when i'm sad, i crave cupcakes. so i made some today. and i have to say there's nothing like biting into that perfectly round, moist, delicious chocolate cake. coconut pecan frosting is my favorite, so it always adds the correct finishing touches to my cupcakes.
i like the smell of them cooking. the look of them on the counter cooling off. the taste of the coconut and chocolate.
everything about cupcakes is soothing.
i was talking to a good friend of mine this past week. i had just gone through an upsetting situation and wanted her views and advice on what had happened.
while we were talking she brought up an interesting point. something i had learned in school but forgotten. she talked about how as students we are taught to address our clients as the person first, the disability second.
(ex: this boy has autism. not - this is an autistic boy.)
as i have seen patients in my career, i have always remembered that i am first working with a person - a human - someone with fears, pains, emotions, victories, and life in them - secondly i am working with the disability they have.
while i was listening to her, it became very clear to me that at this point in my journey, i CHOOSE to be defined by my disorder because finally after YEARS of not knowing, after years of keeping it all in i have validation :: my known “normal” no longer has to be so.
because with a name comes understanding – or at least a reason. i believe it is very important to see beyond the disability to the person - and in my case i don’t feel like i’m not being seen. in fact i feel like i’m more seen because i have a word and a way to deal with what i’ve been given.
a disability or disorder doesn’t have to define you but for me i feel like in so many ways it has created me. i’ll allow for environmental influences and relational influences – but until you live day after day with the crushing, consuming weight of anxiety you’ll never know what ‘being defined is’.
one day i wrote out my feelings like this : 60% of my life is anxiety is; 20% is me taking care of me; 10% is work; 10% is church.
i say this because beneath every new situation, every walk into familiar stores, every moment where there are people, there is anxiety. there is fear, there are thoughts, there is ‘fight or flight’ and panic, and sweat, and the battle to keep it all under control and not have a seizure or run away screaming – and the push to deal with it, be in a group with people, and be well.
CASE IN POINT :::: yesterday. i'm at a friend's baby shower. i’m doing good. or so i think. i’m in the moment. but there are people i don’t know. conversation that needs to be made. decorations that need to finish being hung. and i’m H-O-T. and as i've talked about before heat triggers my anxiety response.
so i start sweating. and i keep sweating. even after i’ve sat down. and am sweetly listening / participating in the conversation. but the sweat continues. i want to run. ...what to do what to do...
a thought enters : remember, your counselor has said you can go to the bathroom, warm your hands, cool your face, and take a minute to calm everything down.
OH HELL YA!
so i go to the bathroom – without even making excuses to anyone. and i just take the hand towel there and get it wet and wipe my face. i don’t care what people will think about that wet corner. sweat is sweat. too hot is too hot. i cool my face and neck. i pause. i look in the mirror, breathe deeply and suddenly i could function again.
i knew i was still going to be hot out there so i allowed myself to get a fan. i didn't spend time worrying about the thoughts of other people : "oh she’s fat that’s why she’s hot ... ugh look at that sweat on her temples"
Note to Self: letitgo. and pump that fan.
i took care of me and my anxious response and was then able to calm the heck down and enjoy my time there.
me embracing me has not been easy. but i am beginning to be much more comfortable in my 100 degree skin.
at this time in my life, I choose CHOOSE to be defined by my anxiety. because in reality it is a choice i can make. finally i have something to identify with. yes, that’s it. it gives me a sort of identity. an explanation. an excuse if i need it. and i’ve wanted that for so many years.
maybe one day i won’t want that. and i have the confidence that at that point i’ll be able to change the definition of me.
but until then I AM AN ANXIOUS GIRL.
not a girl with anxiety.
*and this is ok*