#lismentalhealth week is over, but the struggle continues for the millions of us who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and the all-too-often co-occurring addictions or vices to self medicate or manage our illness.
Last week I was caught up in the rush of being productive. I was proud of my progress in checking things off my list, an addiction for me. Too often, I measure my value by the tasks accomplished. Today, despite having taken a weekend truly off to recover and replenish my reserves, I am faced with another too-long list of things to do. And I remember why that measure of worth is dangerous. The list never gets shorter, only longer. And my anxiety is high. My anxiety takes many forms, but most often it feels like high tide at the beach, threatening to destabilize, knock me down, set me adrift in an ocean of uncertainty. It feels like…
I can never do enough
I can never be enough
I will never do things well enough – work, being a wife, being a mother, being a daughter
being scared of my own ideas, that they are too big, too ambitious and fearing that my failure will be enormous
being overwhelmed by too many decisions
I’m tiny in a world of giants
it’s my fault that I feel this way
I will never be able to conquer this feeling
When the tide rises and my anxiety threatens to sweep me away, I close my eyes and breathe until I feel the earth solid beneath me, supporting me just as it always does. Then I read Karen Maezen Miller or Pema Chodron or Thich Naht Hahn to remind me that we all suffer, we all feel alone. In this we are together.
It’s hard to write about my anxiety in a public forum. But it’s even harder to hide it.