Hello! Happy Tuesday! Happy fourth day of fall!
OK. Here’s the thing: I kind of feel like I’m going insane. I wish I could say that I feel SOMUCHBETTER since writing my last post about our flea sitch but that would be a lie. The truth is, I haven’t felt this anxious in a loooooong time.
Sometimes I’m fine. Other times I’m on the verge of tears. The reality is nothing in my life is that bad. Aslan has fleas. BIG DEAL. Nothing is life-threatening. My house hasn’t burned down. My husband hasn’t left me.
Aslan has fleas. That’s it.
But that’s anxiety for you: making tiny things seem like the apocalypse since the beginning of time!
I’ve been going to therapy twice a week to help battle my mind. Yesterday, my therapist suggested I write down some facts that I can rely on when my anxiety/OCD rages out of control. So, I thought, why not write them here!? For all to see! Because maybe, just maybe, this might be helpful for you if you’re going through something similar. So, here we go.
Thoughts From Therapy
- Sure, we’re running around cleaning our house like mad every night and yes, it’s exhausting and annoying. But that’s all it is: exhausting and annoying.
- This situation is TEMPORARY. As in, this is not going to be my life FOREVER. Even though sometimes it feels like it might be.
- My life is NOT my obsessive thoughts. Several times over the past week I’ve found myself worrying that I won’t be able to enjoy different events coming up in my life because of the flea situation. This is just not rational. The flea situation is one minor part of my life.
- Take it one worry at a time–not all at once. Thinking about all the “what-ifs” at the same time is what overwhelms me. Think about each possible situation without bringing up the whole umbrella of things that could go wrong.
I feel like there were more things we went over that I swore I’d remember after the appointment was over. I should probably start taking notes.
Anyway, if you don’t suffer from a mental illness, I can see how all of this might seem excessive or silly to you.
I mean, yes, in my logical brain, I know full well that the world isn’t ending because Aslan has fleas. The thing is though when you have anxiety or OCD or depression, or any other mental illness, sometimes events that seem completely insignificant to one person, can be a trigger for someone else. And when something triggers you, it’s not really the source of the anxiety that’s troublesome, it’s the anxiety itself.
For example, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had nightmares about bugs. It’s been so bad that at times I wake up on the complete opposite side of my room and flip on my light switch because I’m so sure that there’s a bug in my bed. Then my logical brain calms me down and I realize that I was just dreaming. Bugs are a trigger for me.
So, yes, to a person not suffering from anxiety/OCD like I am, fleas might seem like no big deal, just an annoyance. To my anxious mind, they are everywhere, on everything and we’ll never get rid of them. Logical? No. But my anxiety is REAL and it takes real work to calm it down. So while one person might say, “ugh this is annoying!” on the very first day they find out they have fleas, I have to say it repeatedly every day to convince myself that that’s really all it is: annoying, not the end of the world.
I talk about this in so much detail because I feel like sometimes it’s hard for people who don’t live it to understand it. I feel like a lack of understanding is why mental illness is stigmatized in society. I say this a lot but I know that it’s worth repeating: mental illness is real and it’s important that it be taken seriously.
You truly never know what someone is going through. Even if someone’s life seems absolutely perfect, it’s important to show compassion.
I’ll admit that sometimes I feel crazy. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never get my unsettled mind under control. As someone who puts it all out there on the Internet for everyone to see, sometimes I ask myself, “what would my readers/friends/family think if they knew that sometimes my life isn’t as together as it seems on the screen?” I ask myself, “how can I possibly write here in this space and have anyone take me seriously when my mind is a jumble of irrational thoughts on a semi-daily basis?”
But then I remind myself that this is real life and this is MY blog. I’m not going to sugarcoat my life to you and act like everything is hunky-dory. Because, honestly, nobody’s life is perfect, as much as they might pretend that it is on Instagram or Facebook.
If I’ve learned anything from blogging for the past nine years (nine years!), it’s that it’s important to be real and honest in this space. I am not going to lie to you. I’m not going to throw up a recipe post with a Pinterest-perfect image and pretend like I’m not struggling. I am struggling. That’s just the way my life is sometimes. Because I have a mental illness. And it’s OK to talk about it.