After recently confiding to a friend that I’m having trouble expressing myself through my blog and the written word my friend offered me some sage advice – “get out of your way”. I don’t think he could have said anything that was more profound, yet simplistic, to me while still being the entire solution.
I have been in my own way. In many areas. That is the curse of Anxiety and PTSD. The memories that overwhelm me at inopportune times. The dread I feel going out in public. The ever present “what ifs”. What if I embarrass myself by having an anxiety attack in public? What if someone steals from me? Hits me? Hurts me or my kids? What if I see someone who hurt me or the kids in the past (this dredges up horrible feelings for me, I lose the present moment and am sucked back in time)?
It can be painful, this what-if mindset. However, I am the only one who can break said curse (with my support team of course, Dorothy didn’t walk the yellow brick road alone, I’m not doing this journey solo either). With their continued support, and a lot of effort on my part, I can change my mindset.
The “curse” isn’t the only thing holding me back. There have been many things happen in the past few months that have lead to my most recent bout of “turtling”.
Turtling – the act of protecting oneself or hiding from others by going into a “shell”
In my case, turtling often involves self-imposed silence as well as isolation. I will cut myself off from the outside world. Not only do I not allow outside influence in, but I inhibit myself from influencing the world (maybe I should teach an online course : Living as a Hermit 101 – it’s easier than you think!).
As you can well imagine this is not in the best interests of my mental health or that of my children (any mental health professionals who are reading this are all vigourouly nodding their heads in agreement).
By turtling I am inhibiting my continued growth as an individual; both as a human being and a person who suffers from mental health illnesses. When I cut myself off I lose myself in my own mind (I’ve been there, it’s scary, I need to put up some Do Not Enter signs). This is dangerous. Like stepping in quick sand, I get sucked in and cannot free myself. The more I struggle the worse it gets. Thank God for my friends and loved ones who come along and won’t allowing me to sink in the mire that is my inner world.
There have been some very valid reasons for my turtling in the last few months. I’ve been dealing with some issues that I am not at liberty to write about it. When I find myself unable to speak or write about one thing I become obsessed with speaking or writing about that one thing to the point of being unable or, more appropriately, unwilling to focus on anything else. Another friend suggested I journal about that topic, thus freeing my mind to think about things that I can share (it’s amazing how the most simple solutions elude us when we become obsessed with a single thought, isn’t it?).
This was such a freeing recommendation. I will be journaling this week about said topic thus freeing my mind for blogging. I am very behind in my blogging. I am pleased that I have kept up my Sunday Funnies and Wednesday’s Random Ramblings. Having that commitment has forced me to stay with my blog and I am grateful for it.
Since having that commitment seemed to help me through my slump I have decided that adding another committed day of blogging may be the proper solution to my blogging dry spell. I am adding Fridays to my blogging calendar. For the next little while, Friday blogs will consist of the stories I am behind on (Alexi’s graduation from Grade 8, Rian’s new diagnosis, etc.). I was thinking of calling it Flashback Friday, but I do think one alliteration title per blog is enough (I do love a good alliteration though).
It’s so important for me to remember (probably for all of us, actually) that although my friends and loved ones can help me up and offer their love and support I am the only who can choose to stand on my own two feet when the world knocks me down.