Anxiety is ostracizing.
It’s not something you can always see happening, coming or developing. Somedays you just wake up and see it for what it is.
For me it’s extremely ostracizing and deeply painful. I shy away from social interactions, being around people other than my family unit… sometimes even my family.
When you are able to see it and recognize it, then becomes a secondary battle of digging yourself back out again. When anxiety becomes your ‘normal’ sometimes you don’t even realise it’s upon you. There have been events in my life of late that have been detrimental to my self-esteem, mental health and family time. The cycle of being used and abused re-occurring and me seeing it but frustrated that I didn’t break the cycle sooner. To be fair, four months was far quicker than two years this time.
This time I stood up for myself finally, but the events that took place afterwards were still just and impactful as the first, second, fiftieth, hundredth time of the abuse that came before. When someone sees you as an ‘easy target’ for their own personal gain and work you like a pro, sometimes you don’t see their actions as wrong or bad. It often takes someone on the outside to question what’s happening or flat out show you evidence to the contrary of your perception. This time it was a matter of being paid for work I had done in expectation of future payments; but it not happening. Previously it was a matter of one sided friendships, before that it was ‘friends’ using us for a holiday, before that it was something else and something else on repeat, over and over. It’s exhausting.
There is a breaking point and repeat abuse and anxiety do not mix.
There are days I have wondered if my family are better without me. The mental torture can be unbearable and the inner dialogue is vicious and it LOVES to torment. To the outside world everything looks fine, just a little quieter than normal and distracted. Friends are busy with their own lives so it goes a miss quite often, just that you don’t show up, you’re “too busy” for them. It wasn’t until a recent weekend I stood in front of my husband and tried to form the words around what I was thinking, feeling and internally destroying myself with. I could get out three words; broken, torn & hurt. From there, he was able to ask questions and I was better equipped to form sentences around the irons holding me down. I have been working on this shit solidly for the past 12 months yet something had triggered me back into myself. Retreat. Flee. Try and be ‘safe’ again.
It wasn’t until I spoke to my mentor about it and true to his highly intuitive and timely nature, he sent me this article:
“There was an idea that as you healed, you would feel less. That as you awakened, the emotional spectrum would narrow, into some safe, consistent, happy, resolved calm. But you are seeing that love continues to ask you to feel more, to hold and metabolize the full-spectrum of a broken open world. There was an old hope that as your heart opened, the vulnerability would diminish, the shakiness would fall away, the tenderness would yield… but you are more raw now than ever before.
There was an old belief that as you deepened on the path that you'd be more detached, untouchable, not care so much about others and the world, resting as the great “witness” beyond it all, in some safe, constructed place of observation. But somehow, everything and everyone matter now more than ever, in spontaneous, unexpected ways.
Something new is being born inside you, but something else is dying. Rather than prematurely forcing rebirth to emerge, turn into the uncertainty, the contradictions, and the purity of the death of an old dream. For it is here that the womb of new life is to be found, where the raw materials of resurrection are woven into being by the Great Weaver herself.
While this level of trust may be disorienting to a mind longing for resolution, the body knows… the heart knows. Trust in the fires of disintegration. And the birth that can arise only from the ashes of that level of grace.”
There were so many parts of this that settled the fires inside and for the first time in weeks I heard myself think ‘oh, yes, that explains a lot’. “There was an old hope that as your heart opened, the vulnerability would diminish…” and “Something new is being born inside you, but something else is dying…”
I think it’s important that when we talk about the discovery of self, that it’s not all shiny rainbows and care bears because it isn’t. I work every day to be kind, always… now more than ever, to myself first. It’s NOT an easy battle and as you read above is often fought in some dark, dark spaces. As those spaces begin to die, they find a glimmer of pain to hold onto or a trigger of a recent event and they will play that out like a band on a sinking ship. Hoping you will hold onto that pain and continue living the way you have been for so long. My advice after these past few months is to find your person, that one person you can turn to and voice it. Let it out in whatever form you need to- text them, write it down, pick a few words revolving around your mind and allow them space to ask you about what’s going on for you. Allow yourself to deserve love. Be loved. By voicing your anxiety it shines light into those dark spaces and you will often hear those affirmations needed to help rebuild yourself. Remind yourself why you are the amazing human you are being.
If these words resonate with even one person reading this, I hope you find peace in your beauty and the love that surrounds you, even in your most painful of days. Most of all, know you are not alone.
Julie Clyde is a Creative Artist. Her company, Julie Clyde Creative, leads the charge of brand design internationally for entrepreneurs and creates unique artistic pieces. She is a brand disruptor, public speaker, brand motivator, artist, wife and mum. She's a passionate entrepreneur and sees this variety in her life as the zing for what drives her creativity. Julie's blog series 'Discovery of Self' explores how you can learn to love and accept who you are from the inside out.