The weather has been crappy and cold. It feels more like the Antarctic rather than the USA. I have been feeling a little overwhelmed and tired. I would like to get out and take a walk. I would like to sit on the front porch and bask in the sun. I would like to pretend that this depressing and oppressive winter is gone and spring has arrived....but it's been negative 18 all day so that plan is out.
I am a positive thinking person. I haven't always been this way but as my mental disorder slowly and methodically ripped everything away from me, I decided to hold onto at least one thing that it couldn't take away....my attitude. I struggled to remain hopeful, I battled to look for the silver lining in everything, I fought to be positive in the face of that soul shattering desolace that was left behind after my OCD had taken a firm hold over my life. For me, being positive wasn't a natural disposition as much as it was a choice. A choice to refuse to let OCD make me miserable in spirit as well as in life.
I am always hopeful, always looking on the bright side, always reaching out to help. I am just wired that way through my personality but also through choice. I don't want to dwell in the land of negativity that I once lived in. It is a harsh unforgiving place. Cold and dark and depressingly lonely.
I want to walk in the warm fields, feeling the grass beneath my bare feet. To feel the sun warming the air around me and smell the crisp scent of the earth renewing, regrowing. Starting a new. I long to feel the cool gentle breeze through my hair and on my skin, giving me goosebumps from the sheer joy of it. I want to sit on my front porch with my husband and a warm cup of coffee and listen to the world wake up one bird song at a time. Hear the trees rustle. See the dawn break in it's magnificent pinks, purples, reds, and oranges. And I can't do that because it is the middle of one the coldest winters we have had in years. And it frustrates me.
I long to write prose and stories and my blog posts and not fear that my words will be turned around against me or be turned into something I did not say. Something I did not mean. Something I am unaware of. I long to write and not have to second guess what my posts might mean to others and if they will be taken at face value, as they should be. Because I always say exactly what I mean and if I don't write it, then I don't feel it. I long to write freely, unabashedly, unbiased, and most of all like I used to. All of this second guessing has made me deal with writer's block and I, as all writers do, detest writer's block. And it frustrates me.
I miss the calmness. This year I am going to be doing things that I need to do but inadvertently make me extremely uncomfortable. I am going to be going farther in things that I have ever gone before and it scares me. Terrifies me, really. But they are necessary for me to learn to be more independent from others and more independent from my mental illness. Small things that everyday people take for granted but haunt me like a reoccurring nightmare. This year my resolutions are small, seem petty, and to normal people would seem quite silly and juvenile. I am going to take small bus trips around my old town so I can learn to take the bus....by myself. Something I have never done before. Go somewhere alone and unprotected. I am going to start small like the library I used to go to years ago. That way, if I miss the bus I still know where I am. It is all my idea and all of my own accord to want to do this. I want to learn to be more self sufficient before I turn thirty five. I want to be able to go do things and stop missing out on life because I can not drive. I want to be able to go to my own doctor's appointments or take my children for ice cream and not have to wait til my husband gets home or call the plethora of family members to see if they can make time to take me somewhere. I want to be more free from my anxiety and fear. It's daunting and scary and it feels like I am years behind in this journey. Like I am a child. Like I am inadequate, somehow. Like I am just learning how to walk again. And it frustrates me.
I am going to be working on visiting friends. Actually going out and visiting them. Something I never do. That would mean taking the a fore mentioned bus, going out of my comfort zone, making sure I am on time, and letting go of the control I have weaved over my life like a thick woolen blanket. A blanket I originally wove because I thought it would make me more calm, when in reality all it has done is make my socialization become stagnate and allowed it to smother me. A few days ago, an old childhood friend that I recently reconnected with said that we should meet up sometime and shoot the breeze. I answered enthusiastically and got really excited at the possibility, but the voice in my mind laughed at me. "Yeah, sure Nelly. You, go out and actually leave the house....alone....to meet up with friends? Bahahaha that will be the day." I realized the voice was right. I have never gone out with friends alone without them or someone else driving me. Never felt comfortable with giving myself permission to do so and worse yet, never given myself the responsibility to try. My best friend lives less than thirty minutes away from me and although we talk on the phone often, I haven't seen her in over a year. I could make excuses, she works a lot (and she does), she is busy planning her wedding, she has so many things to do....but the truth hits me like a ton of bricks as I write this. I haven't seen her not because she doesn't have time for me, but because I have allowed myself to become unable to visit her. It's not her....it's me. I have allowed myself to become home bound on a strategic level, not because I have an auto immune disease that makes going out risky or because I have lost both legs from stepping on a land mine but simply because I am too scared to do so. And it frustrates me.
