Letting yourself be seen in truth, with your secrets and flaws out in the open, is downright scary. I’ve prided myself in operating under the radar ever since episode III. As long as no one could pull me out of a crowd or a class or an apartment as the one who is struggling with a mental illness than I was a success. I was blending into my fellow classmates and kids at the football game and in my ward at church. If I lived up to everyone’s expectations, if I did well on every assignment, if I fulfilled my calling, if I did everything and checked all the things off my list than I was okay. But there came a point quite recently where I had to give up my camouflage and speak out for myself, even if it was the last thing I wanted to do. I had to make the choice to take this semester off and come home to rest and recover and get well again. The truth is I really had no other choice because I somehow have gotten so miserable. My body feels like it’s falling apart as my mind whips up the latest and greatest ailment that I must have, I wake up in the morning with an elephant on my chest and wake up in the night gasping for air. The idea of doing mostly anything, especially the things I love, could bring on any form of an anxiety attack. All the while, for the past month and a half since I left DC, I have this dark cloud of stress in my mind that feels like, well it’s honestly very hard to describe. It feels like panic, it feels like I’m in danger but have no place of safety, no where else to run. It feels like it’s impossible to plan fun things in the future because I’m worried I’ll never feel well again.
But I had a respite this weekend watching the Women’s Session of General Conference at the church with my mom. Sister Carole M. Stephens shared a story in her talk that truly left me in awe because I had never come into a church meeting and had an example been oh so close to me. It might as well have been about me and my mom! Her story was exactly what I needed to hear, and especially what I needed to hear. I’ve had a feeling of peace since then, a calm feeling I haven’t felt in awhile. Of course tonight the anxiety came back, manifesting itself in a twitchy jaw (try that one on for size) and shallow breathing, but I felt clarity. I felt the Savior’s love so strongly and my confidence in His power grew. I know that he’s already carried our burdens, my burdens so as impossible as it may feel to believe, I’m never alone.
I’ve been praying and hoping all along that this certain time in my life has a purpose, is part of a loving Heavenly Father’s plan for me to lead me to a happier and healthier place in life. But I still have to go through it. I still have to fight through my feelings everyday. I still have a cornucopia of fears, but fears I’m praying to be replaced with hope. I’ve always been a person who wonders the why of things, who plans ahead and who has always been determined. Now everything has changed, and I’m learning slowly (through therapy and mindfulness, mind you) to accept the uncomfortable. To identify my feelings and accept them. I’m hoping the time will come when I can let those feelings go, but for now, here I am.
And here I am thinking and pondering and wondering if my lifelong trial will have a purpose, that I can be a light somehow. Even though I’d much rather return to an imaginary world where my brain has a precise and predictable forecast and I can hurry onto my next life plan to achieve total perfect Megan status. But for some reason, something beyond me has slammed my breaks and the only choice I have is to take it slow, to somehow find a way to let my brain rest while simultaneously hunting for any solution that will take my funk away. (Brain funk, not my innate funkiness.) All I know is that I’m in a somewhat foreign life limbo, even though I’m in my own room on my own bed. I just hope this blog post finds you well and that you know what brings you joy. I’m still rediscovering that for myself, as my new goal is to “find what brings me joy, not just what provides a distraction to what I’m feeling.” Wish me luck.