In one month, I will have been off of work for two years. Two whole years! And though my mind is continuously asking, “what should I be doing?” (for work, that is) the truth is I was approved for long term disability for very good reason. There are just too many barriers for me to be able to work, and keep up working.
All of my life I have been a very anxious and restless person. My thoughts are constantly seeking where I should be going next (and how I will survive it.)
- Should I move? (that is a big one)
- What should I be doing?
- Who will I lose next (and how will I manage without them?)
- Should I go here?
- Should I go there?
- Should I study, go to school, find a job, move away…
So many anxious thoughts, and much of them striving to be – not who I am, but who I believe other people want me to be (even when I know it isn’t right for me.)
I have been so afraid for so long of disappointing the people around me – even the people I only know by name, or have little contact with – that it has been very challenging for me to even see who I was made to be.
So afraid of not fitting in that all I sought was what was normal – and even more normal than other people, just so I (and they) could be sure that I actually did belong.
Only I didn’t belong, and all of that time seeking to be ‘normal’ and to prove them wrong, resulted in more failure than even I (as a fatalist, which is my default when life doesn’t live up to my idealistic dreams) could imagine.
I didn’t do well at school, though I tried very hard. I couldn’t make it through semester after semester without experiencing burnout and meltdown. I didn’t do well working, though it appeared I could for short periods of time. I didn’t do well as a parent – especially in trying to adopt special needs children from the foster care system.
I tried to fit in, and thought that is what I wanted – well, not so much the work, but… a healthy person works (and I so wanted to be healthy.) I tried so hard to succeed. I tried so hard to be ‘normal.’ And I failed. Always I failed.
I failed because these things are not who I am. They are who society decided I should be, and when I couldn’t meet their standards, well… that was my fault.
It has been nearly two years since I have been off work (and on disability.) Nearly two years, and for the first time in my life (40 years at this point) I am not striving to be, or to do, or to… whatever it is they want me to be.
I just am. I am just me. Not restless. Not striving. Not seeking to be ‘normal.’ Just allowing me to be me. And it is the most freeing feeling I have ever experienced.