I wrote this two weeks ago:
Not very often in my life do I feel so overwhelmed or stretched thin that I feel close to breaking.
In fact, my breaking point is so incredibly hard to get to, I sometimes wonder if I have one. I also sometimes wonder that if my breaking point were a little easier to access, I’d have less panic attacks or anxiety waking me in the dead of sleep.
If I could just take a second to stop and cry. That might help.
But I never do.
Anxiety is funny because it just sort of arrives in weird times. For me, it is usually when I am finally calming down after a good bout of crazy. I think this is a coping mechanism for me. It allows me to get through whatever stress I am undergoing, and then afterwards also allows my body to expel that stress through some kind of involuntary panic.
Over the years I have learned that when this panic happens it is almost always never directly related to current life circumstances, but rather — ones that have already been completed. And it is very rarely about anything I am preparing for in the future. What I am trying to do more is realize when I am in the state of stress (the deep and sometimes dark emotional labor of life) so that I can mentally process it while it is happening and not later through anxiety, heart murmurs/palpitations, and/or sleeping panic attacks that sometimes last for weeks.
I am currently in the deep dark of the stress–it almost feels like what I think depression would feel like (but I have never had a history of depression ((i don’t think))). Normally, I would look straight ahead and do whatever I needed to do in order to check the boxes, complete work, show up for people and essentially be a rock. But for some reason, right now, I just can’t. I am not showing up for myself and I can feel the anxiety just on the back burner waiting for a quiet moment to fuck me up.
And from what I can feel in my throat right now, It’ll be a bad one.
I have decided that this might be the clear path to harnessing true power, in order to avoid a life of subsequent panic and anxiety. And that truth telling has to take place in the moment in order to work — and, let’s be real. That shit is hard. But I feel like it crystallizes the difficult moment or experience and keeps it contained, rather than leaving something unfinished and spilling out into life at a later time and in unexpected ways.
Here’s the funny thing. A few nights ago, a situation came up where I put this to the test. It was sort of an unexpected situation with my mom–one having to do with religion and boundaries and my daughter, which is a really hard topic for us (insert mostly ME) to talk about. But this time, instead of holding back and not sharing how I really felt because it was too scary or I was too worried about hurting already strained relationships– I just took a breath and put it out there. I said some things that I had been holding onto for the last few years. I said them with care and with love––but I SAID THEM.
And we all lived.
My mom was gracious and understanding and wonderful and I had this overwhelming sense of love for my mother that felt new and different and really, really needed. Because, at the end of the day — we all just want to be accepted for our true and authentic selves. But people can’t accept us in that way, if we don’t show up in that way.
I haven’t given my mom enough credit. Granted, much of how we were raised meant hiding anything that was different than what she expected and sometimes I still feel like that 14 year old girl testing boundaries behind her back. But we’re adults now, and we’ve all grown and changed and she can handle a lot more than she used to.
Then, I bawled. I sobbed. I cried in an unexpected way for an unexpected length of time.
And it really really surprised me (refer to beginning of this post where I mention that I haven’t hit a breaking point of tears in a long, long time).
And here I was, on a Tuesday evening, breaking down in a really wonderful and completely unexpected way because I told my truth. Because I shared my whole self, not just parts and pieces. And, because my mom saw me and made me believe so.
There is one thing I know for sure now. This scenario won’t be contributing to any 3:30 am panic attacks. It isn’t sitting in the back of my brain as unfinished business.
It was a complete and whole transaction of truth.
You guys, this is how we are supposed to live.