What I wanted to say

So I have recently started writing as a contributor for a blog for moms. It is a national blog, with sister outlets in cities across the country, including my own. It was a little scary to apply for the position, but I am grateful that I did, and that I was chosen to write alongside some very talented, funny women. If I want to write, I need to be willing to put myself out there, and try for things that scare me. So I did.

This morning, my second blog posted to the site, which was about being a clean freak when you have small children who inevitably make messes. Part of the gig is that your blogs also get shared on Facebook. Today I got my first negative feedback on my blog via Facebook comments. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it feedback, as much as just an ugly comment.

Apparently, to this particular reader, my preference for cleanliness and organization made me come across as someone who needed “medication” instead.

–Busted…joke’s on her…I already take medication!

While I have been pretty open with those close to me about the fact that I am, at times, medicated for anxiety, it still was pretty embarrassing to think that it may have been obvious to a total stranger that I suffer from it. I even hesitated to share my blog with my own Facebook/Twitter world, because I didn’t want them to see the comment. I worried it would hurt their feelings for me. Or in some cases, summon the friends/family I have that would happily “disappear” someone on my behalf. I didn’t want them to unleash a barrage of Facebook hell on this person just for commenting on a public forum — for lots of reasons.

I have worked with the public enough in my life to know that the public is made up of a large quantity of assholes. So having a comment that I considered hurtful and immature honestly wasn’t too unexpected. Again, I put myself out there…I need to be prepared for feedback and criticism. I like to consider myself the bigger person, who can hold my tongue. I got over being embarrassed after some sweet friends and family built me back up, and I shared my post with them. I don’t want to let a stranger interfere with this passion of mine.

But I’m not SO much the bigger person that I didn’t have an imaginary bitch session in my head…

“Who the hell says something like that?”

“Who cracks jokes about anxiety issues and the need for medication??”

“This chick doesn’t know my story…she doesn’t know what I’ve been through. If I’m anxious, I’ve earned it. Fuck her.”

I did this for a couple hours. Then I realized something. I did earn my anxiety. Every single short of breath, jumbled thoughts, sleepless night, one more glass of wine, Ativan popping, hands shaking moment of it.

I earned it watching my mom in ICU. I earned it when I had to hold her down when she woke up from sedation in the ER and tried to pull out her IVs and her ventilator. I earned it every damn time a doctor pulled me into a hallway and asked me when we were going to take her off of life support because “this stuff is painful.” I earned it for 101 days wondering if today would be the day she would surrender to what the flu had done to her poor, broken body. I earned it on the night she looked at me straight in the eyes, and said to me through the tracheostomy in her throat, in a voice that wasn’t truly hers, that she wanted to die. And I earned it on the night that I stood at the end of her hospital bed and watched her die.

I have spent over two years giving myself hell for not being better off than I am. The second year of grief is in some ways worse than the first, but it is far less talked about, and far less understood (especially by me.) It has challenged me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But I have, so many times, thought I should feel better. That I should be back in one piece rather than these broken ones. My life is a new normal, for sure, and I am more “functional” than I was last year, but there is an endless stream of thoughts and emotions in my head all of the time. I’d love to have just one day where my heart didn’t literally ache, and I didn’t walk around with a lump in my throat.

I have had a very good life in a lot of ways. God has been good to me, and I am grateful for it. But I let my gratitude, at times, dismiss the rest of it. I downplay my struggles because, as I say myself “it could be much worse.” And that’s true, it could. But some things are still pretty damn hard.

So I spent hours arguing in my mind with a stranger, justifying my shortcomings and struggles, when the only person I have needed to say it to was myself. I really need to cut myself some slack. It’s okay to be sad still, and feel lost sometimes, and get anxious, and need medication. I earned it.


8 thoughts on “What I wanted to say

  1. You know, the Internet makes me really disgusted with people. I have seen some other friends blog and get some of the worst things possible said to them because of a picture they posted of themselves. I couldn’t do it. I applaud you for just being frustrated inside and not responding publicly. You have nothing to be embarrassed about for taking medication or having anxiety. None of us are perfect, physically or mentally or whatever….we just have to be the best of who we are.
    And besides….that person needs medication too, just not sure what you take for being an asshole.

  2. You earned it! Good for you! You are a great writer, but this goes far beyond writing. It’s a confession to the world, but most importantly to you. For a total stranger to make a crack in response to your awesome blog, and do it so casually, is reprehensible. If she’s a drug addict, she should keep it to herself. It had nothing to do with what you wrote. She knows nothing of what you have been through, and clearly doesn’t care. The second year is no easier, and in many ways harder. I am glad that you know who you are, and what you have been through, and how to move forward. It isn’t easy, but you have faced it head on and with grace. I have learned from you. This woman who chose to share her thoughtless words has no business in the public arena. She makes the world worse. You make the world so much better.

  3. You are very honest and this I like. Social media can be cruel when we put ourselves out there – trust me I know, I can relate. Remember, no one knows the whole story and knows you, they are making comments based on their current thinking – that is it. I appreciate you and your writing and I also respect you very much. Keep writing, keep posting. 🙂

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