The Voice

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I haven’t written anything lately. To be honest, I’ve barely opened my laptop. I’ve blamed it on being busy, moving into our house and settling in takes up a lot of time and energy. But, what about the times where I’m sitting on my sofa watching reality TV or Netflix? Shouldn’t I use that time to check in mentally instead of check out? Shouldn’t I be devoting time to the thing I promised myself I’d do? The thing I promised everyone else I’d do? I should but I’m avoiding things again and this is why.

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I hear It, The Voice, in my head hushing the part of me that craves vulnerability and truth. It whispers, “Keep your thoughts in here, you’re just going to embarrass yourself.” And, I listen to It. I obey It. But, occasionally that whisper turns into a roar. “Don’t text your friends back, they don’t care.” “Don’t hangout with anyone, you’ll probably end up doing something stupid.” “Avoid this place and that place, you’re going to run into somebody you know.” “You’re this and you’re that.” “Do you listen to what you say? It’s all humiliating. You sound like a fraud.”

“Normally it takes a few tries before I’m able
to curb the air hunger but it always, eventually, happens.”

Often I wake up in the middle of the night and tip-toe to the bathroom. I go and sit on the edge of the tub, sometimes for a few minutes and sometimes for an hour. My chest feels heavy and I force myself to yawn in hopes that I’ll get a satisfying breath. Normally it takes a few tries before I’m able to curb the air hunger but it always, eventually, happens. And then, I sit a little while longer trying to quiet The Voice in my head that’s yelling over my own thoughts. It reminds me of all of the dumb, selfish, mean and embarrassing (real or not) things that I’ve done. I slow my breathing. I inhale those memories and I exhale forgiveness and rationality. At least, I try to. When my chest feels lighter and my hands feel steadier, I tip-toe back to my bedroom always making sure not to wake up my husband.

On nights when Its feeling particularly vicious, It doesn’t remind me of the things I’ve done, It reminds me of the things other people have done. Those nights are the hardest. My skin crawls and I feel phantom hands. The Voice changes and I hear other people. I tell myself that I’m stronger now and they can’t hurt me anymore. They taunt me with, “Yes, we can.”

“I hate that It prevents me from engaging, building relationships
and functioning like a “regular” human being.”

I hate The Voice. I hate how It doesn’t just happen at night, but during the day too. I hate that It prevents me from engaging, building relationships and functioning like a “regular” human being. I hate that It keeps me from fulfilling the promises and goals I’ve set for myself. For example, this blog. But, the thing I hate the most is that I am at such a good place in my life and yet, The Voice is still there, in my head, trying to control me.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you feel Its hands obstructing your airways. Maybe It makes you wish your skin wasn’t your own. Maybe you hear The Voice too but you call it by Its name; Anxiety.

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I’m sorry to say that I don’t have an epiphany or a soft and sappy ending to share. But, I’m also not sorry because that’s life and not everything can be resolved that quickly and peacefully. When I started this blog I made a promise to tell the truth and to share my life and experiences how I see and feel them. That’s important to me because I was once a teenager who needed to read real-life things. I needed to know that someone out there felt how I felt and that I wasn’t as alone as I thought. My support system was small and people often gave me sympathy when what I needed was empathy. So, to whoever is hearing The Voice right now, I understand. I hear it, too. You are not alone.

– Ashlee

  • Haki_User

    “Maybe you hear The Voice too but you call it by Its name; Anxiety”. From the rest of the post, I think it’s PTSD. Which is basically a form of Anxiety too.
    “people often gave me sympathy when what I needed was empathy” This one hits hard, I know the feeling. Apathy is better than sympathy for me.
    Bad Memories can’t be forgotten, sadly, anything we go through gets stored in our subconscious. Bad and good memories alike. However, the good news is that while bad memories cannot be erased, they can be replaced.
    For instance if the source of the bad memory is a bad person in a past relationship, a good relationship with a better person will little by little erase the bad memory of the bad person.
    If one had terrible experiences with friends, have been betrayed, lied to or any other bad thing. These experiences can be replaced by creating new friendships, if the new friendships are good then the old bad memories and the anxiety is squished.
    The hard part about it is, well, you have to be vulnerable once again, you have to expose yourself and take the risk of having another bad memory. Well that is possible, but the idea is that you never give up hope. After all if you close in in your shell the bad people who caused you the bad memories win, we can’t let them do that can we? There are better people, better experiences, and better chances waiting ahead of us and we only need to take the initiative and believe, “This time it will be better”, we must have faith.
    I’ll tell you that a very large chunk of people are literally incapable of feeling empathy, so they can only give sympathy. Empathy is when someone is able to see things through your eyes, you talk to them and tell them about your suffering and they feel the same unease you feel in their chest, and when you finish you look them in the eyes and see how hurt they are, they have literally been in your shoes and lived everything you told them you went through as if they were you. Now, that is a very rare human quality that we cannot expect all people to have. It is very pure, a bit rare but empaths are there for you, and you will meet them I am sure, and they will definitely ease your pain.
    Actually I am a logical person myself and have a very empathic friend, no matter what happens to me it seems that I feel bad a little then I convert to reasoning mode, when something bad happens I tell my friend over the phone, I manage to forget about it in an hour or so, then the next day when I see him at work he looks all tired, I ask him why? He says he didn’t sleep yesterday because of what happened to me! 😀 After a while I stopped telling him “intense” bad stuff, only light stuff, because he suffers for me more than I do for me, if that makes any sense.

    Accept my passing, Haki_User from r/ADHD_Anxiety.
    PS: You have an amazing husband.