I've always been anxious, but for most of my life I didn't know it. I used to always think that feeling in the pit of my stomach was guilt. Guilt for everything I had messed up. Guilt for everything I had left undone. Guilt for everything I had done that I shouldn't have. Guilt for everything I hadn't done quickly enough or perfectly enough. Guilt, guilt, guilt, always guilt. It wasn't until a few years after becoming a mental health therapist that it finally hit me upside the head one day...BOOM! That's not guilt! That's ANXIETY!!
You'd think that knowing that and being a therapist, I'd know what to do about it, what techniques to use to help myself relax. But I can't. Because along comes the depression to tell me I don't deserve to relax, right along the anxiety telling me I can't afford to relax.
I have ADHD, so I always have something, somewhere that I'm screwing up or haven't done or haven't done well enough. Usually lots of somethings. And that's even with constantly worrying and trying to focus on everything I have to do in a vain effort to keep up with things.
So when someone (most often my husband) tells me to relax and calm down, it feels like doing so would be the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns. Because I already screw everything up as it is, so how much more would I screw up and drop the ball on if I did give in and relax???
I can't afford to relax. I can't afford to go to bed when I'm merely tired and not collapsed. I can't afford the time, because every time I relax, there's yet another thing that I fail at.
I'm trying to give myself permission to relax. Right now, I've got a glass of wine (brought by my husband) and Cake Wars on (put on by my husband) while I blog. But I'm also feeling guilty for taking the time to blog when there's other things I didn't get done today. Even though I didn't get them done because I was doing other things that badly needed doing.