Tuesday, May 31, 2016
I never knew how to explain or diagnose the anxiety or fear [ + radical emotionalism] I suffered. One of its peaks was during the army. I didn't even call it anxiety yet, I didn't know what to call it. I didn't know how to explain why I was so overwhelmed and sad and crying all the time like a lost child for almost two years (that's what I was; that's how I felt. So helpless! Walking around feeling afraid!), while other people had to do those occasional week-long guarding jobs and weekends on base instead of me because I just couldn't.
Only after I left I called it anxiety and wanted to write letters to my commanders explaining this, to soften the image I thought they must have had of me of someone weak or even spoiled who couldn't deal with anything and got to be exempted from annoying tasks. At least saying you have something specific sounds more serious. I didn't write the letters, and it became not important after a while.
I sometimes feel fearful and very anxious.
And once in a long while it escalates to a state of mental suffering and helplessness.
It happens when I'm unable to get to a "safe place" or when I have to face authority.
I think there is a combination of different anxieties in me.
And there is something a little bipolar about me, too.
Sometimes I get so sad, just sad, from all the anxiety and stress of being, that I cry and cry and cry and say awful things like that I don't know why I'm even alive.
And then I get to my safe zone, like home. And I do something familiar, like taking a shower, and it's as if these waters of safety and assurance just wash away the anxiety, and I come out feeling totally different, not even able to understand how I'd felt so horrible beforehand.
After the horrible anxiety, my mind inevitably calms down again. It gets to its worst point, and then declines. When the anxiety happens, I just have to learn to be patient and live it out, wait the long hours until it passes, until I calm down again. It always happens, it always ends. I'm always happy again eventually.
Sometimes I just need to tell my dearest beloved life partner, "when this happens, just help me pass the hours until it goes away."
Monday, May 23, 2016
I can't fall asleep because I'm too excited. It happens sometimes.
USA in a minivan!
I'm excited also because the compost project I'm heading in Beit Shemesh (plus another project of planting fruit trees around the city) is going to happen! More about this in another post...
I realize that the verbal impediment probably stems from the same place as my anxiety from interactions with people.
Not all people.
There are some people who I meet and feel very comfortable with. These are usually soft-spoken, patient, calm, sweet people, who make their tolerance, attentiveness and empathy a lifestyle.
But many people I encounter - bosses, for instance, or people with authority or power over me - make me feel so frightened, so anxious, so conscientious, that I find myself dreading every confrontation with them, not finding words to express anything, not wanting to express anything, being so careful, and tiptoeing around my own self like a thief.
And on those rare occasions when I do happen to meet wondrous people who make me feel at home, it makes me so joyful that I nearly skip all the way home and I tell Tal all about it.
(Photo I took in Lithuania)
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
So, what's your part in this? Who are you?
I was asked by a lovely woman who comes to the meetings I organize for environmental activism in my hometown and lends good and poignant ideas.
Because basically, I'm this random young woman here who put together a group of people and is organizing these meetings and trying to start environmental projects in my town, and she doesn't actually know who I am and where I popped out from all of a sudden.
But when people ask me a question off guard, I cannot properly answer. Heck, even when people ask me a question not off guard, I cannot properly answer.
I have difficulty locating words from my brain while speaking (especially to strangers and to adults). I once read this problem as a characteristic of introvert-ism, and I don't know if that is the case, but I know that this is a problem I have. It makes me feel stupid in the eyes of others; I know what I want to say or what information I have to share, but I can't seem to pull the words out correctly. Sometimes I mess up feminine and masculine in Hebrew, with words that in writing I'd never mistake. I try to talk slowly so that the words will have time to come to the surface and out of my mouth, but sometimes they never come out and then I am left with long pauses I can't seem to fill.
Verbal ability is basic and crucial in our daily lives, but I find myself stumbling through verbality with a lot of frustration.
Despite this obstacle, which has been evident to me for many years, the fields I find most important to immerse myself in are ones which require communicating verbally with many other people. I am knowingly challenging my difficulty, and I feel that the challenge is worth while. It surprises me sometimes that we humans are able to face our fears and do things we believe in despite them.
I have been working in education with children for many years, which I love, but in frameworks that require a lot of talking to adults, too. And recently I decided to put together a group of people in our town interested in getting involved in environmental activism, and I lead these meetings and need to actually talk to people I'm not familiar with, about issues I'm not 100% certain of (being not 100% certain about something strengthens the weakness, by adding the fucked up shade of insecurity to the already claustrophobic words).
I used to say that doing these things works on my Courage muscles, and I used to like to believe that working on those muscles makes them stronger, but their strengthening is slower than I'd always wanted or expected.
It's true that I used to almost faint before having to speak in public, or I had to write out phone conversations word for word before I was able to muster up the courage to dial to someone unfamiliar (and not hang up before they answered), and now I don't feel lightheaded, only nervous, when I need to speak (and I force myself to be in situations in which I need to speak because it's important to me), and I'm able to make phone calls sometimes without planning out every word. But I'm still scared, I'm still insecure, I'm still expecting too much of words that are nestled deeply in my head and nervously hide from other people.
I can write. It's what I do. And I wish I could go through life writing instead of speaking. I wish I could convey ideas and morals through writing, I wish I could convince people of things through writing. But sometimes it seems I just have to make those phone calls, and lead those meetings, and say "Thank you" face to face to people I really want to thank all the time.
Spoken words float out of me slowly.
(Photos from Lithuania last week)