All those times I told you no

Perhaps a more proper title might have been, “why anxiety keeps me at home” but we all know I like to have something that’s a little more catchy. But getting to the point, this is an apology for almost always saying no. My sadness has won. It’s won for years. Anxiety told me, no and so that’s what I said to you.

We moved here a little over 9 years ago. I had these hopes that I’d maybe left the anxiety and sadness back home with the old house and the old life. I was bitterly wrong. And despite a valiant attempt at being a social butterfly, including starting a MOPS group, I quickly lost to the monster that anxiety is. I think it started to creep back in when I got pregnant with Dexter.  I had this embarrassment associated with having a fourth. The stigma of another unplanned, but much wanted, baby. I remember when my friend Emily told me about her little Matthew, it was a relief to be able to finally tell someone, who I knew would be happy, that I too was expecting. I kept Dexter a secret for a while and when I finally did tell I felt each and every time someone looked at me poorly for adding another to my family. It was like a mounting hill of shame and anxiety seeds. A full field, waiting to bloom into something that looked like the shell I was and occasionally still am.

When my MOPS group fell apart, that probably didn’t help either. Because as each friend disappeared from my life, another anxiety seed sprouted. And when the one friend I really wanted, didn’t show up to our pizza date, I began to lose all hope I’d had to ever be apart of the social circle I’d so badly tried to infiltrate. I stopped letting people in. Even the kind Emily who kept me from feeling like I was a lost mother. I just stopped and I stopped saying yes. I made excuses not to go. I stopped returning texts. I never picked up the phone. I said no, to everything and everyone. For years.

I said no to the parties and to the play dates. I’ve made excuses not to show up.  And despite my love for shooting families, I admit, I’ve spent years hoping people would cancel but always glad they didn’t.  When I got pregnant with Dixon, I hid it for a full 20 weeks. Afraid to be excited; my anxiety stole the excitement of that baby bump. I was afraid people wouldn’t want him, they’d be upset he was a boy. That people would think I was crazy for wanting a fifth. I cried when my beloved friends threw me a baby shower. Because my anxiety told me I wasn’t good enough for a party. Thank goodness for my friends who saw my worth. Thank goodness someone loved me enough to celebrate me and my to be born son even knowing how anxious and unworthy I felt.

But even after that,  I still said no. To everything. To meals, I could have used after he was born. To help on the first day of school. To playdates and lunch dates and all those things. And people stopped asking and I felt relief but then I felt lonely and then my anxiety told me I wasn’t worth it all over again. I had regret. I have regret. For all the things I missed. For not calling my brother, for not saying my peace. For not taking my mother’s group, for not fighting for my place. I feel regret for not riding the rides, for not dipping my toes into the ocean. I regret not learning new things, for not taking the photographs, for not learning how to truly sing. For so many things.

But mostly I have regret for the no. I said no for no other reason but anxiety and self-doubt. And I am sorry. I am sorry I told you no. I wanted to go. Deep down, I wanted to go to your party. I just couldn’t. My inner worth told me I wasn’t good enough and I was too worried I might embarrass you or myself.

I won’t say no anymore. Please ask me again. Sure there may be reasons I can’t go but please, invite me again. Help me beat this monster. Remind me. Remind people like me that I can go, that I am wanted and that I have worth.

I won’t say no.

 

 

 

 

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

What I learned about church…

My relationship with the church is permanently over I am afraid. I struggled to fit in at our church in Colorado and way, way over inserted myself at our church here. And this spring, when I was desperate for some Jesus, I got shunned by a young person I valued and cared about over a person who took part in the mass implosion of my life. These people I reached to because I so badly and desperately needed saved, turned into the catalyst to the dissolution of my faith. Where I never could feel God before, I now, cannot even muster the energy to try. I feel, even at this moment, I was vilified for being angry at the person who lit the match to the fire that destroyed life. And when I apologized and begged for help, I got words like “to be fair” and “you shouldn’t be afraid” when I was, desperately afraid. As if my fears were not valid. As if the mental illness and gun ownership and narcissism weren’t enough for me to be afraid of.

I didn’t once feel the forgiveness and love Christians are supposed to feel in these situations. Sure the majority of the Christians who were already in my life gave me grace and told me that I was forgiven and loved, without judgment but they already loved me. To them, I was the fellow church goer and not the sinner the “new” church made me feel I was. As if my sin; of anger and hurt and pain was worse than this other person’s commandment sin. A BIG DEAL sin. Because I reacted in anger and hurt and pain, I wasn’t worthy of their love. Because I doubted my faith at that moment, I wasn’t worth fighting for. And that, that is why I will never, ever set foot in a church again. Because this person chose to do their dirty work in the “privacy” of their shitty Twitter and in emails and CRAP-EFFING-TACULAR behaviour in stores and cars and AT MY DAUGHTER’S JOB, this “church” didn’t see anything but what this liar told them and not once, ONCE did they ask if we were okay. Okay, that’s not totally true. Kevin got a half-hearted text and I got vilified.  Pure love there. I feel it *eyeroll*.

I’m hurt. Really hurt lately. That instead of trying to love me back into the God’s love, I got left out on the faith raft, alone. And I’ve lost it. The light and the passion I used to feel. I feel hurt and abandoned by God. As my world continues to implode, I feel hurt and abandoned and alone. Because everyone’s afraid to talk to me about it. Because it’s scary to talk to someone who is passionate and angry and wants answers.

