Like father, like daughter

This past weekend by birthfather and stepmother came to spend some quality time with my husband and I. I’m very close with the both of them, so I was quite excited to see them after two years finally. When my father and I had some alone time, he tried to pry me open as is tradition. He thinks that I don’t open up to him as much as I should when in reality he’s one of the few that I run to when I need help. He takes my lack of conversation to heart, so I am very blunt whenever we have these talks to show him that I’m never afraid to open up to him.

 

Back in November, we had a minor spat over an issue, and my solution was to back off to cool down for a few days. I’m lucky that he understands that I need this, but I also have to be sensitive to the fact that he does not appreciate it. He would rather open the wound fully to bleed out than patch it. I don’t blame him but whenever I get overwhelmed it seems like the most viable solution for me. He asked me if I was OK at this moment, and I was happy to state that I was. However, the tears started to flow as I put myself back in my situation in November: how overly stressed I was at work, how my husband’s schedule didn’t align with mine and the financial hiccups that I had to endure.

I apologized to him as the tears continued, I reminded him that I couldn’t stop them sometimes and to know that I am happy at this moment.

“I know – I suffer from the same thing, too.”

Those words have been echoing in my head. I’ve gotten nothing but encouragement from them since I’ve started this blog but hearing that validation almost turned those tears into a full-on waterslide. There have been tiny moments since our reunion that truly made me feel as if I were a part of this family and I can add another one to this list. I had a family member that UNDERSTOOD why I was crying. I got up from my chair and buried my head into the neck of my dad’s – I continued to gently cry as he whispered in my ear “It’s OK, it’s all OK.”

He has no idea how long I’ve waited for a father to say this to me

I pulled away and wiped my tears, thanked him for bringing me down and continued our conversation. No more tears fell, and my anxious flashback seemed like it happened hours ago. Even though it was a short visit, we had much other heart-to-heart’s and of course some sneaking father advice. It’s reassuring to know that the way I feel comes from my father and it makes me calm knowing that I’m not alone.Happy Personality with Heavy Soul

Where do I put my hands?

A little over a year ago, a friend of the family came to me with some advice knowing that I was struggling. Automatically, my guard went up. I started to become defensive about the situation and chose to ignore what she was saying. I politely asked her to leave my house, and without hesitation, she agreed. When she left, I went straight to my husband asking what her intentions were and all he said was “Andrea, she was just trying to help, can’t you see that?” When I looked back on the exact words that she said, her demeanor and how she approached me with caution I felt sick to my stomach. She was utterly genuine, and I was an ass by choosing to deflect as I’ve grown accustomed to over the years.

no idea how to respond

I apologized the next day profusely to her and thanked her for being concerned. I couldn’t believe that after years of therapy that I was still struggling to put my guard down. One of the techniques used in CBT Therapy is to catch yourself in an automatic thought before you react to it. I was upset at myself up over not being able to do it in this instance. I know that it’s only normal and it will most likely happen again, so, I try not to let it affect me as much as usual (easier said than done!)

Do you ever find yourself confused over a compliment, too? I do when it comes to something personal. Take for example this blog, one of my aunts came up to me recently and told me that my mother would have been proud of me for starting this. I stood there in a daze. With a little whisper I managed to say “Thank You” and my cheeks flustered. When you always talk yourself down as I do, it’s hard to know how to respond to positivity.

Akward when someone compliments me

When I thought about it more that night, I wish I could have said more to my aunt; to thank her for thinking of my mother, the kind words and how I too think she would have been proud. (Seriously, thank you, Susan)

My anxiety will never entirely go away, and I’ve come to accept that over the years. I do wish that I was a little better at receiving help or getting a compliment, though. I can only hope that over time it will get better, but in the meantime, I feel like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.

 

I’m Tired

Whenever someone asks how I am my usual response is “I’m tired.”

This tiredness isn’t because of a long day at work, or not getting enough sleep at night (although sometimes it does add to it). It’s usually from the constant battle of anxiety that pulsates through my head telling me not to speak up because I will annoy those surrounding me.

Some days I can fight that voice, but often than not it’s hard to find the strength to ignore it. I want to word vomit how I am feeling

I’m burnt out; life is overwhelming right now, I’m mentally exhausted.

But my anxiety will send my mind spinning telling me that no one will understand, so I resort to the short version of “I’m tired.” I can be in the same room as people that I’ve known for years, whom I trust dearly, but I won’t over divulge.

It’s exhausting having that voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m weak, that I shouldn’t expect much and nitpick away at everything that I do. It makes me feel less of a person, and I think everyone can see it. It makes it easy for me to cancel my plans because the thought of being around people would be too much to handle on top of this.

I refuse to let my anxiety control my life any more than it has. Even though my mind rushes at a mile a minute the moment I wake up: I still get out of bed, I still prepare for my day, and I still go to work. All I want to do is go back under my warm blanket with my husband. (I can make a living like this, right??)

I push through the discomfort of my day so that I can turn my dark thoughts into positive ones. I ignore my thought of “everyone is judging you” and force myself to be productive. Always trying to be one step ahead is tiresome. I feel like I’m constantly trying to get out of my comfort zone and never feel truly relaxed. Yet, I try. I try so hard and put in so much effort.

The days when I do find the courage and strength to speak my mind amaze me – how can I be so brave when other days I let it consume me? These are the days that I realize people with anxiety are the strongest because we never have a minute of peace. I’ve been called “Strong” before, but I don’t feel it, I have a tattoo as a reminder.

Ani Hazika
Hebrew for “I’m Strong”

The next time someone says “I’m tired” try to understand that they might be struggling with something deeper. Maybe they need words of encouragement, a shovel to dig them out of a situation or just a simple hug saying “It’s OK to be tired.”