Naked

 

photo by Nestora Argiris

Repost from July 3rd, 2008

I spent a lot of years feeling ashamed of my anxiety. Feeling like it meant something was wrong with me deep down. Wondering if people would still like me if they knew. Even though I told my family and some close friends, I held these competing feelings of wanting to talk about what I was experiencing and also not making it a big deal.

The problem with not telling people, of course, is that it makes the anxiety monster that much bigger and higher maintenance. If it’s something you have to hide, then it must be pretty bad. And, eventually, you start feeling very alone.

It’s not the right time to talk about it, I would think. Or, I don’t want to get into it — because how do you explain that fears, which sound utterly ridiculous, feel very real in a moment of panic. And, how do you also explain that anxiety is only a small part of you, even if it tries to act big and has a flair for the dramatic?

One time I disclosed to a friend and she joked, “Well, at least you don’t hear voices in your head. . . do you?”

After having anxiety under control for a long stretch of time, I experienced a really hard postpartum after my 3rd child. Part of what brought me out and helped me heal was sharing with others what I was going through. I can’t tell you how many people stepped up and either said, “Me too” or “I get it and I’m here.” One friend said, “I hope you take this the right way, but it just makes me feel so much better knowing that you’re dealing with the same stuff that I am. It makes me feel more normal and less alone.”

Maybe there’s a gift in this anxiety after all? If we can stand psychologically naked among each other, we realize that none of us are immune to life’s challenges – And, just knowing that we’re all in this crazy life together brings us strength and makes the road all the more manageable.

Slowly becoming more tech savvy

Ok, so I’ve been a bit slow with writing lately. But when my lovely friend Patience mentioned me in her PBS Supersisters Blog (which you should check out if you haven’t already), I knew it was time to start carving out more time. If you have a moment, scroll down to the post on How Stevie Wonder Helped Me Get Through Postpartum and listen to two songs that always got me up and dancing. I bet you can’t listen with out getting up and shaking your booty – well, at least tapping your toes. Enjoy!

How Stevie Wonder Helped Me Through Postpartum

I remember sitting on the kitchen floor talking with my husband and brother, who was visiting from out of town, when “Uptight (everything’s alright) came on with that amazing horn section. It was like something switched on in my body & I couldn’t help but get up and dance.

I had pretty normal postpartums with my other children. So, I was surprised when postpartum was harder after my third baby – especially since she was a dream child. I felt overwhelmed and in my head way too much. I experienced my first ever bout of depression and my anxiety skyrocketed. For about a month I cried a lot, had panic attacks at night and wondered when I would feel like myself again. Feeling connected to my kids was never an issue – if anything, I felt like a Mama Bear, hypervigilant & wanting fiercely to protect my young. But I worried about what was happening to me. I worried about the kind of world I had brought them into. And, I wanted an off switch for my brain. The harder I tried to think my way out of this funk and sleep deprivation, the worse it got.

Dancing with Stevie became a family affair & helped get me out of my head & into my body. Many mornings, I’d set the alarm clock to wake us up to this music. At 7 o’clock the horns would begin, and even if I woke up feeling off, my legs would start twitching to move and I would get myself up to dance. Slowly the other sleepy heads who had made their way into our bed in the wee hours would begin dancing, too, and it was a party. My 6 yr. old always wanted to hear Signed Sealed Delivered & we would shout out the lyrics as we swung around the room.

As I look back on that time, now, I still remember how scary that unfamiliar emotional terrain felt. But, there were also many gifts in the challenge. Times that take you to your knees can be catalysts for opening, positive change, and surrender. Each child, it seems, helps loosen our grip on control and frees us to live more fully in the moment. And, I’ll always have fond memories of all of us dancing like crazy – the morning sun reaching in, touching us all with its golden light, inviting us to reach for higher ground.