This past week has been pretty rough for me, mentally and emotionally. My anxiety level has been high and I've been on the verge of tears more often than not. I'm a girl; this happens on occasion. And trust me, this used to be my normal. But in the last year, I've been happily meandering through life. That is, until this past week.
There have been a number of things on my mind. And mostly, they are other people's "stuff". Stuff I have no control over. Which doesn't mean I can't sympathize, empathize, try to help... but recently, all those woes have gone far deeper into me that usual. I would say into my heart or my soul, but really, they have gone into the pit of my stomach. Anxiety over all these things that I can't fix for others.
Every interaction, every anticipation of interaction, has caused me to feel like I'm drowning. Self-expression through communication, the thing I love and crave, has been impossible. Instead, I hide or snap or cry or feel ill. That is not normal, not natural, and not healthy.
So I've taken the past few days for myself. I spent time with Able-Bodied Boy and with my family. I sat quietly. I sang songs to my neice. I cooked. I drank ginger ale. I changed settings on social networking websites so I wouldn't get quite so many email notifications. And Able-Bodied Boy held me tight in the hot tub.
I've started to relax.
I'm not there yet, but today, Valentine's Day, reminds me of all that I am grateful for. This time last year, I opened hands, heart and home to those friends nearest and dearest that had supported me during a very hard time. And it makes me realize that I cannot in turn let them down by being so burdened by their needs that I can't function. Sympathy, empathy, love, a hand, a shoulder... these are things I can and should give freely. They are gifts, giving, outpourings.
I cannot control others, their lives, the things they say or do or how they react to the world. I cannot fix everything wrong with the world, or even a little bit of it. Right now, I can't even put into words all the little things that I feel pushing against me. Remembering all this and recovering my ability to make it all make sense will take more time.
But in the meantime, I can keep a smile on my face, warmth in my heart, sympathy in my soul, and a free spot on my shoulder.
Have you recently struggled with anything that usually comes easy?