I woke up this morning to a dismally overcast and rainy day. As I scrambled to turn off “Celebrity Status” (my alarm ring tone), I didn’t believe for one second it was actually 7 a.m. Much to my chagrin, it was.
And so, the day began.
Was it pathetic fallacy that set my mood automatically to blah? Or was it something else? And would I really describe myself as just ‘blah’ or is it something deeper and more disturbed?
Well, got a call from the maternal parental unit yesterday. It started just as any other call to make plans for Thanksgiving would, but I must not have been upbeat enough. Mom wants to know what’s wrong. Mom wants to know if she hurt my feelings at my birthday dinner. Mom wants to make sure I’m ‘on track’.
What can I say: she’s my mom! I may be 44 years old, but you never stop needing your mom and she never stops knowing you better than any other person on the planet. So, I opened up a bit. But the bit turned into a 90 minute conversation. Mom didn’t understand my anxiety before. I think she understands it a little better now. She’s sad for me that I go through this…every day….with every person….for every situation….
‘it must be exhausting’
Yup. Yup it is.
My anxiety has, as I mentioned, been in a bit of overdrive lately. But, I’m so happy I started blogging about it because I actually have felt ‘better’ for having done it. I’ve connected with a couple of other sufferers through this medium and, somehow, knowing I’m not alone, as corny as it sounds, makes me feel better: misery loves company, they say!
No, I’m not miserable, not at all. Okay, maybe a little today? But not sad, not depressed. I’m not even ‘unhappy’. Those are emotions I understand and can identify…this though…. describing or explaining this is eluding me. So for lack of a better word, I’ll say: ‘blah’.
How many of us actually spend time dissecting our emotions? Truly, I don’t think it’s something most people do on a regular basis. Now that’s opinion, not fact. It’s my experience that has taught me most people don’t do what I do. They take their emotions in stride, experiencing them as they happen, la-de-da; why analyze them?
I’m an analytical, logical, evidence-based person. As my lovely mother helped me to remember/realize: I’ve never been comfortable with emotions, particularly my own. I’m starting to think it’s for this reason that I suffer from social anxiety. I try so hard to fit in. I want so desperately to fit in. But I just don’t fit. This is the start of a vicious circle.
Emotions have no basis in logic! None! Yes, they can be analyzed. When I see someone yell, that’s evidence of fear or anger (or that they are simply a hot-head, I guess). But knowing those things doesn’t make them make sense. So, I transform, like a chameleon, into whoever I think it is you want me to be. Hmmmm…. see the problem with that already, right?
When I was younger, I didn’t show emotion so people called me a robot. Laugh, if you like. It’s true. I didn’t like being a target, so I tried to start expressing emotions…oh, what a sad display….(sigh)
I identify best with the following beloved TV characters that you may recognize:
Mr. Spock (gee I wonder what show he’s from!)
(and yes, at 8 years old, I thought I would like to marry Spock)
Data (Star Trek, Next Generation)
7 of 9 (Star Trek, Deep Space Nine)
Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory)
Dr. Spencer Reid (Criminal Minds)
Gil Grissom (CSI)
Temperance Brennan (Bones)
Do you see a pattern?
So Doctor Mom has prescribed a task to get me back on track: in order to know WHO I am so that I may be TRUE to ME, she wants me to write a list of the things about me that I like and love. No, not a pro/con list: pro only! Not my accomplishments (I could write a list of those with ease), but qualities. Personality traits that I like about myself. Man!
But when mom talks, I still listen. I still do what I’m told. I’m still a good girl. So I will write this list. Once I have compiled my list, I am to read it to myself every morning and every night before bed. Not skim: READ.
Why? So that I can remind myself who I am and why I used to like and love myself. So I can remember why I’m such a great person and STOP trying to be who ‘they’ want me to be. I have to do this for myself for 3 full weeks. Like any habit, 3 weeks is the timeline to create change in your habits. It’s my habit to think I’m not good enough, so I need to change that and remember I’m more than good enough!
She assures me this works. Mom is a nurse. Not just any nurse (none of the women in my family are “just an” anything! We are always the best, most specialized, etc). Even if part of her job wasn’t providing counselling, I would believe her that this will work. Mom had a helluva life and is a long-time sufferer of low self-esteem and acute depression. In her ‘twilight’ years, I see her coming out the other side I see the wisdom in what she shares. She knows what she’s talking about.
So, I’ll do it. If you are struggling to find your place in yourself and in your world, why don’t you try it too? It can’t hurt, it can only help. Don’t share your list with me (I’m not going to share mine with you!). This is for us, not them, for a change.