Blogging Around Fear

(Oh, bother. Another post with no relevant photos. I’m putting in random photos from ghosts of blog posts pasts in here so you have something pretty to look at while I lament my current mental state.)

This whole blogging thing has been a struggle lately. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on, but I don’t feel comfortable writing about the vast majority of it. Honestly, I don’t even feel comfortable talking about the vast majority of it. One of my roommates, for example, was totally blindsided by something I’ve had going on when it came up last week, because I somehow, over the course of five months, had oops! forgotten to mention it. (To be fair, it had come up in other discussions with my other roommates – she just never happened to be home for dinner those nights.)

I have two big “stuffs” going on that I haven’t talked about publicly, either here or with most people in my life unless they specifically came up (fun thing about blogging: it’s easy to keep things you don’t want to come up from coming up when you’re the one controlling the conversation). Neither of them are bad, or dangerous, or problematic, or otherwise dramatic. They both, however, are extremely important to me, and I’ve found myself living in a near-constant state of anxiety of varying degrees, ranging from low-level to awake-at-1-a.m.-panic-attack level, since they came up. I am forever fretting about both of my stuffs, and constantly wishing I could fast forward through this ~season of life~ and just know how these stories end.

sunriseatmontrose
With marathon training sunrises!

I’ve often worried about jinxing things, and developed a fair number of OCD-y rituals to put my mind at ease. Case in point: my senior year of high school. Our boys’ basketball team had lost in state semifinals my junior year, and was on a redemption mission my senior year. I was highly invested in our boys’ basketball team, and as such developed a RIDICULOUS number of rituals that I believed were necessary to ensure a win, including: not moving anything in my bedroom for the duration of their tournament run, wearing the same pair of jeans every day they had a game, wearing a white t-shirt underneath a zip-up hoodie on game day, and wearing three specific bracelets in my school’s colors on game day as well, one of which had a charm that said “Believe” on it, and not, under any circumstance, taking those off until the game had finished.

OBVIOUSLY my wardrobe choices and bedroom arrangements had absolutely no influence on the boys’ basketball team whatsoever. Logically, I knew this, but I was completely terrified of changing anything for fear that what I was doing was, somehow, bringing luck to the team. They ended up winning the state title that year, and though I still technically knew it wasn’t because of what I had done, when your intended outcome results while you practice ritualistic behaviors, it’s hard to brush them off as ineffective.

I’ve gone through periods where I couldn’t change what I ate for lunch each day, even if I was sick of my normal meal, because I feared bad things would happen if I had ham instead of turkey (fires, thunderstorms, tornadoes, etc.). After the oven in my old apartment randomly started smoking overnight, I checked it every single night before I went to bed, not because I didn’t trust that my roommates had turned it off, but because I was afraid if I didn’t check it, it would catch fire again. I’ve had a very hard time changing things–opening a new bottle of lotion, getting a new bedspread, replacing my broken phone case, switching out the soap dispenser in my bathroom, using a different vacuum–because I worried that my old items somehow protected me, and that getting rid of them would open up a world of horrific possibilities.

rippeddowncoat
Torn winter coat = horrific possibility

 

Lately this has been particularly problematic, which I imagine is in no small part due to the fact that my baseline level of anxiousness has been much higher than I’d like it to be. Just two weeks ago I struggled to throw away an empty tube of Chapstick, despite the fact that it was most certainly empty, and open a new tube of Burt’s Bees, both because I didn’t feel comfortable throwing away the Chapstick, and because I had never used Burt’s Bees before, AND WHAT COULD HAPPEN FROM THIS BRAND CHANGE?!?!

Nothing, at least not directly, and again, logically I know that. But I’ll be darned if knowing something logically is enough to talk some sense into Anxious Bethany, who has no sense by definition, being as she is the antithesis of Rational Bethany.

