Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

I have never noticed that not everybody in the world is entirely comfortable saying the words I love you. It has never occurred to me that you wouldn’t regularly say it to people you love.

I grew up with a mum who was ill and in her own misguided way she was trying to prepare me for the day when she would no longer be around, she would frequently tell me that she could drop dead at any minute because of the condition that she had.  While this fact is one of the contributing reasons that I suffer anxiety attacks (the constant fear that something awful is just about to happen) it also sparked one of the things that I do that I’m happy that I do. I never end a conversation with someone that I love without telling them that I love them, I will never visit with those same people and on the way out not say I love you. My logic has always been (since that’s the way my brain had been conditioned) that you ever know what’s going to happen and as morbid as it sounds every time you part ways with some one that could be the last time you have ever seen them.

A work friend had witnessed this once where I was yelling after my dad that I loved him to make sure he could hear me and he did the same back. They were confused and wanted to know why I did that and after I told them they looked thoughtful, I guess they had never thought of it that way.

When I tell my friends and family that I love them I don’t do it out of habit or because I think they don’t know because honestly if my last words to someone where anything other than I love you I would still be happy because they all know exactly what I think about the amazing human beings that they are.

I say it because it’s also a reminder to me to leave things on a good note and I remember that phrase never go to bed angry and it’s the same sentiment as that. Even if your incredibly mad at the person I will still say I love you, I’m really mad at what you did but I still love you.

Also everyone likes to hear that they are loved right?

I think what I’d like people to take away from this is the typical message of tell the people you love how you feel about them, write them a text or an email, yell it at them if it makes you uncomfortable just make sure you say the words.

My mum died 4 years ago the last thing she read before she went to bed the night before she died was a text from me telling her how much I loved her and my dad. I have to say that brings me a great amount of comfort knowing my mum went to bed that night with a smile on her face.

Have I told you lately that I love you? Of course it’s my favourite thing to tell you.

 

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How Do You Support A Friend?

I have a friend, well I say a friend when she is more like family to me, she was the first real friend I ever had. We met when we were in high school through other friends and bonded over Harry Potter, she taught me how it felt to truly respect another human being she was the first person who had ever earned my respect. Over the years she inspired confidence in me, the confidence to date, to go for the things I wanted and to get the help I needed.

In short this amazing woman I know helped me change my life, I would not be the person I am today without her.

For a while now she has been going through an incredibly hard time, all I want is to make it better for her but I can’t. I want her to remember all of the reasons why she is amazing all of the reasons I and everybody else loves her.

So I did something that didn’t cost me anything, it took a few minutes of my life and was really easy. I made her a poster with all of the reasons I think she is astounding so when she feels down she can read it and maybe feel just fractionally better.

I would do anything for her but I know she needs to get through this in her own way, while I might want to be there day and night I know deep down that it doesn’t help her help herself.

How do you support a friend?

I’ve come to the conclusion that all you can do is be there when they need you and remind them that you are there for them, even if it’s just something silly like a poster on their wall.

Why Do You Feel Anxious?

I have had an anxiety disorder for many years, and when I feel anxious the centre focus of my anxiety is around my throat and mouth, I get really freaked out that something is going to cause my airway to get blocked and I won’t be able to breathe.

This can be set of for a number of reasons, I might be hyper aware of the sensations happening in my throat or food tends to set me of a lot I have very specific rules with food. While these things make no sense I can see the logic behind the anxiety I’ve come into contact with something that my brain perceives as dangerous and I get why that would make me anxious even if it makes no sense.

The thing that gets me most annoyed is when I get anxious for no apparent reason, nothing has set me off, I’m not feeling hyper aware of my body and I absolutely have not come in to contact with any triggers.

I was walking home with my husband after a trip to the movies, it’s one of our favourite things to do, when all of a sudden I’m extremely anxious and feel like I can’t breathe. It has come out of nowhere and has me floored, I was shaky and struggling to walk, another thing that happens to me when I feel like this is I find it very difficult to speak at all.

I manage out that “I feel anxious” and that’s as far as I can get as always he asks why, he wants to understand what I’m going through and how he can help, like he does when I know what’s triggered me.

It is one of the single most frustrating things I have ever experienced, to feel so incredibly anxious and not know why, to be trapped and not know how to make it better in any way, to have to just wait it out.

I would love not to have an anxiety disorder but since that’s never going to happen I would love to be able to explain why I feel anxious and use the methods I know to work through it. I would love to be able to communicate properly when I feel like this so I can ask for what I need whether that is physical contact, to be left alone or to just have a distraction.

It’s frustrating that when my husband asks

“Why do you feel anxious?”

I can only ever reply in these instances with

“I just do.”

How Much Time Is Enough?

Here’s the thing, at some point during the course of loving someone I always imagine what my life would be like without them in it. I don’t mean not having them in it as in we parted ways but when they truly aren’t in your life or in the world anymore.

