This past week, I was hopeful about beginning to make some positive shifts in my life. About trying to focus more on the joys of life. I had some glimmer of the sort of energy and zest I used to have. Unfortunately, that didn’t last. Instead, I found myself in a state of overwhelm, to the point of having an anxiety attack on Monday - which hasn’t happened in over a year.
I know from that, something is definitely not going right. The whole rest of the week has proven no better… my mind will not seem to turn off. Constant racing about all number of things from the pressures and expectations of being a step mom, to the stress of trying to “get somewhere” with my business that never feels like it’s getting anywhere. The nagging stress that having some extra money would really help Mike and I out, and the pressure I’ve put on myself to try and find all sorts of ways to bring that in… none of which have panned out really so far. I guess sometimes we don’t even realize how hard things are getting, until we hit the wall. The wall for me, is anxiety.
I know, when I start to feel anxious for no specific reason at all… something - or more likely a lot of somethings - is amiss and it’s time to stop everything and evaluate. Even just typing about my anxiety is making me more anxious right now. I’ve also felt a huge amount of sadness… one that I cannot even pinpoint the origin of. Which scares me. Even with Drew’s death, I was never depressed. I was sad, and angry, and in agonizing pain. But I never fell into what I would consider a depression.
But this… this feels like what I imagine depression must be. I can distract myself for 5 or 10 minutes from the sadness by doing some kind of activity. As soon as that activity comes to a close though… the sad feeling seeps back in. For someone who’s never had a struggle with depression, I’m not even sure if that’s what this is, but it does seem like it. It is certainly nothing like anxiety.
I’m fairly certain it’s related to a combination of things… essentially so many areas of my life feel stressful right now, and where I used to have a whole family of close friends nearby to support me, they are no longer a car ride away. I feel very alone in this new place I live and - aside from Mike - it truly feels most days like not a soul for miles around gives a shit about my well being or what I am up to. Partly I am guilty for not putting myself out there more, or being more open with the few friends I have made here. But it’s damn hard to open up your vulnerable stuff to new people. Mike is always supportive, but I need more than just my partner as a support in this life. I think, I suppose, after 2 years of living in this sort of isolation, it is finally getting to me pretty bad.
One thing that oddly did help me to calm down yesterday, was remembering darker days. Remembering when Drew had died and I felt this way every single day. Every single moment of every day. I felt terrified, constantly, and in a state of low-grade anxiety for the entire first year after he died. It’s a little scary right now to feel what feels like being in that state - and to not have it related to one certain thing I can pinpoint. But it also feels good to remember, you’ve been here before, Sarah. You’ve been worse actually. And you know you made it through that… you know that you made the choices to find support when you needed it and you helped yourself to dig out of that dark place. And you can do it again, but it’s going to take some effort.
I do know I can do this, but that doesn’t make it easy to be here. It doesn’t make it easy to push myself to reach out to other people. Especially when all the world thinks that my life is so happy and perfect and beautiful because I have found a new love. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even have permission to be sad anymore, for any reason. Like nope, you have a new partner and a little girl now, there’s no room for your sadness anymore. I’m exhausted from trying to look like I have it all together.
I know a few things that will help though. I’ve learned them from other dark times. I need to build a sense of community around myself no matter how I do it. Even if it means doing so on Skype with my closest friends who live far away. Even if it means finding a counselor here to unload some things and help me focus on some positives. Or hiring a business coach to help me find my focus and stop going in too many different directions. Next week, I plan to do just that. Reach out, in at least one of these ways, and commit to making it better. That’s the first step.