On Running Away

I’ve been thinking a lot this summer, writing a lot privately, and talking to friends and family.

I’ve come to a few realizations, and so I thought I would share in case they help you, too. When I look back on my life, I see that I’ve felt the worst, and been in most danger from the hauntings of my deep seated sadness and fear, when I felt trapped. Helpless. Hurting myself has often been my way of trying to “run away”.

So here’s a thought. Why don’t I simply…run away? I have two feet and a good head on my shoulders. No, I’m not going to go missing, don’t worry! I am just going to take some things into my own hands, even if others around me don’t approve. What is more important – pleasing others, or my own sanity? For once, I actually think it might be the latter.

I’m “running away”. I’m doing it for me. The risk of staying where I am has finally grown greater than the risk of moving forward. Wish me luck!

A Frightening Wake-up Call (trigger warning, self-harm)

A few nights ago, I told boyfriend leave my house. By yelling, repeatedly.

Go, Please just go.

Very understandably, boyfriend couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that I really wanted felt the need to hurt myself. What I wanted was to find a way to make that miserable urgency go away. What he saw was that I was it hurting, and he wanted to help. I know how important it is to him, to be able to help somehow.

I told him the only thing he could do to help is to please call someone for me. He seemed upset; he was upset. He thought we would be able to solve this, just the two of us. He thought it was just an argument. I told him I’d find a way to help solve the argument tomorrow but for now I needed to talk to someone because something else was going on. I didn’t care about the argument anymore, didn’t care about much anymore except for the single-minded urge to go numb.

He left, thank goodness for both of us, and I called a helpline, and finally fell asleep when Charlotte curled up beside me, warm fluff nestled against my fatigued figure.

Here’s what they said on the helpline. Don’t worry  about anyone else tonight. Tonight just worry about yourself. Go through your evening routine, then go to bed. You need to do what’s best for you right now, and deal with the rest later.

The way I had felt was nothing like my normal state of mind. It was a numbing, a loss of hope, an inevitability. An instinct of sorts kicking in – maybe it’s fight, flight, freeze, float away? I floated away, the feisty me. And I wanted to give in, because I mistakenly thought it best.

It wouldn’t have been best.

Actually, it would have been the worst. A friend told me recently,

Life is too short to cash your own check.

And I believe it, 100%. But the truth is that I don’t know what happened the other night, and I’m well – scared to death.

Stay safe everyone. And never hesitate to ask for help – whether it’s from a 24-hour phone line, a best friend, a relative. In the worst, saddest moment, help is still out there. Hope is still out there.

 Note: I thought for a long time about whether this was the right thing to publish here. There is always a choice about what parts of your life to include or not on a blog. But I write here to feel less alone and to help others feel less alone, and I believe this post does that. Thanks for reading!

Morning and Day Anxiety

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It’s 3:55 am, and everything is very still.

My de-stress playlist* is playing gently.

My boyfriend is over, dozing nearby, so kindly, so peacefully, just keeping me company. It’s been a fun day, an unproductive day – you might say. I am behind in school. I am behind on all my courses, with doctor’s notes for the anxiety.

And usually? I feel SUPER MEGA EXTREME GUILT SUPREME about this situation.

But not tonight.

Because tonight? Tonight I got a little thrill from organizing a paragraph in one of my papers that is due. I am a person who loves learning, and lately my anxiety had stripped all of that joy of my school experience, had made of it an impossible test, a loaded die made so that I cannot win. That little thrill means that maybe spending my days purposefully relaxing and trying to reconnect with friends and exercise ARE what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Not a shameless indulgence, a necessary health practice. Maybe I’m getting a little bit of what I lost of myself back.

This morning was rough. I woke up and I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. Through some magic and trickery I did, and – it does work! If you can get out of bed and brush your teeth, the next step – breakfast, work, class, a date with a friend – is never as hard as it seemed before you got out of bed. Another little trick I tried today was dares with myself. “A sad girl doesn’t make smoothies,” I dared, then smugly whipped one up. “A sad girl doesn’t do all the dishes in the sink!”. Then most outrageously, “A sad girl doesn’t wear polka dot pants!!”

I shivered and slid them on, tearing my eyes away from my very cozy sad day sweat pants.

I looked at the clock. It was just before noon. Not bad! I thought. Okay, not sad girl. Time to make that phone call to that course coordinator. It will be okay, I reasoned with myself, a sad girl would have trouble with this – but that’s not who you’re going to be today.

And call I did. But my voice came out small, confused. I was easily torn down, reading so much into the smallest remark, the tiniest hint of negativity was a dagger through me. I got off the phone as quickly as I could, promising to call back.

The anxiety was at full tilt and it was inescapable. I made phone call after phone call. Mom, boyfriend, R., boyfriend, Mom, Mom, MOM. Please call me, please, please, please, I texted my boyfriend as I shifted back into a terrible loop of thoughts, all ending in worthless. I headed to an emergency appointment with a crisis counselor in the community because I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think anything good, anything helpful.

And it helped. She’s calling me in two days to check in.

Then I had lunch with one dear friend, dinner with two others. Had cups of tea and pretended to do homework and giggled at everything.

And just like I’ve been told, feelings and actions go hand in hand. I had fun – and now I can make a step of progress towards this smelly old paper.

Everything will be alright, I remember.

So now I’ll look over this outline. Then I’ll sleep on it, and maybe have ideas for the paragraphs in the morning.

The human mind can do wonderful things, if you are kind to it.

*songza app playlist called Sleepytime Acoustic Guitar, I meditate to it, it’s got such a lovely soft rolling feel to it! Try it out 🙂