I have started seeing a therapist for help with anxiety and trauma and a phobia from which I have suffered since my son was born.
My last appointment was Monday and I woke-up Tuesday feeling better upon waking than I can remember feeling when waking up in years. I thought it was because I had spent the previous evening playing Minecraft with my husband and brother. And, while I still believe that the time I spent with them was definitely part of it, there must be something else going on as well, because I woke-up the same way today.
I woke-up feeling like life was before me, I was excited to embrace the new day and see what it had to offer. In fact, I rose in such high spirits today, that I got out of bed and did some yoga before getting my son up for the day.
And, as I was going through the breaths and the movements, I remembered that this is how it always used to feel. I used to enjoy waking-up, thinking about what experiences I might have today, eager to get up and move and stretch.
One of my constant complaints to my doctor for the past 2 years is that I am always waking-up feeling exhausted. I wake-up feeling like I’ve been through a war. We talked about doing a sleep study, and sleep apnea, etc. But, that never really felt right to me. My gut instinct was that this kind of issue was not the problem. It was something else.
So, what changed?
I’ve been heard. Finally, someone seems to be hearing what I’ve been trying to say for years.
I live in a state of trauma, panic, fear and uncertainty all the time.
I’ve been able to openly express the darkness that has lived deep within me; this turmoil that I pour all of my energy into suppressing so that it doesn’t affect those around me. It is a constant battle for control, for peace, for patience and it takes every fiber of my being to keep it all in-check.
No wonder I am so exhausted.
Having been able to share the things that terrify me with someone who is able to really hear what I am saying without me feeling the need to shelter or protect her has made all the difference. I have been heard. I have been able to share my burden, fully, with another person. This act, alone, has lifted some of the stress from my life that has been tearing me down.
I was in a similar situation when I was a teenager, I was depressed and really struggling, but I was terrified of how I felt and found it difficult to share the actual depths of what I was feeling because I had this need to protect my loved ones.
I thought I was expressing my concerns, I thought I was asking for help. But, when things hit rock bottom and I ended-up in hospital having overdosed on medication, all I kept hearing was ‘we didn’t know it was this bad’ and ‘why didn’t you tell us?’ and ‘why didn’t you ask for help?’
I thought I had.
I thought I had been speaking out, asking for help, trying to express how scared I was about what I was feeling. But, no one heard me.
And, for the past 2.5 years, it has been happening again. I have felt as if I have been constantly asking for help, trying to get people’s attention and expressing my concerns for how I was feeling, but never really being heard.
I am learning that, one of the reasons for this (perhaps the greatest reason) is that, because I don’t want to scare people, or cause them distress, when I express my concerns they are done in a way that is protective. This means, things can come-across as less critical than they actually are. I throw things out there and hope that someone will pick-up on my cues and say ‘hey, I think there is, actually, something really massive going on here that she’s too afraid to come right out and say’ and then they will swoop-in and rescue me.
I am working on this. I learned that in the OCD ‘world’ one compulsion that can happen is the need to protect the people around you. We often see the stereotypical wash the hands ‘x’ amounts of time, do this act ‘x’ amounts of times, have a specific pattern for getting out of the house, etc. I had no idea that ‘compulsive caring’ was, actually, a disorder.
Don’t get me wrong—I have definitely felt it was for years! It is EXHAUSTING feeling like you are ALWAYS responsible for how EVERYONE around you is feeling.
And now, there is someone who has seen this in me and understands the depths of it and how much it affects my day-to-day living and I am already starting to feel whole again – just because someone listened.
It’s so incredible to be heard, isn’t it?