So blogging has been tough. I’ve had both of these stuffs going on before, and I’ve talked somewhat openly about them before in blogging and in real life, but things never turned out quite as I hoped. Though I probably didn’t have any *real* reason to be ashamed over things not turning out as I hoped, I still felt shame. I felt like I had failed myself, and as someone who actively tries to avoid failure at all costs, it was extremely difficult to tell other people, “Hey, this thing? Yeah, forget about it. It ended up not working out.” And because I have talked about these stuffs in the past, and ended up with negative results, and even more so, because I hesitated to talk about those stuffs in the past for fear of negative consequences and then had my feared outcome happen, it feels a lot like that basketball situation I mentioned earlier, but in the reverse: instead of having evidence that my behavior worked in producing the outcome I wanted, I have evidence that my behavior worked to produce an outcome I absolutely did not want. Therefore, I feel much more compelled to keep things under wraps, which, I suppose is fine–it’s my life, after all, and my prerogative to disclose as much or as little as I choose. But when you’re used to being fairly open, and have these stuffs taking up more and more of your time, it makes blogging a bit tricky. A couple months ago, I mentioned feeing like I was living a double life at work. I feel that way about blogging these days, too. These stuffs are the biggest things I have going on right now, but since I don’t want to even mention them for fear of ruining them, I have a tough time coming up with things to say, and put up obnoxiously vague blogging posts like this instead, because this feels safe.

cubs
Safe like a baseball player. All right, that one’s a bit of a stretch 😛

So. That’s what’s going on over here these days. I really (really) hope to be able to actually talk about things sooner rather than later, but in the mean time, hopefully you can bear with me.

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9 thoughts on “Blogging Around Fear

  1. I completely relate to you on this. The blogging motivation has been at an all-time low lately. I don’t want to put some things out there for the world, both because of fear and because of certain people who do read my blog that would be affected. So instead, I post sporadically or post pointless things that really have no affect on anything. Hopefully things smooth over for you soon!

  2. BIG HUGS, Bethany! I relate on having certain things going on but being unable to blog about them. I try to keep my blog light, but sometimes it’s tough when in reality I’m dealing with major family issues, work issues, etc. Many folks portray certain images of themselves on social media, but there’s a lot going on underneath the surface that few others know about. In the meantime, I am praying for you!!!!!

  3. Being a blogger is weird, right? It’s like, you don’t want people who read your blog to be blindsided when you finally do write about the “stuff” but you also don’t want to say more than is necessary in case you never do have to write about it.

    • YES, exactly. I try to not be too “boy who cried wolf”-y, which makes me not want to talk about things in the works until they’re no longer in the works, just in case it falls apart. But man, when that’s all you’ve really got going on, it’s difficult to not talk about it!

  4. First, hugs. Life is very hard at times and it most times it seems so much easier to hide behind this facade of a happy life online. For me, I’ve felt like thins are a very big deal in the moment and then later it seems like not so much of a big deal so I am really glad I didn’t bring it up at all. Even though the feelings I had were real and whatever was a big deal. I’m much more apt to look back at the past with rose colored glasses and downplay things. So this tends to keep me form sharing in the first place. Because I don’t want to seem dramatic. I hope that makes sense, I feel like I’m rambling here.
    It’s crazy how much power our minds have. Even when rationally and logically you tell yourself something is okay, the rest of your mind can still totally win.
    And don’t worry, I’m still reading. Even if you aren’t ready to share yet 🙂

    • Thank you on several counts 🙂 Yeah, what you said totally makes sense. Finding that balance between dealing with something in the moment and waiting for its “bigness” to diminish is awfully tricky – and I definitely agree, makes me less inclined to bring things up when they are big, because they may not be so big later on. It’s a weird situation!

  5. Thanks for sharing. It’s always so powerful to hear about people’s mental health because it normalizes what so many people go through but don’t feel comfortable sharing. I know I’ve said it before but I’m so happy you see a therapist and have a supportive family. You can’t change who you are but you can certainly work on the things you DO have control over. I know I said this already too but let me know if you need anything.

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