Breaking the Silence

I’ve been quiet.

I want to be inspiring, I don’t want to be depressing.

So I’ve been quiet.

Silver linings and tales of courage are great to share, but thanks to my tribe I’ve been reminded that, above all my goal is to be authentic.

I’ve been judging where I am, and it’s been keeping me silent. If this blog is about my journey, then this is part of it. I can’t edit the scary parts out of life (though a girl can wish), so how dare I try to edit it out here. That clearly was not my intent when I started. I lost sight of that for awhile, but I see it clearly again now.

I understand if this sounds redundant, I’ve written about learning this lesson before. Apparently learning something once and writing it down doesn’t mean you will never forget or need to relearn it. From what I’ve been told this is a common trend, so I suppose there’s value in being openly repetitive.

I could chose not to share the darkness with you, stay silent, but this would only push me further from my values, and the more I think of why, the more important it becomes to speak up. If I give you half the story, cherry pick what truths to share, I might as well be writing a fairy tale, disguised as non fiction. And it makes me shudder at how harmful that could be. I know your story and my story will be different, but if there’s a part of you struggling, and my story depicts this rose-tinted view, it could leave you feeling more alone. Instead of pain, struggle, and setbacks simply being part of the journey, just how it is, we get the impression that they are indicators that we have failed.

iceberg

I think this happens far too often in society; where “I’m fine” is the only socially acceptable answer to “How are you?” and status updates and instagram photos show the bright shiny stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with sharing happy things – it’s just the other part, the stuff we don’t speak about or share – those missing details are distorting the picture. It’s an environment that fosters misconceptions of how life is; “Everyone else is doing great. Why can’t I be that put together? There must be something wrong with me”.

I realize now that my silence only perpetuates this and I regret it. I 100% believe that it’s perfectly okay for people to not be okay, which is why I’m finding my voice again.

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So, this isn’t going to be upbeat or particularly inspiring, it’s just going to be real.

Panic attacks ruled my life in my late teens/early twenties. I couldn’t go into stores, I was afraid to leave my home, to eat, to socialize, I was even scared to fall asleep – I wasn’t living, I was existing- and I was hardly doing that. Though anxiety and the occasional panic attack have stuck around over the years, I have not experienced the all-consuming debilitating panic since then – until this past month, that is. I feel like I’m stuck in a nightmare, being visited by the ghost of panic past, and I can’t wake up.

If you know me well, you will know that illness is a huge panic trigger for me. I panic about getting sick, I feel sick from panicking, and feeling sick makes me panic more. Lately I seem to always be sick or and panicking. I feel stuck in a vicious cycle of panic and illness and it’s leaving me drained and hopeless.

I feel myself slipping into old habits and mindsets, and even though I can see it, it’s hard to stop. I feel stuck. I try to reason with myself, but the fear that this will never pass is overwhelming and way too convincing in my heightened state.

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At these most desperate times I am grateful for my tribe.

I can’t stress enough how much difference healthy tribe makes. Having people who support you, whole-heartedly and non-judgmentally. They offer much needed understanding and compassion, “me too”s, as well as insight and encouragement. They help light up the darkness. No matter how weak I feel, I always feel stronger after connecting with healthy tribe.

There’s a resistance I feel at these times though; this belief that I should only connect with others when I can at least end my story with “but I’m okay” or “I know I’ll be okay”. I don’t think I’m the only one that feels compelled to end things on a high note; we’ve become accustomed to this. Is it pride, not wanting others to feel uncomfortable, fear of rejection, fear of being a burden, not feeling worthy of compassion? My guess is that all of those play a role. The problem of course is that the times when it’s the hardest to reach out is when you need people the most. We need to push past those fears at times like this, because our tribe is there for us, but we have to be brave enough to let them in.

holetribe

The dragon is an anchor that keeps me steady through storms; but my tribe are lifesavers in the stormy waters, for the times when my anchor slips and I find myself drowning.

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I’m treading water, I’m not okay, but I am still kicking.

11 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence”

  1. I see stars in your darkness, and rainbows in your stormy days. You, my dear, are a brave, authentic, and beautiful dragon/soul – don’t you dare let anyone convince you otherwise.

    Try not to regret your silence on here (you have shared in other ways). Everyone processes things at a different speed, frequency, and intensity. The only thing that you have perpetuated is my ongoing admiration for your strength and determination. Keep those feet kicking, chin up, and eyes open. It’s okay to not be okay. In fact, it’s human. <3 xo

  2. Sorry to hear you are in stormy waters, but know that calm seas are in the near future, you just have to hold on. Just know that you are so courageous to expose yourself to the world on your journey to healing, your are an inspiration to us all, love you lots!

  3. I, too, am lacking the words lately (although that was beautifully put, lady!). Right here with you. Always proud and inspired by your posts. ❤️

  4. Your post is beautiful and so are you. The amount of authenticity you give in your writing honestly astounds me. It also gives me tears simply because I can feel what you are experiencing in your writing. I wish I could send help, a life jacket, or a hand, because you give to others so much. Thank you as always for your writing and your honesty. It models for me the cyclical nature of dealing with anxiety, and helps me know that negative patterns I have experienced and my moments of set backs are not just unique to me. It therefore helps me experience less judgement towards myself for when my issues become larger than normal in the past and present. So thank you for that. Please know that you are not alone and that your tribe is here to listen when you are experiencing your own moments of past anxiety in the present. You are doing an amazing job. And the great thing that you have taught me, that I hope you can remember is that you may be visited by old habits of anxiety, but that does not mean it will stay that way and does not undo all the work you have done. You have come so far. Let the moments of anxiety this last month happen and exist, find peace with that, and then continue on your way. You are doing so well and do my need to feel that you are defined by these moments of anxiety. For you my dear are so much more.

    1. Seashines, I can’t thank you enough for your beautiful words. The love and compassion I feel through your message is overwhelming. It means so much to me that I have your support and that in some way my sharing has helped you with how you view your own experiences with anxiety. Everything you wish you could send, you’ve already sent ❤️ Don’t doubt for a second that you are one of my treasured lifesavers.

  5. Wow, thank you for your honesty and your being you! It is so true that we want to end on a high note. I suffered anxiety in the last month–something I had not experience to this degree in almost 40 years so your authentic self helps me understand my own going underground–being silent. Thank you for that. It is so hard not to judge ourselves rather than taking our knowing as feedback. Thank you for that reminder as well. I am really glad you are finding your voice and recognizing that it is perfectly okay not to be okay. That gives me and others permission to be okay with not being okay. You are some powerful truth sayer! Finally thank you for the reminder of healthy tribe, putting a perspective on the value of letting them in. I appreciate you striving to live your values and am grateful for your courage to write this valuable piece!

    1. Noreen, Thank you so much for the encouragement about being open and authentic, and not okay. Also, thank you for sharing your struggles with me as well; I’m sorry to hear you’ve been battling anxiety lately too, it’s certainly not an easy road, and I send you much love and strength. I have found this mantra has helped in times when it all feels too overwhelming. I have been there before and am there again........its painful, but I must remember this too shall pass.” alt=”Breathe” />

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