"You have anxiety." My therapist said to me a few weeks ago. I chuckled.
"No. I don't have anxiety."
"Yeah. You do." She chuckled back at my disbelief. And then she made her case and I was convicted on two counts of anxiety and social anxiety, and one count of situational depression. These weren't "official" diagnoses, just her observations.
Well crap, I thought.
Awareness is always the first step, right? And with awareness comes that awful sense of impending doom that nothing will change, that yes, things are MESSED UP in my head. And that's enough to make me eat an entire bag of chocolate covered coconut macadamia nuts I brought home from Hawaii.
My counselor suggested I observe my "congnitive distortions." That required a little research. After identifying a few that I knew were habitual thinking errors of mine, I began noticing them a little more. I've also been aware of the knot in my stomach when fear creeps in. And there may have been hours spent wallowing in my bed while my kids watched episode after episode of Sesame Street on Netflix.
"I'm soooooo depressed..." I moaned to myself.
I've mentioned it before but I am obsessive about the song "Shake It Off" by Florence and the Machine. It has become my mantra, my theme song, the soundtrack to the year 2013 in the life of Jane.
"Every demon wants his pound of flesh" Florence wails.
Ohhhhhhh demons. My demons are anxiety, depression, despair, FEAR, and they make excessive and cruel demands on me. Sometimes they seem so powerful, I feel I have no strength to face them, let alone conquer them. They suck the life out of me. They leave me hopeless and gaunt, lethargic and melancholy.
"Looking for heaven found the devil in me." She laments. My soul cries AMEN FLORENCE! I spent a year exerting a valiant effort into recovery. And what did I end up with? A crisis of faith. Everything I drug out of the closets of my relationships, all my character flaws I unearthed during my Step 4 inventory, the lack of Pete's recovery despite MY diligent endeavors on our behalf, it was too overwhelming. I shut down emotionally.
Why DOES it get worse before it gets better? I really do feel like I challenged all my demons to a playground brawl, and then panicked when I saw their tenacity, when they surrounded me like a childhood nightmare.
"I am done with my graceless heart."
She sang to me this morning as I blared her anthem on repeat through my headphones and cranked up the speed on the treadmill, determined to run the demons out of me.
"I can do this. I can overcome this."
Faster, faster, faster.
"I will do this. I will overcome this."
I am done with my graceless heart.
At group meeting the other night someone defined grace as "divine strength." There is absolutely no way I can fight these demons alone. I simply don't have it in me. I'll give this grace thing a shot. It's my last gasp.
"And I'm ready to suffer, and ready to hope....
It's always darkest before the dawn."