Saturday, September 5, 2009

just another day at the office

I know you have all walked much of my emotional journey with me this past year, so much so that you must be sick of it. Yeah, yeah, Melissa; you're crazy, we all know it, now you feel tons better but still struggle sometimes, we get it!
But I have to say AGAIN how much I lived in the grip of anxiety before, and how much I notice it in contrast to the freedom I live in now. Not total freedom. Not effortless freedom, either. But glorious, nevertheless. I slept again last night before a day shift, without anxiety. The only things stealing sleep from me were Riley's little fish mouth hunting around for milk in the dark, and the fact that we got back late last night from my mom's place.
Before, I had these common fear themes, neurological loops that had been travelled like well loved paths in my brain so many times as to be effortless, familiar, and comforting. Germs, social awkwardness, confrontation, loss, trauma, death, car crashes, SIDS, fires, disappointing people, being late, being dirty, losing a kid in a crowded or public place, sexual assault, ecological collapse, worsening of my mental illness, death of a child, maiming of a child, or somehow, someway, getting it wrong and feeling I should have known better. Just to name a few. Since I have noticed these themes, I have been able to combat them with more balanced thoughts, and suddenly, after several hours of writing and sorting out one theme, and several days of practicing thinking in the new pattern, I am free from that neurological loop. I am free from that fear. Or guilt.
The energy I used to put into anticipation, prevention, worry, anxiety, and just plain old mental imagery of what death, loss, trauma, and etc would look like, I can now redirect. To SLEEP, to myself, to my kids, to my husband, to some fun hobbies like crochet and painting. Seriously, I feel so free. And I am very, very grateful. I feel happier now than I can remember, unencumbered. Thank you, post partum anxiety and depression treatment group, thank you, friends and family, thank you summertime, thank you Jesus.

Oh yes, and work was fine.


Tamie said...

I do not get tired of you, or tired of hearing of your freedom, or tired of hearing of the difficult days. I love you. Thank you for being so open-hearted.

Jen said...

So awesome, Mel. I wanted to say thank you for responding to the email I sent from my friend requesting your personal experience with overcoming anxiety. I wonder if you wouldn't mind sending me what you sent her? I know you've already shared a bit about it with me but I'd love to read what you shared with her. I can relate to the unreasonable thought-loops at night - especially the night before a shift and I seem to relate to some of the other things you have described as being ways your anxiety manifested itself. I would like to try and overcome some of the same tendencies toward anxiety and fear in my life. I am so happy you feel so free. What a remarkable blessing!

Sylvia H. said...

Dear Mel,

I am so happy for you that you feel better...I love you and you are in my prayers! Sylvia Huang (now I am in Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

Rachel Clear said...

Mel, I am so glad you wrote this. I think it is AWESOME to hear when people are actually winning - actually beating something, or being delivered, or thriving, or however you see it. So often, we forget to follow-up. Hearing that you dealt with that sort of crippling anxiety (for good reason, too) and that you are doing well does my heart SO GOOD. I am currently in the heat of my own little bout with anxiety and I can't really explain how happy it makes me for YOU and how peaceful it makes me for ME to know that, day by day and bit by bit, you're living without it. So, thank you.

And on another note, I'm almost bummed that Tamie is making her way to Canada because I loooooved the idea of you coming down here! That would be so awesome, and I'd already be thinking the exact same thing.

I need a few things of yours to rub off on me, see. One is your fertility! The other is your ability to kick anxiety's ass! (Look at that... I hate exlamation points and you just inspired me to use TWO).

Lots of love to you.