Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wild Purple Irises

My session yesterday went much, much better than the previous one. I felt like we were communicating, I didn't feel defensive, and when she reiterated what she felt like she was hearing, it didn't sound like it came out of left field but that it was still something new for me to consider. So, I am going to see this month's appointments out and see how I feel about the therapist. If I am still ambivalent in a couple of weeks, then I am going to go therapist shopping. I deserve it, yes?


The past couple of weeks have been , well, exciting as well as a total relief. What has surprised me the most, in "coming out" to you and to others in my life, is the realization of just how much damned energy it took to hide this from so many for so long. (Not the least of whom, myself. DUH.) I feel so fucking REFRESHED, like I just woke up from a perfect, cool nap on a spring afternoon.

It has been exhausting, finding excuses to avoid everyone and to so carefully perform this version of myself for everyone so as to not be found out. I am simply, genuinely, tremendously exhausted. I was so terrified that everyone would find out that no, I don't have it all together, no I not on top of everything in my life -- hell most things in my life -- and that I just generally feel like shit. If I did work up the energy and courage to engage with anyone, then I put massive amounts of energy into "faking it." Not faking my personality - what you see is what you get, there. But faking the togetherness, the energy. (Which, I have done poorly. Fantastic!) Sweet geezuz, that energy could have gone into so much else.

Why do I have totally ridiculous, utterly unattainable, achingly cruel standards for myself that I do not hold for others?

For the record, I do not, and never have, thought that others who suffer from depression and anxiety are somehow less, lazy or broken. I reserve those mean-ass judgments for myself. If anything, I've always felt tremendous compassion for people suffering from this, and always thought they were so brave and courageous to get out there and live their life.

So, mcuh of the work at hand is to see why I felt like I had to hide. Why my first instinct continues to be to hide, to put up a wall, a mask, or any other cliched defense mechanism at the slightest fear someone might FIND OUT. Find out anything and everything. Find out that I am depressed and having a bad day or freaking out because of what (to others) is an irrational fear. Find out that my house is not clean. Find out that I don't know as much as I pretend to about The Thesis topic. Find out that I beat the shit out of myself for not knowing more about said topic and that I have a constant running commentary in my head telling me I should know more, I should read more, I should study more, I should, I should, I should... Find out I am not as smart as I want to be, as smart that I used to think I was. Blah, blah blah.

Find out that I am not the person I want to be.

Find out, I am not entirely happy with the person I am, that for whatever reason(s).

Which brings me to the next super awesome realization as of late: I carry guilt with me about EVERYTHING. I need to just ban the phrase, "I should..." completely. Holy hell, that phrase has is killing me.

Overwhelmingly, I felt guilt for being so "lazy." I felt guilty that A. had the unfortunate luck to fall in love with such a lazy, worthless person. I felt guilty for being such a difficult person to live with. I felt guilty that it took so much energy to engage with people. I felt guilty that I couldn't remember to floss everyday. I felt guilty if I didn't remember to have lunches ready for the week. I felt guilty for hating to fold the laundry. I felt guilty, I felt guilty, I felt guilty.

I only realized recently (with the help of the therapist, so not all bad, yes?), I felt tremendously guilty that I was well, lying, to everyone, people who mean a lot to me, just in an effort to hide, to receed, to disappear.

Unfortuntely, that last paragraph does not exist solely in the past tense. Again, lot of work to do.

But, with this incredible weight lifted from my shoulders, I feel ready, willing, and yes, grateful, to bear the burden of this work. To dig in. Turn the soil over. For myself. For my family. For my friends. Yes, yes, yes. For myself.

Let us see what we can unearth and grow, shall we? Maybe I will find some lovely wild purple irises...


  1. I find this very inspiring, and I know that sounds silly. But I do. I have much unearthing of my own that I would benefit from but DAMN that shit is SCARY sometimes. Sometimes you set out to help yourself, and you end up helping the world... or so I hear. (Ever read the book Eat, Pray, Love?)

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey! I admire your courage and am hoping for lots of wild purple irises for you.

  3. Oh, I am MISERABLE to be so behind that I have missed these. And so sorry, my friend.

    This is LOVELY, and YOU are lovely.

    It's so hard to be real, isn't it? WHY? Me too.

  4. It is miserable to be experiencing mental/emotional anxiety and then fel fear on top of it that someone might FIND OUT about the anxiety or sadness. I have been there. Both times I had babies, a few months later I found myself irrationally terrified about some random thing or another all. the. time. Like I could barely sleep. But it took me months to talk to anybody about it because I felt so ashamed that I wasn't as "together" a mom as I wanted to appear to everybody.
    I'm so glad you have reached that coming out point yourself, and that you are unearthing the real you. Happy spring!

  5. Wow, you've really been carrying a heavy burden. I admire your courage for being so open about this. I'm sure it will be therapeutic for you to be able to talk about it, or at least be real about it, both here and in your everyday life. Like Tess, I often suffer from being "unreal".

  6. "I need to just ban the phrase, "I should..." completely. Holy hell, that phrase has is killing me."

    Even though this may have been just a passing thought, I think it's a great idea. We should all find a phrase that we destructively overuse and ban it from our lives. God, we'd be so much happier just with that step.

    Your words on guilt really hit home for me. I can't tell you how many times I've felt guilty for the relationships that I have, and sabotaged them so that the person wouldn't have to be around such a loser anymore.

    Keep it coming, I'd love to hear all the new insights you learn as you figure out who you want to be. I'm excited for your (admittedly difficult) journey

  7. Thank you for another superb post. Keep it up too, cuz judging from the other comments it seems to be helping us all as much as it is helping you. I know you have given me lots to think about.

  8. *hugs hugs and more hugs* i can't imagine how difficult it must be to deal with all this stuff in the first place, but you are so brave to share it all with us on top of everything else. hooray for you :-)

  9. Sorry, late to the party to say that I am so impressed by your obvious strength and grace that is evidenced in every single word of this post.

    I also wanted to say that I wonder how many people go through this in graduate school? My husband nearly went off the deep end when he was trying to finish his PhD. I heard a lot of what you wrote above come out of his mouth (not nearly as insightful or cogent, of course, he IS a science geek after all). I've watched academia grind the soul out of several amazing people.

    Anyway, what the hell am I saying here? Thank you for sharing. Seriously. And hang in there. You are heard and seen here.


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