I’m going to get a bit more personal in this post, because I have to be honest. Not only to myself, but to others.
I’ve had a pretty rough go for the first half of 2016. There have been some positives (Marathon awesomeness), and there have been some negatives. And not just small negatives, like getting rear ended in a brand-new car. Big negatives like losing someone you love, in this case, my grandfather.
Since Easter, I’ve struggled with anxiety. And this isn’t just feeling a little anxious like all people do when put in certain situations. This is crippling. There are days when my anxiety takes over. Don’t know why, but it does. It’s been getting steadily better over the weeks since I really noticed it in April, but I still don’t feel totally in control.
If you’ve never had to deal with anxiety that is beyond just feeling nervous about something, I’ll let you into my world.
This series of thoughts happens within about a 10-minute period.
“Oh, another hair fell out.”
“What’s that little white tip at the end of it? That must be the root, that hair will never grow back again.”
“You don’t know that, maybe it will. Hair does grow back you know.”
“Yes, but what if it doesn’t? It might not. I might be going bald.”
“You are NOT going bald. Stop this. You know how ridiculous this is.”
“But, what if I am? I mean, my hair has been thinning a lot lately. Or, at least I think it is.”
“Your hair does this every summer. It’s natural. Relax would you? Please?”
“I’m trying. Really, I am.”
“Stress is not going to help you here. It’s only going to make your symptoms worse. Go put on some lavender and get your mind away from this.”
“OK. OK. I’m going.”
That conversation happens about 6 times a day, less if I’m lucky. But it isn’t always about the hair. It can be teeth, eyes, skin, veins – you name it.
There are days when I hardly even notice my anxiety. And then, without any warning at all, I’m back at square one fighting it back. It’s exhausting. Honestly, I’ve had days that I come home and a few hours later I literally cannot keep my eyes open.
It’s hard to feel good about yourself when your brain is attacking you at every chance it gets. It’s difficult to look in the mirror and feel beautiful. There’s something earth-shattering about looking in the mirror and not recognizing the person who stares back at you. Almost like you can see the person you were, and not know the person you are now.
I once heard someone say that you don’t return to normal after someone dies. Because the “normal” that existed when they were alive, will not be the same normal now that they are gone. And, eventually, you find a new “normal.”
I think that’s where I’m at now. Finding my new “normal.” Where I am going to have really bad days and where I think I’m completely falling apart, and days when I feel like a total rockstar. And, I think that’s OK.
Today I start running again, as part of my new normal. I’m happy that things are returning to what they used to be. Life can be exciting again, even with things that take you by surprise. But when something bad happens, I’ve started to think about the good things with this mindset “There’s more where that came from.”
It helps. A lot.