Friday, June 4, 2010

death grip on my sanity

I have always been terrified that I'd go crazy. Thinking back to those fears I had when I was a kid, I'm not quite sure what that meant to me, but it was a sense of losing myself, losing control, losing my grip, my way, my point of view, my mind. There's plenty of mental illness in my family, some profound, some minor. And yet, it was another thing not properly explained or discussed. "She's just crazy," I'd hear about a relative and someone's torment and struggle was minimized.

And so, to this day, I hold onto my sanity so tightly no wonder it finally battling back.

It needs a break.

I need a break.

I need to accept that I'm ok and that I can't control everything the way I want to.

In fact, I can't control anything.

So much of my life has been about other people's chaos. Illness around me when I was little. Divorce. Discord. I lost more than a decade to anorexia, desperately trying to control what I could.

How horrifying, sad, tragic that I found comfort in starving myself. I was very good at it and, looking back, I think that particular brand of insanity held me together when I couldn't cope with all that was going on around me. Wow. I never thought of it that way before. Anorexia as my savior.

But now, those old behaviors don't work. I don't have a way of sticking my head in the sand anymore, of obsessing about something to the exclusion of all else to keep from getting lost in the pain. So, I have to deal.

I don't want to. I don't know how to. And so anxiety reared it's head and kept me from coping.

My life is still full of pain, of drama, of illness.

It's also filled with love, family, creativity, support.

My job is to learn how to balance the two and have faith that I can handle it all.

Deep down, I know I can.

But most of me hasn't accepted that yet.


Tony Holmes said...

You touch my heart with the story of your anxiety. Yet you know you have support from those who love you. Can you let go of the things that cause you stress and hold tight to the things that give you peace and joy? Experience tells me there is no quick fix, but when faced with anxious times search for the life-line offered by those who love you. Tell them of your fears and let them haul you away from the edge.

thelittlefluffycat said...

I offer you one of my own lifelines, anchored far back in the past but so useful today:

Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you [will] not be harmed. (Italics and bolding mine.)

From Epictetus' ENCHIRIDION. Find it here: