even when I know I’d be better off without certain people anyway. Because I’m scared to be totally alone. I know I’m fine but I HATE doing anything alone, without that buffer of someone else to laugh with me if I screw up. Again, I know it’s ridiculous but it’s a hard fear to just drop.
I get depressed because of my anxiety, and I then feel like I’m not good enough…not a good enough friend, partner, coworker, mother, daughter, etc. My brain has me believe I’m worthless. And the cycle continues.
Everything is just magnified now with the pandemic and people fighting over human rights (like, why even is that a fight?) and I have watched more people die in the last 3 months than I ever have in my career. Add to that the continued side effects from treatment and the entirely different anxiety of dealing with chronic health conditions and I’m just drained.
I’ve been in therapy and I’m back weekly meeting with my therapist. Ive been studying more and more Buddhist wisdom about happiness and meditation, and it’s working. Slowly but surely I feel myself changing. I KNOW I can love me. I know I DO under all this noise my brain creates. And I know I deserve to be loved and I’m just as bumbling and confused and lost sometimes as every other person on this planet. I know if anyone does judge me, they’re just as lost as me and making fun of me just makes them feel better about themselves in a way. I know people care about me and I know I’m doing the best I can to be a good mom and friend and partner and daughter and coworker. I know I’m doing my tiny part to make the world a better place.
I know who I am underneath the fog of anxiety and depression. Sometimes it’s just a little hard to find her again.
But I’m never giving up.