This is the part where I share too much. I have a little problem with not letting most people see the real me. If I had to get to the root of it, I’d probably say that comes from wanting people to love me. Everywhere I go, all the new people I meet, waiters, bartenders, doctors, toll booth operators, David Cook (like how I threw him in there?), crabby grocery store checkout ladies, gas station attendants who don’t speak English, I smile a big smile and always (usually) say please and thank you, and try to make sure I have exact change to make their life easy and don’t make too many modifications to my order and crack a joke and leave them laughing if they’ll let me…some of them don’t let me, and that’s their problem….
And then they are all like “oh that Rachel! She is so cheerful! What a ray of sunshine!!” which is why I have had to change 7-11s for my morning coffee more times than I can count on one hand (the coffee station attendants tend to get a little stalkerish when you smile and say ‘good morning’ to them every day?). I believe this is also why, when I went to my doctor for my 6 week post-partum check up and she walked in the examination room to find me in hysterics, puffy, red rimmed eyes, snotty nose, blabbering incoherent gibberish about how much anxiety I had and how I was having a panic attack leaving my son home with my husband, she told me what I was feeling was perfectly normal, gave me a hug and said she’d see me in a year for my annual exam.
I wanted to scream “THIS IS NOT NORMAL. I AM NOT NORMAL! THE PERSON YOU ALWAYS SEE SMILING AT YOU AND CRACKING JOKES ISN’T THE REAL ME! THIS IS THE REAL ME, SITTING IN FRONT OF YOU, BEGGING FOR HELP. PLEASE HELP ME. PLEASE! HELP! ME!”
but I didn’t.
I sniffed back the tears and paid my copay, walked out to the elevator, took a deep breath and told myself for the millionth time that I was alone in this, nobody was going to help me, they didn’t want the burden (could I blame them?) and I just needed to keep doing what I had been doing for years and years and years….push it to the back of my mind, smile at a stranger and crack a joke. After all, maybe this breakdown would be the last one. Maybe it would never come back. Maybe if I act ‘as if’ long enough, one day I will wake up and just ‘be’.
I haven’t been around much.
It’s been a really hard week. I could blame it on the stress of the holiday season and the emotional rollercoaster of Ben’s first birthday swiftly approaching, I could blame it on being a working mother and never having enough hours in the day, I could blame it on my little boy still not sleeping consistently through the night….or I could call it what it is, what I’ve always known it was…
I called the doctor back last Friday. I basically told them that hey, remember when you said I was normal? Well, I thought you were wrong then and I think you’re even more wrong now. If you want to know the truth, if it were only me I had to worry about, I’d probably just keep right on suffering, pretending these demons would just go away, but ironically, it’s not about me now, it’s about Ben, and I might not love myself enough to fix me, but I love him enough to know he deserves a good life and a mom who is present and even…..(dare i?) happy….? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here…
There’s a lot to work out. It’s cumulative the doctor told me. I don’t want to whine, but I’ve been through a few major life events…but hasn’t everyone? I know how to count my blessings, I really do, but the bottom line is that knowing I’ve been incredibly blessed doesn’t diminish the fact that not having my mom anymore hurts my heart every day to an extreme that words can’t even describe and that I’m lonely here. I am so lonely. Despite the fact that I’ve lived here for 8 years now, these aren’t my friends, this isn’t my home, nothing is familiar, nothing inspires me. I’m sure it’s all tied together somehow, but I am tired. I am tired of self-diagnosing and talking myself down from the ledge and faking a smile and telling a joke. I need someone or something else to hold me up for a little while. I need help.
So anyway, that’s my oversharing for the day. There’s not much else you need to know. You probably didn't even need to know this...I probably should have just said please and thank you, made a joke, smiled a lot and dug in my wallet for correct change...I just hope that soon, I will have acted as if long enough to really BE. In the meantime, will you still love me?