There is a writer that I love. Her name is Glennon Doyle. She’s an inspiration to me. Somewhere at some point she wrote something along the lines of “you don’t write when you’re in it, you write when it’s over”. And I’ve been trying to do that. For a long time, to some degree, I’ve been trying to make sure all my blogs, all my stories have an ending.
I mean, I love reading a happy ending. Or even a sad ending is okay if it’s well done. It’s the way stories work. There is a beginning, a climax and an ending. It’s one of the first things you learn in any English class. But I’m not a typical writer. I don’t just write blogs, or articles or essays or whatever you want to call them. I also write music. And with music it’s essentially the exact opposite. If you don’t write when you’re in it, you usually aren’t writing at all. Or at least that’s how it works for me. I wait until I’m so full of energy, or hurt, or love that I may explode from it. And then I pour it out. And then we rewrite it. Over and over until it’s something I’m proud of. Something that I think is worth other people hearing. And to be honest, even in my songs I like a resolution to the story.
But it’s the way stories work. There is a beginning, a climax and an ending.
But I gave myself this space when it came to writing my blogs. That it needed time, to be a finished story. I’d have a struggle, I was going through it. I’d sit with it, talk about it, cry about it, wait for it to end. So I could have some resolution that would feel good to anyone who read it. And I have plenty of things that are happy and wonderful to share. Things that are easy to tell with a resolution. But one thing isn’t. I have sensory processing disorder. I always will. I don’t know what that really means, other than the world is far too much for me, a whole lot of the time. Sounds are too loud, lights too bright, fabrics too rough.
It’s how I realized what I was doing was not the same as what I felt was my truth. You see waiting to share how I was feeling and what I was struggling with in the middle of it, meant I always seemed like I had my shit handled. I recently realized that I don’t have many friends that reach out to see how I am. Just a very small few. Truthfully maybe…two. Even my mom doesn’t call me to see if I’m okay. The ones who do, are natural caretakers. But to the vast majority I was that person. They knew I’d reach out. And maybe I’d share back, often in fact I would. But it felt painful to say “I need someone to check on me, I’m not okay”.
I guess this is my long winded way of saying I haven’t been okay. And waiting until I am has been a very long wait. One that doesn’t seem to be coming. I’ve had a lot of change recently. I’m extremely proud of where my life is. My daughter started preschool, which was a giant leap for me. To trust many of her waking hours, and her safety to someone outside our family, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done as a parent. I know that there are far scarier moments to come. I also in the same week started a part time job. One that made me more independent but also has taken time from my writing.
In the same stretch of two months, I crowdfunded, and recorded my first album with my band Echo Hill. This was one of the largest challenges to me seeing myself as an actual singer songwriter/musician. I bought a couch, it’s new. Brand new, not used like so much of the furniture I’ve accumulated through my life. This may not seem big to other people but for me it is. It signaled adulthood. I’m 33, it’s about time. These are all demonstrably good things. And yet…I am struggling.
I told my therapist that I don’t know why I feel this way. Everything in my life is going the way it should. People with good easy lives shouldn’t even need therapy. I’m a spoiled rich brat compared to where I was 10 years ago. She said something that needs to be said often to me in therapy, “I’d like to challenge that”. Apparently anxiety doesn’t really give a fuck if you have a decent life. She also helped me to a diagnosis. I was officially diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Something I knew deep inside but didn’t want to confront. Something that got dredged up by worries about my own child.
They didn’t have that title when I was a kid. Sensory Processing Disorder didn’t exist. I was just way oversensitive. I had ADD, anxiety and depression but they couldn’t tell me why, or what to do about that other than meds, meds and more meds. My anxiety has been off the walls for months. I’ve had panic attacks in public. It’s awful and embarrassing. I can’t breathe or see straight, because whatever is going on around me has overwhelmed my senses. Usually it’s a combination of loud noises and flashing lights. Not an ideal thing for someone who’s trying to perform on stage with band.
Truthfully I’m in an almost constant state of anxiety. And it’s not done. I have not found the solution. I’m tired and I want to feel confident about my upcoming album release show, but I don’t. I’m excited and proud but I am also very very scared. I feel the biggest sense of impostor syndrome I’ve ever felt in my life. For some reason my fake it until you make it has fooled everyone but myself. And it has worked so well that I’m alone with it.
So this is the story that’s not over. I have no current solution or resolution. But I have a plan. Here is my plan.
- Tell people I’m struggling
- Buy tinted glasses to help with overstim from light.
- Buy essential oils to help with grounding techniques
- Buy new ear plugs
- Ask everyone for advice on how they ground themselves if they have sensory overload.
- Admit that it’s a process. And that my story isn’t ever really over and it’s okay to share anyway.