If you haven’t already, why not read Me, Revealed (Pt.1) first? It’ll make more sense and probably be more interesting to you as well! 🙂
It’s 2011. I remember posting on Facebook that this year was going to be one filled with excitement, new adventures, growth, and happiness. It will be my best year yet. Why, you ask? Because I’m signed up for Martha Beck’s Life Coach Training, so how could this year be anything but filled with excitement, new adventures, etc. WOW. That intention sure got lost in the universe. What actually happened in 2011 (the first half of it, at least) was the exact opposite. 2011 has been filled with panic, sadness, fear, embarrassment, anxiety, and a touch of depression. (I like to say “a touch of depression” because I don’t want to scare the bejeezus out of you too much. And it really was just “a touch of depression”.) It has been a full blown mess. An uncomfortable jumble of mess. I was wondering what the hell was happening to me. I was taking this amazing life coaching program and was surrounded with beautiful souls. Why was I all of a sudden paralyzed by anxiety? Why were these negative thoughts taking hold of my life? Why did these thoughts have so much power? Why had my trap door that let in worrisome, negative, and stressful thoughts into my mind grown so big? I’ve always had a fairly accessible trap door, but this wasn’t just your average front door anymore, it was now a 2-car garage door, and it was letting in thoughts that were taking over my life.
I should tell you that being exposed to numerous invaluable life coaching tools daily is pure awesomesauce (I’m pretty sure I stole that word from Bridgette Boudreau, but it’s a fantastic word I think everyone should use). But it can definitely bring up your “stuff”. In fact, if your “stuff” doesn’t get brought up, you should probably ask for a refund. But, you see, I had already spent two wonderful years with Master Mind-Body Coach Abigail Steidley prior to entering the world of life coach training. What was bothering me was why on earth would all of this crazy stuff be happening to me now? Why, on St. Patrick’s Day, did I start to feel a generalized sense of anxiety plague my work life? Why did my anxiety start to show up in my normal day-to-day life? Why did I start to feel so overwhelmed in social situations in which I would have never felt overwhelmed in? Why did I feel so overwhelmed so easily, period!?!? Why did I wake up every morning with a ball of anxiety stewing in my stomach? Why would my hands shake so much? Why did I not enjoy my days off anymore? Why did my fear of what people thought of me increase ten-fold? My thoughts were running ten miles per minute in my head. Being overtaken by my thoughts kept me dissociated to what was going on around me. I was so attached to my negative thoughts that I was spending an enormous amount of time in my head and not actually in the present moment with the real people that surrounded me in real time.
My days at work grew more and more stressful. I was playing the part of a dental hygienist but I was really a scared, uncomfortable girl trying to act like Meghan circa 2010 (pre-life-altering anxiety. Yes, I wished to be back in the day of my interstitial cysititis…*sigh*). My shaky hands and nervous stomach would accompany me throughout my whole day. It was like I had to give a presentation in front of hundreds of people, EVERY SINGLE DAY. I would go to work and wish that it was already 5:30pm, or that my whole day miraculously got cancelled. I would set up my room, tape my schedule to the wall, and pray that I could get through the day with maximum peace and ease and minimal embarrassment, pain, and discomfort. And if any of you know anxiety, the wishing and hoping and praying for the unwanted feelings to go away only invites them closer. I check in with my body to see how I’m doing after I say my prayer. Heart racing. Check. Tight airway making it hard to breathe. Check. Shaky hands and body. Check. Rush of heat throughout my body. Check. Alright, I was good to go get my patient and focus on cleaning off the tartar from her teeth, educate her about oral hygiene, and talk about the weather and the Canucks. Um, NOT! The only thing I wanted to do was take off my lab coat and bolt for the door. But I couldn’t, you see, I had a patient waiting for me to act as her dental hygienist who got excitement from flicking off her tartar. Repeat X 8. “I know a friend who doesn’t floss and she has excellent check-ups and not one cavity. Why do I get so many cavities when I floss everyday?” my patient asks me. “Well,” I answer, “to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t really care why you get so many cavities. All I care about is that I feel like shit and I don’t want to be here cleaning your teeth right now. Can’t you see I’m suffering here? Can’t you tell I’m one thought away from this instrument shaking out of my hands and onto your face?” Well, that is the way I wanted to respond. But the personable, responsible, and courteous me answered politely in the most un-panicked voice I could find at that moment. I wonder now if I even made sense half of the time.
When I started to wonder whether a shot of vodka would help me relax before starting my workday, I knew that something had to give. I wanted to curl in a ball with my cat and fall asleep for days. I wanted the world to pause with me and give me some time to figure my shit out. “Why, hello, depression! We’ve never met before! I’m Meghan and it’s not nice to finally meet you. I hope we don’t get too well acquainted…”
Now it’s the middle of June. My alarm sounds to tell me to wake up, paint on a happy face, and get to work. But this morning is different. I have an upset stomach and my whole body is quivering. It’s not the flu, or a cold, but I know exactly what’s going on. I’ve literally made myself sick. My body won’t take one more day of this. I panic, cry, pace, lean over the toilet, and pace some more. What do I do? I can’t go to work! I can’t go to work! I’m an anxious wreck! I keep an anxious pace going from the kitchen to the living room and back. What the F*%^ is happening to me? I wonder if I can take a combination of anti-anxiety pills to help me sit still, hold a scaler, and do my job without injuring anyone too badly. I call the Nurse’s hotline to ask. I can’t believe I’m calling the Nurse’s hotline! I’m falling apart! I’m going crazy!
I decide, with a little encouraged help, to take two weeks off of work. I spend the entire two weeks worrying about what’s going to happen after the two weeks are up. I feel miserable, confused, out of control, scared, depressed, and worthless. Ok, so now my worries of not being able to hold myself together at work are minimalized, but now the worry of not making money rears it’s shiny, green head into my life. Ugh, it really never ends.
After a confused and panicky two weeks, I decide to take the full month of July off of work to allow myself time to heal and to figure some things out. This has proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve made all year…
So, you know how I said 2011 was going to be filled with excitement, new adventures, growth, and happiness? Funnily enough, looking back on this from my hero’s perspective (the perspective that looks for the positive in things that don’t look so positive at the time), I decide that that is exactly what 2011 has been filled with. It was just wearing an unfamiliar suit and a dark and mysterious hat. It was a beautiful thing in disguise.
So please listen to me when I say this: Be careful what you wish for, because you probably will get it, but it may not show up in the same shape and colour that you asked for it to show up in.
Please tune in next week for Me, Revealed (Pt.3) where I talk about my adventure to date with more clarity than I had earlier in the year, because the fog has cleared and I can see the sun shining.