Saturday, June 11, 2016

Choosing happiness

So I'm having trouble focusing on the work I actually have to do in order to, you know, get paid, because all I can think of is packing and getting it over with as I move out of my Lansdale apartment in August. You know that feeling as well, I'm sure, if you know a move is imminent. But I digress. I noticed, in taking breathers between my work and packing boxes, that I have a lot of saved drafts in my Blogger account but never published any of them...and it's been that way for the past year. I think for a lot of people that had previously read my posts and followed them when I wrote more frequently while at the boiling point of my probably seemed like the whole "no news is good news" thing in that I'd been inactive on here, so it must have all passed. For those that are anxious like me, you're probably laughing at that also.

To an extent, I think I stopped doing this because it's difficult to admit that, while you feel like you're personally better and you're wanting to go places/do things like a non-anxious human being again after what seemed like an eternity, there are these other areas in your life that are just falling apart and you cannot control them on your own, or at all even. Talking about unraveling was, in itself, one of the hardest but best things I've ever done. Both in the therapist's office and on here. In being open about it online, I connected with so many others in confidence that dealt with similar situations and, for once, even though I felt lonely so many times, I knew definitively that I wasn't alone.  

So much happened since I felt like I fell apart. I say "felt like" because I always had this nagging feeling that the sheer force of the pain would be finite, I just didn't know when it would stop, how much it would stop... and I would wonder if I'd someday stop being always anxious and return to being Lauren, who happens to be anxious sometimes. The therapy and medicine...well, I am glad I picked myself up from laying my living room floor and managed to, with a lot of support, pursue both of those avenues. For anyone who feels hopeless, my heart breaks because I've been there and for those that never see that it does get better, I break a little more.

Even in the past year, which has been marked by so much progress, I would sometimes go back to wondering if I would ever be a happy person again in my life and I guess even though it wasn't evident to me, I was strong enough, even when I didn't feel like it, to go on and hope that I'd figure out what I wanted in life in order to be happy. As I recovered, and in many ways continue to, I felt like I made a lot of trade-offs. I traded in being scared shitless because I didn't know why I was so twisted all the time, to finally understanding and recently accepting, why I felt so hopeless. I won't mince words, I'd be predisposed to all of this no matter what the circumstance, but losing myself to this extent...well it was unprecedented to me. I'd somehow managed to go through what I felt like was so much before age 30 and, for what I thought was no real reason, I broke. It never made sense. It does now. 

To say that's a big part of moving past it and moving forward is the understatement of the century. We are all a work in progress, but I am finally moving forward and pushing my limits. For anyone that is too scared to, I implore you to try. It's been difficult, wonderful, scary and empowering. So worth it. The therapy and medicine helped and still do, though I feel like I am faring well now with less of both. On the other side of the coin, I think it took me this long to figure out that some of the things I thought helped were actually detrimental and so the next chapter is going to be a boundary pusher for me something fierce. I choose happiness, though, and I don't think I'll ever deprive myself of that again due to anxiety. Fighting past it is so very worth it. 

If you're reading this and never knew that the last two years were some of the most formative, challenging and humbling of my life, feel free to read my archives and ask. My life is an open book. For those that helped and continue to, in any way whatsoever, I feel like I owe you so much and always appreciate the support and will try to do the same for you. For those that don't understand, don't feel bad. I don't on some days, either. But don't judge anyone you know that is dealing with this...questions are OK. Wondering is OK. But, and this is notable, discrediting mental health diagnoses of any kind is unacceptable and, unlike the Lauren of 2014, this one has enough sass to not ever tolerate that.

 I haven't seen a lot of you in the past couple of years and being an extrovert myself, that's sucked immensely. But I'm ready to be out there and in good company again, so I welcome the chance to reconnect. Again, I choose happiness...always happiness.