I’ve been sitting on this post for quite a while now, trying to determine as to whether or not I should publish it. Today is the day. I do so in the hopes that maybe someone out there reading this will connect to it, and this might make their lives seem a little bit easier, a little bit lighter.
Do you ever have one of those days where things seem to take about ten times their normal effort? Everyone does at some point, whatever they say to the contrary. I’m going to come out and say that I have these kinds of days sometimes. I’ve had them since I could remember, even when I was little and really had nothing to worry about. But I did, and that’s ok.
I once asked my most optimistic friend what she does to keep herself that way. She revealed to me that she has days where she struggles as well. Days where she literally sits down and asks “Dear God, why are people so shitty?” and for the subsequent strength to deal with all the regular turmoil of life. I’m not particularly spiritual or religious, so I envy whatever seems to gets her though the day. Sharing experiences with other people always seem to help me with mine. It’s that odd glimpse of recognition, maybe the catharsis and the humanity of it all that makes it more bearable. I’m going to share some things about myself that I hope helps someone else the way other people’s’ struggles have helped me.
When I was seven, I struggled with OCD. Not the “Must. Turn. Off. Light. Switch. 55. Times” kind, but the kind that makes you feel like the world is a terrifying place that will snatch the things you love away from you at any second. These are notably heavy thoughts for a second grader.
I became afraid of everyone and everything during that moment in my life. Not because I thought they were “scary,” but because I knew that the world was a constantly changing place and that nothing I could do ever do would stop it. I felt the oppressive and obsessive need to collect little mementos in an effort to remind myself of the fleeting nature of life. In retrospect, I can attribute this realization to the death of my favorite teacher at the time. I realized that everything around me was in constant state of moving and changing, and my little brain imploded. I couldn’t articulate what was going on in my head to the people around me, because I couldn’t even begin to grasp it myself. All I knew is that I didn’t want change, because change could potentially bring about an awful, gaping maw of sadness. I never gave myself the chance to see that there were good things, brought about by change, too. One day, this oppressive fear stopped. I’m not entirely cognizant what it was that helped me, but I remember that there being a feeling of a huge weight being lifted, and I felt like a kid again. Being an intent little reader helped me escape some of my bigger fears, but I also think discovering dance played a huge role in my recovery. To this day, I turn to these things.
I’m not going to get into the whole neuropsychological aspects of it, but problems like this don’t ever entirely go away. They’re a chronic illness, and like addiction, you can recover from them, but it is very much a process requiring maintenance from time to time. Unfortunately I have a predisposition for these kinds of things, and have subsequently struggled as a young adult with disordered eating, depression, and anxiety. I was, at one point, a certified basket case. In fact, I’m pretty sure my psychiatrist had to officially write “chronic basket case” on my files.
Nevertheless, dear reader, after almost a year of nothing, I wandered out of my house one day, looked around and went “This isn’t so bad.” I wandered out and about the next day, and thought the same. And the next. And the next. A day at a time I managed to heal myself. Mind you, bad things did happen, and are going to continue to happen, but that doesn’t mean that I’m content to sit around and let them happen at me. That control that I was so desperate to have in my life, the control over other people and things, manifested itself into the control I have over myself, in an odd way. I’m going to reiterate some of my previous thoughts and say that being content with one’s life isn’t a matter of circumstance. Everyone has something in their lives that they’re not happy with. Like taxes, those aren’t fun. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and show some gumption- not only will you be proud of yourself, but you’ll figure out how to be happy, too. And have your taxes done on top of it.