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Have you ever been pushed to the point where you just want to put a match to a relationship? The first one to burn that bridge right down? I think it’s the hardest thing to do as an adult, especially one with extreme anxiety and panic.
I have had huge shake-ups in my life since the first of the year.
- My entire career depends on the internet. The internet has turned toxic.
- I found out family and certain friends don’t respect me as much as I thought.
- I learned that opening parts of yourself to others is as dangerous as I thought it was.
- I turned 40.
To some, this may just seem like small bumps in the road, but to a person like me, they are Mt Everest. Honestly, turning 40 wasn’t bad. It felt freeing. Something occurred around my birthday, though. It was literally a line in the sand for me. I realized I take too much crap. I realized for way too long I have let other’s opinions of who I am define me. I too have a voice, I have just chosen for it to be a quiet one. These people don’t really know me. Not one bit. I am not normal. Normal is boring. I give a lot of myself to people. I am empathic, overly empathetic and a people pleaser – to my detriment. It took me until I am forty to frickin’ realize this. My husband has been telling me this for years.
Don’t tell him he was right ;-).
Burning the Bridge.
I have had people just in the past two months do irreparable damage to our relationship. These incidents triggered my anxiety/panic in a way it hasn’t been triggered in 5 years. These are people who I have always backed loyally. Even when they were so wrong it hurt. I have always been in their corner, would drop anything for them and protect them to my fiercest ability. They did this because their life isn’t great and they saw me as their whipping post. Jen can take it. She always does. Nope, not this time. They damaged our relationship over their warped perception of me. The election has changed me, they say. I guess to a point it has, but not in the way they have stated. I have never and will never be someone who conforms. I do not like when people try and push their ideals on me. I make up my own mind. I do not like being pressured to agree to something. It makes me so uncomfortable. People LOVE how outspoken and blunt I am until it doesn’t go along with what they are saying. My mom was awesome and described it best: I haven’t changed, my bulls*t meter is just maxed out. So, I made the decision to burn that bridge. It had to be done. Contact has been cut off.
I will admit to being a little off balance in the beginning of the presidential primaries because I was shocked at the behavior of people I had respected and loved. I found my balance though which was, as it always is, in the middle. For the record, I didn’t like either of our candidates. I am a conservative liberal. I hate that I even should have to say that or that people think they have a right to judge me based on my politics. It’s nobody’s business. I had to make a safe list on Facebook of people I knew were SAFE, that know how to debate as adults. How sad is that? I had to put my entire family, short of a few that I know I can trust, on a different list than my friends and colleagues. There were all out wars on my Facebook profile. I feel like I can’t trust anyone anymore. I saw plenty of posts that people posted on Facebook that I was appalled by but you know what? I scrolled on by. That’s what you do as an adult. Politics and religion don’t define a person. It’s a polarizing thing. I try as hard as I can to separate the people in my life from their political opinions, but you can’t anymore. It’s really depressing.
Learn to see a person as a whole. Not just as parts.
What people claim what they are doing is “just questioning” things or stuff you believe or state in a public place like Facebook, it can be an all-out assault. Especially if they become “that person” who you know is going to come flying at your posts with links or information about what you are expressing. I do not post anything unless I know it to be true, have looked it up and check sources. I learned a hard lesson about that. I can post that I am miserable, failing at life, am drowning and I get like 4 or 5 comments. Post a link or make a comment that doesn’t have to do with a cat and I get 2,000 opinions. I have literally felt held hostage at points. Does it make sense to everyone? Probably not. Not everyone processes things the same and not everything is up to debate. I feel like some adults, as of late, need a lesson I taught my kids at a very early age. If someone feels a certain way and expresses it, they don’t need your opinion unless asked. Sometimes they just want to be heard. You don’t always have to be right or press your ideals on someone. See that person. See why they are saying it or feeling it. That’s the hardest part of being a person with extreme anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t have rules. It doesn’t fit in any box. It usually doesn’t make sense. It’s never logical. So as a person with anxiety, you can empathize just feeling something.
When you let a certain part of you out and are attacked for it, it makes you crawl right into your shell. Good does come out of it, in my opinion. You see who truly cares about you. You see who really has your back. It weeds out people who aren’t really invested in you as a person, but more of what you can do for them. I am not a perfect person, I have cracks. I need people in my life who don’t give a crap about those cracks. I was so lucky in finding my husband early in my life. He sees the cracks as parts of me. I wouldn’t be me without them. I am not easy when I am at peak anxiety. I know this but he doesn’t care. It hasn’t always been an easy road. It’s taken him the length of our marriage so far to learn how to navigate me and it’s been the same on my end. We have grown together and I could not imagine my life without him. My husband and my kids are my favorite people in the world.
And the healing begins.
Out of the wreckage of the last two months the past year, I have found who needs to stay in my life and who just needs to go. My anxiety is out of control. My health and work have suffered. I allowed people to hold me hostage. I am proactively taking steps to get myself out.
- I crank up my music when my mind or other people get too loud.
- I was referred by a friend to sign up for BetterHelp, an online therapist site. It was a great suggestion. It’s not face to face so I can think clearer and give clear answers to my therapist’s questions. It’s the first time I have felt the therapy working.
- I am writing. Not just this post, as cathartic as it is, but in a journal of sorts. I get all my emotions out on paper and then burn the page. Symbolically allowing myself to let it go.
I am working on allowing myself to crawl back out and rejoin the world. I am working on getting my health back on track. It’s scary and painful. I can’t control others, I can only control me. It’s going to have to be enough. I want my 40’s to be about me and my family. Not juggling others. They can juggle me for a while.
Have you ever been through this? What helped?