I think it’s only human to wonder and even fear the day that you lose the people you love, having lost my mum at the age of 21 before she had seen me get married, before I had kids, before I graduated ect. the list goes on and on I wondered how much time would have been enough?

I would think just one more day would be enough, one more hour or minute or second and I think about the first moment I ever truly realised I would never see her again and I knew that no amount of time would ever have been enough.

I’m glad it was 21 years I had her in my life for and not 15 or 10 or 5 or none but if it was possible (through wishing) every time she would have to go I would always think just one more minute and it would go on forever. I’ll never be ready to say goodbye to the people I love and one more minute will always span an eternity if I get to decide how long I need.

Last year my dad had a heart attack and I though I’m too young for this to be happening again so soon, I thought if he can just make it thought the next hour and then the next day and slowly but surely he got better and better.

I thought about losing him from the perspective of someone having already lost a parent, when I hugged him I tried to imprint the feeling of home and safety into my brain and I knew that another 5 years or another 20 was still never going to feel like enough.

How much time is enough? There is never enough time.

Anxiety

Dear NotWiredThatWay,

I crawled into your chest it happened such a long time ago, little by little I pushed my darkness in

You didn’t even realise at first what was going on you were oblivious while I was hard at work

Then one day I slowly started crushing you, I had an invisible weight pressing on your chest, I put ice in your veins and fire through your nerves

I won’t let you rest, peace of mind isn’t for you, you need to meticulously plan out conversations that might happen, doesn’t that sound fun?

You need to think about all of those things that make you grind your teeth with stress trying to relieve the pressure in your brain, doesn’t that sound better than being in the here and now?

I want you to feel weak and useless I want you to feel like you’re going to die I need you to really believe it

Because if you don’t believe it then we can’t be safe, don’t you understand?

And I know you hate me now that you know my name but I know the real reason you curse my existence

You needed me.

That’s what gets you, you needed me to keep you safe.

Your protector

Anxiety

Why do people care so much about the way you look?

I am not what you would consider a slender woman, all my life due to a seriously unhealthy relationship with food (fuelled by an anxiety disorder) I have always been heavier than I should be. In short I am overweight.

I am sad to say that because of the way I have let other people make me feel over the years about my body, I have not dressed the way I wanted to, I haven’t done things I wanted to in life because of fear of the way I would look doing those things, I’ve had low confidence rooted in the way I look and the way others perceive me.

I remember once I was walking down the street and a teenager and his friend yelled to me that I was a fat pig, I waited until they had passed and then burst into tears I told no one because I was ashamed. I don’t mention this to get sympathy or pity I mention it to give you a clue as to where I was once mentally when people made comments about me and my body, I cared so much.

If you are someone who doesn’t look conventionally good or someone who is overweight or underweight you will know the same way I do when someone is looking you up and down and making a judgment.

Two weeks ago on my first day as a married woman, myself and my husband went out for a meal together.

Two years ago I bought a dress I loved, it is maroon and my style of dress through and through. It has sat gathering dust in my wardrobe since I bought it, I didn’t have the confidence to wear it, I didn’t want people to see my not flat stomach or the cellulite on my thighs.

Two months ago I had a life changing experience, I realised things I never had before and felt a new way about myself I never had before.

So two weeks ago, as I got ready for my date with my husband fuelled with a new confidence and a complete lack of care for what others thought I put on my dress for the first time. I felt good and was happy to hear that my husband thought I looked sexy (not used to seeing me in a dress).

We left the house and got on a bus, having got this look all my life I knew what it meant only this time it was more exaggerated as if to say ‘why are you wearing a dress?’ from the gentleman at the front of the bus. I shrugged and brushed it off, however this happened four more times throughout the course of our dinner and walk afterwards and the journey home.

The strangest thing happened, I didn’t care. I didn’t care that strangers who didn’t know me looked at me and decided that I shouldn’t dress the way I want to, that I shouldn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t care that they thought someone like me shouldn’t be in a dress.

After years of avoiding dresses because of the way people looked at me, after the experience I had two weeks ago. I went out and bought another dress.

Here is what I know, my body is for me, it’s for me to use to experience the world around me, it’s for me to dress the way I want to style the way I want.

Your body is for you and I don’t care what you do with yours, please extend me the same courtesy.

 

Why do people care so much about the way you look? Because people like to judge strangers they know nothing about.

Can I sing?

When I’m dancing about the house with my headphones in doing my cleaning, washing dishes or working my way through a pile of ironing I like to sing along with the songs. For most people their voices don’t register to highly on the decibel scale, my voice however is off the charts. The volume of my voice is unbelievable and uncontrollable.

One of my favourite songs to belt out is “And I Am Telling You” by Jennifer Hudson, I get far to in to the song and convince myself that my house is a stadium. I belt out every high note I can, the issue with that is I sound like a bag of cats being strangled. It is beyond me that my neighbours have never once reported a woman being murdered, the noise that comes out of my mouth is just awful.

