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.
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.
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.