Today was a tease. I’m going to get really real right now and let you know that today tricked me. Tom and I went to bed last night excited for today. Sunday was going to be a big day. Our big boys were spending some time with their grandparents so that we could work on shop orders, it was going to be mid-50s, and we all were healthy and felt well for the first time since the beginning of the month. We had big plans.
I woke up feeling like a boss. I even put my workout gear on like old times to get in a quick weight session before getting the day started (which never happened, but I like to dream big). My to-do list was long, and I finally had time to start checking off items. I was going to rock today.
And I did, at first. I hummed along the morning, working on projects and getting computer work done. I kept up my resolution to drink lots of lemon water, only munch on vegetables, and not eat simple carbs. I was killing it.
And then, just like that – I wasn’t. The day soured like the sippy cups forgotten under our bed. I sat down when the boys came home around 3 and things just kind of fell apart. My anxiety, which I usually manage pretty well by keeping up a frantic pace, reared up and clutched my face in a vise: Lie down, feel sad, and eat everything that isn’t nailed down, she said. So I did.
That, of course, only spiraled my anxiety, and I spent the rest of today battling to get back to that happy place I left this morning.
That’s what anxiety does, you know. If you have it, you will be shaking your head knowingly and in empathy at my words. If you don’t, then hopefully you stopped reading after the first paragraph because I don’t feel like spending time explaining the mysteries of anxiety today. Maybe some other time when I don’t feel so tender.
Tender is a good word for how I feel. Anxiety is mean and fickle. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me (I don’t think?) that I am introvert. My profession as a teacher belies the part of me that cringes when my phone rings or I have to go somewhere that isn’t a relative’s house, but teaching is completely different. Standing in front of my peers or my students is the best version of myself that isn’t always around in my personal life.
The more people who I meet, the more I realize how pervasive anxiety and its close friend, depression, are. It makes me wonder if it’s always been like this, women and men both, just always battling these inner voices quietly and silently while presenting something else to the world.
I know these mental illnesses are not new by any means, but I do wonder about their pervasiveness in our culture now. It seems to me, who freely admits to knowing next to nothing about this field, that a hundred years ago, there was just…less. Less of everything. Less social media, which tells me everything I don’t want to know about violent crimes committed, less TV news showing me the disasters of the world which keeps me up at night, just less knowing about everyone else’s life. For someone like me, who likes to share and connect, this is a paradox. Without social media I wouldn’t have met some of the most supportive friends I have seven years ago when we were all pregnant and in a forum for moms. Social media connects my family and lets us all see each other and our kids when we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. But there’s the other side of the coin, too, and it makes me wonder about the effects of all this knowing.
There isn’t a profound answer in these thoughts. There never is. Just a messy reality that I share, with some hopefully like-minded people. I never did get back to the me of the morning, and it’s probably not going to happen tonight. I’m watching the Oscars and eating mini pies from Trader Joe’s and telling myself my favorite refrain on days like today, “Today was not a 10. But tomorrow can be.”