One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was allow myself to fall apart. No strings attached, no guarantees.
I’m sitting here and I can feel myself shaking. I’m stumbling over the lines I’ve rehearsed and trembling as my eyes avoid the glances of strangers. I can’t make my lips form the sounds that I’m trying desperately to expel. It’s a thief. It’s stealing the words from my mouth. I’m completely flushed, yet I feel as though I’m on fire with every nerve in my body bouncing back and forth, passing judgement side to side. I’m seeing myself outside of myself and I know this is not who I am. It shouldn’t be this hard.
I didn’t realize I was biting the inside of my lip, pressing my nails into my hand and twisting my fingers. I quickly bring the water to my lips and it chatters against my teeth. I’m trying frantically to steady my grip with laced fingers that are too tight to come undone and sweaty palms that are clenched together as my leg continues to tap to an unspoken beat. It sounds like an echo that has been stretched out for too long. I’m still sitting here but it feels as though I’ve melted into this seat. I’m stuck.
It’s pins and needles. It’s the kind of adrenaline that you could pass out from because your heart is racing just as fast as your thoughts. It is feeling like everyone is staring are you, yet at the same time feeling completely invisible. It’s a feeling in your stomach and tightness in your chest. It’s every muscle in your body cautioning you against whatever is going to happen next. It feeds off what-if’s and caters to your doubts. It’s all or nothing.
It’s more than being nervous, it’s different from being upset.
It’s the magnifier of a molehill. It’s the tantalizing thoughts that keep you up at night and the recurring dreams that wake you up, again and again, reminding you that they’re still there. It’s working yourself up into a panic with thoughts you can’t control and emotions that run rampant. It’s feeling everything so intensely and still feeling numb. It’s like being enslaved in a prison that only you have constructed for yourself. It knows all your insecurities and the worst time to bring them up. You see, it’s the loudest voice in the room and it’s playing on a loop, turning tables faster than you thought were possible. It demands to be heard, and it commands your attention.
I say it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because in that moment it is entirely your choice. Do you fall apart and allow yourself to be put back together, or do you keep falling?
A little while ago I found Robin McGraw’s message about a bow ring. I used to think it was silly and I never quite understood how tying a ribbon to your finger was going to help anyone remember anything. But my perspective has shifted.
The nerves in your fingertips, the same nerves that dance in a line of uncertainties, are routed back to the portion of the brain responsible for memory. The notion of tying a ribbon to your finger is about associating brain activity with memory. Aside from being a visible reminder, it’s about gaining some control over the thoughts inside your head.
The ring serves as a daily reminder, a reminder that it is not selfish to put yourself first. It is a reminder to take care of yourself so that you are able to care for others in the same way.
It’s about asking for help if you need it, no matter how challenging it is to get out the words. No matter how long it takes you to say it. It’s about taking the time to recognize your worth because it does not have to be this hard and you do not have to continue feeling this way.
Mental health is something you work at every day. It’s in the choices you make and the life you lead. It is not selfish to treat yourself. It is not lazy to take a mental health day. You do not need to give a reason for wanting a break. You do not need to justify why you do something for yourself. Self-care is about maintaining and improving your physical, mental and emotional health because you are more than this feeling.
It’s about knowing your limits and understanding yourself. It’s about taking care of yourself for yourself so that in the future you are able to put forth that effort and help others.
There is power in vulnerability.
So, this is me letting go of the obstacles I’ve made up in my head. This is me accepting the things I cannot change and taking responsibility for the things I can. This is me taking control and putting my health first. This is me, earning back my own trust.
This is me reminding you that you are worth it and to take care.
Featured image via Ekaterina Krusanova on Unsplash