We all make judgments and access others from an outsider’s point of view. Everyone has their own shit to muddle through and we aren’t always present to what others are experiencing in their lives.
As a writer, you would think I wouldn’t have a difficult time expressing myself in an articulate and basic way. I have all but given up trying to explain and seek some resolve. The look on my face isn’t disdain or boredom, it is worry and fear. The anxiety from what life is throwing at me is internalized, because I keep going back to this one thing: “Everyone has their own shit. No one wants to hear mine.” I allow people to think I’m a bitch. Snobby, even. Perhaps my overreaction to something small is only my being theatrical. It isn’t because I’m thinking of an ill family member or a deep-rooted issue in my personal life. Stress of jackass tenants not paying their rent, my dog needing a surgery I couldn’t afford…those last two things are relatively small to all the other things I’m dealing with and yet they are on my mind constantly.
I’ve forged a disconnect between myself and my partner…between myself and my family… between me and the entire world. It isn’t because I do not crave their support and understanding. It is simply being too slapped down with fatigue from their assumptions and the disappointment of not truly being heard and understood. When a person has made up their mind of who you are, more often than not, I find myself shutting down. If they’re not interested in trying to know you and understand you, for me…it is game over.
I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder years ago and it is a huge cause for my constant desire to isolate myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Usually, I have been really good about having a handle on things…but lately, the vast amount of optimism I always had in life is dwindling.
And that’s where I am now. Overwhelmed, misunderstood and in this escape mode mentality to isolate myself even further. I’m one step away from being the crazy cat lady…EXCEPT I’m allergic to cats so I can’t even do THAT RIGHT.
I tried to share these thoughts with someone, only because I NEEDED to hear, “You’re okay. I love you.” That would have made all the difference. Instead, I received, “Yeah, I’m stressed out too.”
I couldn’t be upset with this person because they have absolutely no idea what I’m dealing with. I have tried to explain myself…try to share the fears and worries that are torturing me to the point that my jaw is constantly aching from clenching it and grinding my teeth at night. And yes, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t hear simple words to make me feel less like I’m unworthy in their eyes. At the same time-and this is strange- I can’t help but feel envious of their inability to do so. How wonderful it would be to be able to write someone or something off as ridiculous because in their world…these feelings I have are so foreign they’re damn right weird.
One of the biggest misconceptions in dealing with someone like myself- is that there isn’t anything you could say to make the person feel better. If you’re dealing with someone who has chronic anxiety and suffers from PTSD, simply asking the person what you can do to make them feel better at that moment is monumentally helpful. Being sensitive and empathetic, especially if this is a person you love, is amazingly comforting.
It makes a difference.
This is what I want people to know: We all experience anxiety in our lives…those sizzling nerves about public speaking or hosting an event…those types of anxiety are relatable. What I experience (on a daily bases) are the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach at such a constant speed it is painful. My world right now is in an upside down state and I don’t have the confidence and hope I once had to fight through.
It’s shameful to admit publicly the feelings of inferiority I’m experiencing, but this is my reality. I am clumsily stumbling through life reaching for this anchor that doesn’t exist.