I don’t know why I care. These people were not my friends before all this and likely couldn’t care less about us now.  I just needed to see the face of faith in someone other than the people who already love me; unconditionally. I needed to know, that outside my circle someone saw this for what it is. And I didn’t. And I don’t.  But I luckily have several, wonderful people who try to keep me grounded. I am sure it’s an exhausting job. But I am grateful for them.  I feel, every day, like they may walk away but I try to remind myself that this is just the mental illness talking, and not what’s happening. Not everyone walks away. Sometimes people even come back.

This has been a low week. Low. And even with the few and fabulous rays of light peaking through, I found it hard to put my feet in front of each other. In fact, for the first time in months, I cut a workout short and just sat in the stall of the YMCA and cried. I’d failed myself again. The one thing I have control over, I couldn’t complete. I was, I am sick but I needed that workout and I didn’t get it done and then I ate terribly and drank more than I should have, and folded up into myself.  And it’s hard to forgive myself when I feel unforgivable all the time and I don’t even know why. I didn’t do this. I didn’t.

They keep saying one step forward, two back. It’s tiring though. Because some days, like I said, I feel utter joy and then some, I feel so incredibly afraid and lost and well, lonely. The afraid is the worst. The waiting for the next thing. “Choose to be happy”, they say. I am trying and I think it’s there sometimes but I am so incredibly lost and hurt that the light at the end of the sadness is just a pin hole. It feels a hundred years away.

Mental illness is so unfair. It’s truly unfair.

My point to all this is I hope, I wish for those who are Christians in my life, if you see a “me” out there, hold her. Don’t make her feel as though there is no love for her. She needs you more than the people sitting next to you every week. Don’t get lost in the “I didn’t know what to say”; simply I am here and I am listening is enough. She needs you to show her the love of God before it’s too late. When you’re in the bottom of the pit and there is no light, a match flame might be all you need to find your path again. My match got blown out. I don’t know that I’ll ever recover.

 

 

 

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Let’s talk about right and wrong, shall we?

I worry about the future.

It seems our current leaders are already lacking a moral compass and now? We’ve got a bunch of 20/30 somethings with the same issues. I worry about the work ethics and the inability to see outside oneself and as I watch certain communities as an outsider versus an insider, I worry. And I worry a lot.

So let’s talk about this. Shall we?

This is Davis. My oldest son and the other young man is Conor. They’re good kids. Both of them. But they’re friends and I happened to have a photo handy of the two of them. This is not about them but I want you to have a visual. So, say Davis is cheating on his school work. Like all the time. And that Conor found out. And then Conor totally ignored that what Davis was doing was bad. And not only did he not do anything about it, he gave him tools to help him to continue to cheat on his homework. And then Davis’ entire world imploded. He about lost his schooling and his life. Where does that leave Conor? To blame? No, not entirely but part of the problem. The really big, big, big problem. And let’s say there were many people who knew about Davis’ little cheating problem and they didn’t tell either. Are they to blame? Nope. But they’re still part of the problem. Davis life imploded. Davis’ mother is upset that his friend knew and didn’t tell her so she could help him and everything has gone to crap. And why? Fear? Is it fear that keeps us from doing the right thing? Is doing the right thing REALLY that hard?

Everyone is too scared to hurt their friend and then, in the long run, THEY REALLY HURT THEIR FRIEND. Are you getting this? By not telling, YOU ARE HURTING PEOPLE. You are PART of the problem. You have a shitty moral compass and then to smack “Christian friend” on top of that lack of morality? Well, there you go. This is a huge problem. Huge. We should be guiding people. Steering them to do good and be good and not be self-serving little assholes who will lie about anything to make sure they get their way or not feel uncomfortable.

And let’s think about Davis’ mom here. She was the LAST to know. The last. And should have been the first. When there was an inkling of bad doing, friends should have said to Davis, “hey buddy, this isn’t right.” and if he didn’t listen? Maybe the teacher or someone like that if you felt too afraid or worried to tell his mother. But nope, Conor and everyone else just ignored the problem and in some cases, handed him the homework to copy in the shape of a theoretical house key. YOU WERE WRONG. You are wrong. Period.

I am baffled. Frustrated really with people, in general. And look, I am not perfect. I have screamed and pushed people at church services. *WAVING*, hi I am an asshole sometimes too. But I know how to apologize. Like a grown up. I know to say, “hey I did a really crappy thing. I can’t change it and nothing you did or anyone did makes that okay. And I am sorry”. That’s how you apologize. You don’t say, “hey I am sorry that I did that thing but you picked on me and so I felt entitled. But I am sorry, kind of but not really.” No. You don’t get to make an excuse to be an asshole. Period.

You also don’t get to be my friend if you sit back and watch that shit. This is what we call boundaries. Your vibe attracts your tribe. I fully believe that if the company I keep tends to snakes, they very well might be a snake too. But people like to watch the shit show, don’t they? The gapper delay is proof of that, isn’t it?  If you call yourself Christian if you call yourself someone’s friend. You are MORALLY obligated to point out to them they’re assholes when they’re being assholes. My friends do it to me. It makes me uncomfortable and sometimes I recoil but I appreciate it in the end. It makes me a better person and it makes me a better friend.

And so, there is my lesson for the day. I’m worried about our future. Worried.

 

 

Hi! I'm Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.