The things, illusions really, that I have clung to in my life that make me feel protected have in many ways, bound me to my illness. Some would call them excuses but I would venture further. I would call them crutches. Crutches that I used to think made me feel safe and secure. Crutches that held the anxiety at bay. I used to feel comfortable being shut up in my home. I used to be fine with just being how I am. I told myself that many times, but deep down I was just scared and maybe a tad bit ashamed. Ashamed that I am so very afraid to try new things. Ashamed that I let the OCD take away my ability to be more independent and free. Ashamed that because I feel anxiety, I have never learned to take the bus before I hit thirty five years old. That I have never went to the grocery store by myself and bought what I needed alone. That I have never just went across town for no reason at all by myself. That I have not allowed myself to explore the world, the library, the book store, the local restaurant, my friend's homes without being with someone else to share it with. That I have left out that part of getting to know myself that way. I mean, yes I know myself, but I don't know how to go anywhere alone by myself and I think that might be the biggest tragedy of all. That I have allowed my pretty house with all of it's comforts to become my sanctuary, my security blanket, and my prison all at the same time. I have allowed the OCD to do this to me, and worse yet I willingly participated in this event. I forgot how to fight it, or not fighting back became a habit, or I was too exhausted to try, or even that I simply allowed the fear to take over and I stopped trying all together. As I write this and look honestly at my life and the pain OCD has caused me, I am aghast at how far I stopped being who I truly am. A fighter, a positive thinker, a warrior of my ow mind. And it frustrates me.
I could dwell and sink myself into the self abuse pattern that many of us know so well. A part of me wants to. A part of me wants to blame myself and paint my misgivings and failures in big red letters across my chest like the proverbial Scarlet Letter but instead of an A for adulteress it would be a huge S for Scaredy Cat. A part of me wants to punish myself for all of the things I should have done by now but have allowed the fear to prevent me from doing so. But what would be the point in that? I have already suffered by not doing those things in the first place. Why punish myself twice for the same crime? I mean, I have a mental illness but it doesn't make a masochist. I don't enjoy suffering.
So, I am going to go with the positive approach. Not because it easier, it's not. It is always easier to stay in the familiar pattern of self abuse and self blame. We are comfortable there because we are used to it. I am going to not only not punish myself for not doing the things I think I should be doing but I am also not going to keep holding onto the old excuses and faulty crutches that keep me from doing them. It will be uncomfortable. It will be scary. It will be utterly terrifying in some cases, but I am no longer going to allow my freedom to be stolen away bit by bit by my OCD. I am going to get through this and slowly take back my life piece by piece. Yes, I am starting at an older age and I am relearning how to do things most people do on a regular basis, but they are not me and I can see the silver lining. It is better late than never and I am going to learn how to be more free, more independent, and just who I am without the comfort of my stifling security blanket that I have weaved around myself. I am going to write and not second guess my words. If someone wants to believe that I wrote something else than what's on the paper, then it's their problem. I have nothing to do with that. I can't change other people's minds. I am going to learn how to give myself responsibility for how I get to places and give myself permission to do so. I am walking out of the prison I have built for myself with pretty wall paper and comfortable furniture. I am going to seek adventure and not let fear keep me back. I am going to take that damn bus and learn to like it, or at the very least not be afraid of it. I am going to go to that library, and the store, and yes, my best friend's house. It is going to be hard but I am going to slowly learn to trust myself finally, one step at a time. One day at a time. One bus ride at a time. I can do this. I have to do this. I am going to do this...