Anxiety Monster Strikes Again

In true “my life is a made-for-TV movie” moment, it would appear my words have summoning powers. I just wrote two blog entries about someone critical to my growth as a person who is no longer in my life. On another social forum I wrote a blog entry, again referencing them (it can’t be helped! They are key back story people!) … and that one they saw. Which, I kinda figured they would … just like I’m certain they’ve seen anything else I’ve posted that people have liked/commented on for that site (privacy is an illusion, folks).

Except this time … they reached out.
So on Saturday morning, on my way to a vet clinic to get my cats their yearly shots, there was the notification of a message.

This would not be the first time he reached out – there was a message in December about returning something I made as a gift for him, and I decided for my own sanity at that time to not reply to it. We’ve bumped into each other a few times in public in the years since we split, most notably last month where he tried to say hi and I tried to avoid eye contact at all cost while physically moving myself away from him and we spent the whole night not going to other side of the room because that’s where the other was. But writing the last few entries as I have, talking candidly with BF about relationships and people of the past and moving forward has brought all of my exes to the forefront of my mind. I just never thought one would reach out so … boldly? friendly? casually? I’m not sure of the word here.

Naturally, as I’m wont to do (and you’re wont to know by now) I panic-flailed. I may have not been the one to end our relationship, but I cut him out of my life. I was the one who said I never wanted to speak to him again. I’m the one who refuses to acknowledge him when our paths cross. His message was kind and sympathetic, and complimentary of the writing he had read. And I was both gleeful that I had correctly guessed what a message from him might say, and very wary. This time I knew I wanted to respond but with what exactly? Was there any value in me responding? Was there any worth in opening the door for … an acquaintanceship? a friendship? Could I finally get some answers to questions that have bothered me for years?

If you have ever suffered with anxiety, or an anxiety disorder, then you know I just gave the beast a feast. The Anxiety Monster latched on to this like it hadn’t eaten in years and it stumbled into a buffet. All the “what ifs” starting popping before my eyes and I was overwhelmed. I fretted. I even paced back and forth a bit. I would bring a point up to BF and we’d talk through it … and 30 minutes later I had a different point, a different spin. I reached out to close friends – one person who knew us both, and two people who only heard my side of the tale, but all who were there during the highs and lows. BF was the rock I bounced everything off of, but he has only known me in the After Era, and only heard stories about this ex (and most of them not quite flattering).

The longer I turned things over in my mind, the more the Anxiety Monster roared, soon joined by the People Pleaser. People Pleaser wanted to remind me of all the people affected no matter what I did, and seemed none-to-concerned with what I wanted. How would it look to this ex if I didn’t respond? What does that say about you as a person? Have you not grown, should you not show them you have and are the bigger person now? What about BF, though? Imagine how he feels watching you write long messages to an ex? What about the friends who held you during the lowest moments of the break-up? Are you saying their efforts were for not if you go back to being friends with this person?

It took about 30 hours before I could make a decision. This included going around and around in my mind, needing to take a precious sleeping pill to try to sleep through the night, and many attempts to silence these monsters into believing that my needs are the most important and the only ones that matter in my choice. I deserve to be at peace with my decision, no matter how the rumour mill churns and what others might say. As long as I’m square with my house that’s all I have control over, and that is something I’ll believe in for as long as I live.

No matter what I decided (since it’s irrelevant to this post) I fought against some pretty powerful demons this weekend. And sometimes it’s just enough to note that it happened. And blog about it, because writing and documenting and re-reading blog entries makes me happy. And it’s good to know that I overcame the loud noises – that I made the decision that, I felt, was right for me in the moment and I’m glad I did what I’ve chosen to do.

Sometimes keeping the Anxiety Monster at bay is work enough.

~ J

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