I won’t lie this week has been hard. In a hectic week at work, I’ve had a long melt down realising that I’m not winning with my anxiety and that I’ve hurt a lot of people along the way.
Hearing it this week was the hardest thing I’ve had to face in a while.
Poppy has spent the week with her own demons – acting out. Chewing my shoes and couch and track suite to pieces. Without a doubt it’s been her way of pointing out that she’s unhappy too. Bored and lonely.
And to be honest I wasn’t going to write about any of this. But here is what I’ve learnt after spending 48 hours in a crumpled heap of self pity:
Healing is not beautiful. It’s not linear on an upward trajectory. Mostly it’s messy and down right ugly. Its days spent in bed hiding away.
But no one can fix it for me either. I have to get on top of my own healing and anxiety. For myself, for Poppy and for the incredible humans who stick it out with me, despite my snapping, silence and anger.
I also need to do this on a practical level – so that my house survives Poppy’s tantrums and I have somewhere to live that doesn’t look like a trailer park!
So tonight by way of promise (to myself and Poppy mostly) but especially to those I’ve hurt, I’m putting a new plan into action:
- I have employed a lovely young lady called Latoya to spend afternoons with Poppy while I’m at work. Poppy loves new humans and I feel like it will help alleviate her boredom and her own anxiety.
- I need to be more present with my dog going forward. An hour of full attention on my side is better than a few stolen moments.
- Practice better self care going forward so that the next derailing won’t leave me as shattered.
- Trying to remember that I don’t always have to react from a place of fear is the hardest one. In a moment of anxiety I can’t yet see the wood for the trees. Snapping at those who I work with without even realising it. Turning this around is a work in progress. And to the incredible humans who stick it out with me, you deserve more than a medal. I love you deeply and I can’t make theatre without you. Please know that.
- I need to at least attempt to let bad days and weeks go. Shew, this one is also hard. Anxiety wants to hold onto them as some type of proof that I’ll never be able to conquer the darkest places. She holds onto them as if to laugh and throw mud in my face saying “you think you are winning? Stupid human! Look you can’t even win with your dog training”. And the truth is not all of this week was bad. Mostly it was beautiful and creative. Anxiety doesn’t always allow me to see that in the heat of the moment.
Deep down I need to hang on and trust that I will win. I have won every other day that I thought would kill me. So I will beat this too. But right now as I type this the tears of mistrust surface and I sob openly again.
So tonight healing is about allowing myself to cry it all out.
And then pick up the pieces (often quite literally) in the morning and get up and face it all over again. And even if tomorrow sucks too, and I need to cry some more, please don’t give up on me. Or Poppy.
Someday soon the two of us will laugh about this. “Remember when you used to chew and bite and jump on everything Pops?” And she’ll laugh back and say to me “remember when you let your anxiety win?” And we’ll look at our battle scars together and laugh and laugh and laugh until we cry with relief that this has passed.
That is my prayer tonight.
Big love to Poppy this week for showing me that things need to shift. And to my sister for starting a conversation this week that I just couldn’t. I don’t know why you two don’t give up on me, but I am beyond grateful.
So here is to hard lessons.
Breaking silence. Learning to speak to each other. Lots of taking stock.
Making theatre without anxiety
And deeply loving those people who travel this with me.