For years, and especially since I became a mother, I have wondered
- Why do I get overwhelmed so much easier than other people do?
- Why am I so prone to crying or tearing up, even and especially when I don’t want to do so?
- Why do I get so tired, especially in the afternoon? I feel like I absolutely have to sit down, or preferably, lie down. Sometimes this starts in the mid or late morning; more commonly around lunchtime (regardless of what I have eaten, but worse if I have eaten starch or sugar).
- Why do I feel like I need an hour or more of rest after returning home from church? Aside from the obvious stresses of herding two children through a church service, and also the before and after chaos.
- Why is it so hard for me to get a good night’s rest? Sometimes I wake up at 1 – 2 a.m., and I don’t get back to sleep until 3, 4, or even 5 a.m.
- Why does anxiety become such a problem for me at times? Not “worrying about something,” like an upcoming performance or test, but just a general feeling of dread and the physical symptoms of being anxious, like tightness in the chest and butterflies in the stomach.
Stepping back to look at the big picture a bit more, over the years I have become more aware of the things that are challenges for me (fatigue, anxiety, insomnia) and of how these characteristics affect my whole life, including my social life and friendships.
Some of my peers may not understand why I am often so tired; why I get overwhelmed easily; why I cry easily. I might come across like a negative, overly sensitive person who is selfish because she doesn’t want to “help” with many things (volunteering at church, for example).
And really, this is frustrating for me, because I feel that some of these characteristics get in the way of people seeing who I really am, and what I’m really like. I think that perhaps this has played a role in the changing friendship situation that’s been going on for the past year or more. There is one friend in particular who, it seems to be, has so much energy and such a positive outlook. Of course, I admire and enjoy this, but at times I have become self-conscious and wondered what she thinks of me!
You see, when she, or someone else who is more than just an acquaintance, asks me how I’m doing, I am apt to give a fairly honest answer.
- The week has been pretty good, but honestly, the business [I have my own business] took up so much time that I began to wonder if I really had my priorities straight.
- We are all doing well. I have to say that the summer has been a challenge….. just figuring out how to keep everyone on an even keel throughout the whole day, without school or other activities to fill up big chunks of time.
- Or even, Well, it’s been a tough few days. My 3-year-old is going through a little spell where he screams about everything, even more than usual. I think it’s because he got behind on sleep, but then, what’s new? He always seems to be on the verge of being overtired.
You see, I’m not one to say, “I am great! I feel great! The kids are great! In fact, my whole life is just good, great, and wonderful!” And what I find interesting is how many people, especially this one friend I’m thinking of, just always seem to be in a good mood and are living a terrific life.
I mean, really? You didn’t have a fight with your spouse this week? You didn’t struggle with staying awake at work due to a rough night’s sleep? You didn’t pull your hair out, wondering when your kid was ever going to get over the cough that’s keeping everyone up at night?
Now, I realize that it’s not socially acceptable to just lay out all of the details of bad, negative, yucky things, in response to a “How are you?” But how can we really connect with other people if we don’t put some of our weaknesses and struggles out there for others to see?
If you have thoughts on this, please do share in the comments section. I’d love to hear your take on this.