The title of this pretty much says it all. Dealing with the past… Living in the present… Hoping for the best future.
If you’ve read some of my posts, by now you know that I am very open about my anxiety these days. I don’t share these feelings for sympathy though. I share them so that others facing similar feelings know that they aren’t alone. Over the past couple of months in particular though, my anxiety has popped up stronger than it has in a long, long time. I am at a point where I feel like I just don’t know what to do or how to handle it right now. Usually, this is a short, situational thing… but this time has been longer and a constant, emotional struggle. I try to chalk it up to my own inconsistent, random, chaotic schedule… but realistically, I know in my heart that there is much, much more to this than I usually like to admit. Not only does my life lack any real routine (which is nice at times, but definitely is a source of instability), but I am also dealing with some heavy stuff.
As you all know, my grandfather passed several months ago. I have taken it hard, but I have also found positive ways to honor his memory. In the past few months, I have started to find a new normal and I have been doing my best to live a more proactive lifestyle. I have focused on getting things done one thing at a time and living in the moment. I have also tried harder to focus less on the people who aren’t as active in my life and more on the people who are. I have been trying to do things that help me grasp the fact that I can’t change the past but that I can do my best to create a more positive future. I am realizing that I have SOME control over how I allow my past to control my life currently. This random phase of my life has been hard emotionally though because my grandfather really was the most constant father figure I’ve had throughout my life (aside from my mom’s husband now and my husband’s father.) My grandfather’s passing has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to learn how to deal with in my life though…
Most recently, I have been actively trying to focus on building more positive family relationships. My life as a whole has mostly consisted of a handful of really, really close relationships, minimal interaction relationships, very, very toxic relationships that I have had to cut ties to or distance myself from AND relationships that I am just now learning how to build because they haven’t always been a constant in my life. My biological father hasn’t always been active in my life and I have made peace with that. My life turned out okay, so I don’t feel the need blame or resent him for not being around when I was younger. I am trying to focus on the fact that he wants to start building a closer relationship with me now that he will be moving back to Tennessee next month. As excited as I am for the potential for a closer relationship with him, I am scared of my own wishful thinking too though. It doesn’t mean that I am angry if he and I don’t become best friends overnight. I just don’t want to give myself false hope that it will be a perfect relationship either. I also don’t really want to approach this potential new chapter of our relationship with too much skepticism and it be the reason that we don’t get closer either. What makes it harder is that I am struggling with the guilt I feel for protecting myself emotionally from some other toxic relationships within that family dynamic that have hurt me in the past that have nothing to do with my relationship with my biological father except for the fact that they are related to him. It comes down to the fact that I refuse to willingly allow a toxic person back into my life after they have already caused me so much pain. It doesn’t mean that I don’t forgive the fact that this person hurt me in the past, but I don’t feel that I should have to put myself back into a toxic relationship either. On top of this, I have two siblings that I barely even know who live 700 miles away and I NEED (for their sake and my own) to start building more consistent relationships with them. More importantly though, I WANT those relationships in my life. They’re at the age that I was when I started really wanting to know more about this side of the family. I’ve recently started actively communicating with my sister and her mom and I am grateful that we are starting to slowly build relationships. I am finding that we have more in common than I ever imagined. I want to get to know my brother on that side better too. Being the “big sister”, I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility (which I am more than happy to take on) to be someone who they feel they can reach out to. I don’t want to fail them. I’ve been on their side of this fence before and it can be painful.
This leads me back to anxiety… There are so many factors that I am dealing with that are beyond my own immediate control and the stress and worry of it all is manifesting itself into anxiety and OCD tendencies. I literally spent 7 hours cleaning my house to the point of pure exhaustion just because my brain decided it HAD to be done. It was my brain’s way of creating some feeling of stability and control. I haven’t slept well. I’m feeling edgy. On top of all of this, I am also dealing with a new thyroid medication change that I thought would help me sleep better (it hasn’t) and instead, I am staying up way too late and then feel like a zombie throughout the day. I know that my anxiety is definitely playing a role in my habits too though. I don’t feel depressed. I feel overwhelmed. I can’t shut my brain off and I am constantly feeling like I am on the verge of tears. Ultimately, I know that this is all a reaction to my current situations and feeling like everything that I am worrying about is beyond my control, but it’s emotionally exhausting. I pray about this situation and I know, in the end, it will all work out… but I still worry. I still find myself asking “What if???” The problem is that the answers aren’t there yet because I’m living with anxiety of the future and I know that…
As much as I am an “open book” about things, I have really, really struggled to openly admit that these are the things I am dealing with emotionally. I feel some sense of shame for being so overwhelmed by these things because I know that it is easy for outsiders to say, “You can’t do anything about it, so you need to stop worrying so much”… That has ALWAYS been something I have struggled with though. I would worry if I didn’t have something to worry about. I know that the things I am dealing with emotionally aren’t my fault, but I also know that somewhere deep inside of me, I have the ability to allow or not allow these things to take over my brain. I’ve just hit a point where I just don’t know how to shut off the worrying RIGHT NOW. There are too many unknown factors. Maybe it’s because these relationships (and the fears and frustrations that come with them) are something that I don’t need to brush under the rug though. I need and want to find a way to find some peace about them and I don’t think that pretending that these things don’t exist will ever give me the solution. I’ve forgiven the past but I’m scared that the future isn’t going to look “picture perfect” either though. It’s not that I even expect “picture perfect”… I just want healthy, loving interactions for the future. I’m not looking to place blame on anyone for the past. I want to move forward and focus on having healthy relationships that are MEANT TO BE a part of my life in the future.
None of us all have all of the answers to every problem or struggle we face. We can forgive and move forward though. We have to take each issue one at a time. We owe it to ourselves to create positive, meaningful relationships with each other too. We can’t change the past, but we all have the ability to move toward a positive future.