Will that stop me? Absolutely not! I will sing to my heart’s content, it’s the best form of stress relief I can get while simultaneously getting loads of housework done.

Can I sing? Yes, is it good? Hell no.

Why is it always ninjas?

I’m sitting in class listening to the teacher drone on about something or other, my eyes focussed on the window and as it often does for reasons unbeknown to me I start thinking about ninjas. Feel no need to adjust your specs or zoom in you read right a 25-year-old woman who daydreams about ninjas.

What would they do I hear no one ask? Well my friend first off they would break through the windows and there would be mass panic and confusion, then they would be looking for I don’t know some sort of lost artefact, or my concentration which they would not find. After that of course a ninja fight breaks out with the rival gang of ninja’s who just burst in the door, then about a 15-minute kick ass ninja fight goes on.

Meanwhile I’ve just zoned out for 20 minutes and have no idea what’s going on in class, this happens to me when I’m waiting for interviews, when I’m on the bus, sitting in the doctor’s office. I have no concentration; I’m either daydreaming away or I’m hyper focussed on something but it always seems to be the former.

Why is it always ninjas?  I don’t think there is any situation that can’t be made more interesting with ninjas thrown into the mix.

Who do you thank when you don’t believe in god?

I’ve had an anxiety disorder for over ten years now and as a result of that I go through bouts of depression where I feel so completely overwhelmed with life and I get to the stage where I feel like my life is all negatives and nothing is good.

I’m not someone who thinks that you should just forget all of the things in your life that are hard or difficult, but I do believe that the mind is a powerful thing. The reason I think this is because every time I get so low I don’t want to get out of bed, every time I feel like there’s nothing left living for, when I feel like I’m walking around with bricks in my chest I have this thing that I do.

It never fails, not once has it let me down or failed to improve how I feel if only by a little. I make a list in my head of all of the things that I’m thankful for and on the days where it doesn’t feel like much I start small.

I’m thankful that I can see, hear, smell, taste and touch and that I can use all of these senses to enjoy the world around me

I’m thankful that I can sit up, stand, walk, run, dance, shower, go to the bathroom on my own, feed myself, have sex, go to college, sing and do all of the other things I enjoy doing

I’m thankful that I have the ability to love, hate, care for others, be strong, be weak, to feel overwhelming grief as a result of overwhelming love and to be myself with myself and others

I’m thankful that I have friends and family that I love and can depend and rely on, that I can lean on them when I need to, that we can be in each other’s life and enrich those lives together

I’m thankful that I get to spend my life with my best friend and soul mate (if you believe in that sort of thing) a man who stands by me in life and never wavers in his support, love or loyalty

Ultimately the list goes on and on and I add more to it, and every time I get to the end I feel better and most of the time I feel blessed and so fortunate to have the life that I do. Acknowledging that things aren’t always and can’t always be so awful, taking a few minutes to take stock of what my life is helps me to step further away from the feelings I don’t want and helps me remember all of the feelings I enjoy.

So who do you thank for all of these amazing things when you don’t believe in God?

I’m not sure but I’m thankful all the same.

Why am I so mad at someone who’s dead?

I’m getting married and a few weeks ago I finally found ‘the dress’ I had tried on others before that and instantly knew that they were not my dress. I couldn’t get the zipper up on my own (I’m convinced this is the real reason you have bridesmaids), I went round to my dad’s with the dress anxious and hopeful that this would be the one, another box to tick off my wedding to do list. My dad’s partner who has been like my personal assistant with the wedding helped me zip it up.

I stood looking at myself happy that this was exactly what I wanted, I swayed a little to see the material move and heard the words “it’s gorgeous, you look beautiful” and I really felt it. Suddenly I had a lump in my throat and really fought the urge to burst into tears. I smiled and took the dress of but for the rest of that day I was so angry, I carried it around all day and for days after and still now.

I’m angry at a dead person and that still makes no sense to me. My mum should have been there that day to see me, she would have loved to have seen it. And I’m very angry at her that she won’t be at my wedding. I’m so angry that I’m completely devastated.

The idea of being angry at someone for dying has always baffled me, I wasn’t one of those people, I didn’t know because I had never lost someone. Then three years ago I was one of them and nobody ever warns you what grief is going to be like. There was nobody to say all of those happy moments in your life will always feel just a shade off because you know someone is missing.

Grief isn’t a checklist you can go through it’s so individual and personal I just never expected to be so mad that she died, that she left me.

So mum…if there is an afterlife (I’m still not convinced) and you know that I’m mad at you, I’m just going to keep on being mad until I’m not, I’m going to be mad that I lost my mum, my friend and someone I loved and respected so much.

Why am I so mad at a dead person?

Because I miss her.