Sundays are always hard.
Yesterday was particularly, for some reason. Maybe I was struggling, remembering the week before when I was just so, so down? Afraid of it happening again? I don’t know. I know I was tired from a lousy night’s sleep – that’s sort of been a theme for me lately.
I don’t even really know how to describe the feeling; I definitely haven’t identified it yet. The best word I could come up with yesterday was hollow.
I told you before about being called Stone Cold when I was younger. This is different. I’ve switched from being “dead” on the inside to just feeling… I dunno. Not EMPTY, but hollow. Like there’s this hole in my centre that just, aches.
Honestly, it’s a similar feeling hole to one I used to get and only be able to fill with ice cream. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of ice cream. But I don’t yearn for food anymore. I’m not the same girl I was before. I eat now for fuel, and that’s mostly it. I eat when I’m hungry, I try to stay balanced, and I stop eating when I’m full. I wonder if it’s the same hole and I’m just experiencing it differently because I’m not self-medicating with food anymore…?
It doesn’t matter. It’s just… it’s there.
I come home from church on Sundays and my hubs asks “how was church” and almost every week I shrug and say “meh. It was church.” Then I usually do things alone – watch TV, read a book, take a nap. I need to rest and recover from being ON and surrounded by people at church. It’s like an introvert’s worst nightmare hahaha
Yesterday I was tired. I woke up with the hollow and by the time I was ready for the day it felt less like it was on my insides and more like I was being totally enveloped, encased from every direction, with no escape; not ever. I just wanted to collapse inside of it and hide. Fold myself into a cocoon and never come out. I wanted to do that yesterday before I even left the house in the morning. I don’t know why – I aced my makeup, picked a great outfit, and had all of my responsibilities looked after and ready to roll for the day. My A-game was good to go.
But yesterday it wasn’t enough; I still felt hollow.
I think one of the weirdest things about my mental illness is this inner conflict – I am DYING to hide in the corner, make scarce, avoid eye contact… I want to hide in my bed and never get up. I don’t want to face people. I HATE being “in charge,” leading things, being asked to teach things, because it puts me front and centre. Shudder.
Meanwhile, I am YEARNING to be seen. Someone, please. Anyone. See me. Notice.
A week ago I spent the day at home, “with” my family. Who spent the day in the basement, playing video games. And I could have gone downstairs, I really could have. I know that. I do! But in that moment in time it wasn’t an option. The demons were playing with me, and I didn’t have the fortitude to fight back. Instead I spent the day feeling worse and worse and less and less loved and cared about. Absolute bollocks, I know logically, but that’s what happened.
I felt invisible.
Yesterday I went to church with great new hair, 30lbs lighter than the beginning of the year, and by myself. I sat beside a friendly face, and I kind of just went through the motions. My head wasn’t there, really. It was screaming at me instead.
Finally, church was over. Choir was over. It was time to retreat back home.
But someone stopped me. And asked if I’m okay.
And I just… aaaaahhhhhhhhh….!!! Someone SAW ME!! I’m not invisible!! Oh, I had to hug that woman. I didn’t even really have an answer for her – there’s nothing wrong, really. Everything is GREAT! All the good things are happening. But I’m tired, juggling just a couple of things, and just so so so soooo hollow. But here she is, knocking on my walls, asking after me, and if she can help. It was amazing.
Chatting with someone else trying to figure out what in the heck was going on with me yesterday it was suggested that this crazy hollow experience I’m having is my anxiety firing overdrive; I’m having all of these great things happening in my life right now and anxiety won’t accept it. I’m on high-alert, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m scared.
I think he’s probably right. If I’m being honest, I’m probably bloody TERRIFIED. I need to have things shown to me, I need instructions. If I have direction I can do just about anything. But left to my own devices? Oh. My. Gosh. THE WORST. The assumption is that I can’t, I’m not good enough, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where to start, I’m going to be bad at this…
There are no instructions for what I’m trying to do here. None. This is me. 100%, all me. If I fail at this there’s no one to blame but me. If I SUCCEED… I literally can’t even imagine what that might look like at the moment, and that’s probably scary, too. But I know what failure feels like because I have mistakenly learned that I am its embodiment in the flesh.
The hollow stayed with me most of the day yesterday. But I came home, my family acknowledged my presence, and I had some time to myself and some time with them. I worked online, I wrote things. I worked on a problem I had gotten myself into because I let my anxiety into the driver’s seat for a few moments the day before.
And then I got a text from a very kind person with whom I had made brief eye contact with earlier in the day at church:
“Hey boss. Just checking in to see how you are doing? You have been in my thoughts this last week. If I can do anything or my family can do anything. Let us know. You are doing a great job.”
SOMEONE. ELSE. SAW. ME.
TAKE THAT, Hollow!! Ha ha!!
Then my dear hubs came into the room where I was working away, and I don’t know how it happened, but the walls came crashing down and I confided in him the problem I was having and he just, he just helped. Talked me through it. Made sure I was satisfied that I was making rational decisions (which I absolutely was NOT hahaha). Let me CRY…
I’m so used to going unseen. Used to letting myself feel alone.
The lessening hollow completely subsided shortly after I took concrete action to fix the problem.
The hole is gone. I’m warm. I’m great today, actually. Still tired hahaha but a nap will fix that!
Today I know I am seen. I am cared for. I am loved. I know that I’m never alone, even when I’m feeling it as desperately as I do. Today, I am solid. Not hollow.
Nothing has changed. No one has actually physically helped me, with the possible exception of the hubs’ lending his shoulder for my tears. They just let me know that they could see me.
What a difference that made.
If you’re me, and I hate to say how many of you who tell me you’re reading ARE like me – I’m so sorry you can identify! It SUCKS sometimes being us!! – you HAVE to remember what I said before, and will say again and again and again:
You. Are. Not. Alone.
If you’re NOT me, and you’re the supporters, please PLEASE know how much it means to people like me to just know that you’ve noticed, that you’ve SEEN us. A quick text is all it takes. We don’t need hand-holding and constant coddling from you, just acknowledgement occasionally. We KNOW you’ve got your own crap going on, too, so it’s okay if you miss us sometimes, it really is. Sometimes we’re winning! Those times we can be there for YOU, because we are awesome!
Just don’t forget about us when we’re hollow.