This week I took a sick day, and I wasn’t even *physically* sick.
Let me rephrase that: This week I took a mental health day.
Let me back up a bit further.
I haven’t blogged in a while, not because I wasn’t thinking about blogging, or didn’t want to, I just kept finding reasons not to: I have nothing to say, no time, no one reads this anyway. But I’ve been going to the Panera bakery in my hometown a few hours a day a few times a week, where I read blogs, write for NaNoWriMo (not that I will finish, or win, it’s the effort that counts, right?), and generally try to make myself more productive. Since I can no longer update blog posts on my breaks at work, I am forced to only blog off hours, which really cuts into my blogging time. I am just not as productive after a day of work or on the weekends as I am during work hours during the week.
I spent last weekend feeling incredibly anxious. My parents had gone to New Orleans for a few days to celebrate their 30th anniversary, so I spent the whole weekend freaked out by every sound I heard: If there was a car driving I worried that it wasn’t coming up the neighbor’s driveway, but ours. The wind blowing against the garage was someone trying to break in. Someone rang the doorbell and left some tools on the front porch, but since the front door was unlocked, I worried someone had gotten in. The laundry detergent was not in the spot on the washer where I usually put it back, so someone must have come in and moved it. Or we have ghosts.
Storm 2012. How I was feeling inside.
Needless to say, by Tuesday, I was a mental wreck, and needed to take a day off. The stress had caused me to have restless sleep, and I couldn’t handle going into work. So I called in sick, went to vote, then holed up at Panera for the day.
I spent time in the Word, first and foremost. I read the Word of God, prayed with him, and focused on trying to root out my anxiety. (Still not sure why, though…) Then, I a chapter for NaNo, then I waited for my friend to show up, so that we could discuss sharing an apartment next year. At 10:00 AM, my mother texted me, saying she was on her way home. I felt a huge weight lifted when that happened. My parents would be home by Wednesday. As the day progressed, and they texted that they were getting closer to home, my anxiety started to disappear.
It was clear that my anxiety was triggered by loneliness. I am a homebody and often a “loner”, but my ambivert nature still thrives around other people. Just knowing there are other people around to call on or talk to calms me.
Now, it makes perfect sense that I was anxious. Human beings are created to be in relationships with other people. It is clear that when we aren’t really seeing people, we get caught up in our heads, nervous, anxious, depressed. It’s why my sister drove three and a half hours with a travel-phobic cat Friday night, just to be near family for 48 hours (literally. She has to leave by 5 tonight.)
I’m better now, I suppose, but not fully. Putting this out in the world is scary, but I hope others can benefit from hearing it. I’ll leave you with a few thoughts to ponder.
Are you spending time with other people, or are you getting all your interactions with others digitally? When you feel anxious, nervous, or depressed, where do you turn?