maybe someday…

I find myself repeating “maybe someday” an awful lot recently. My mental illnesses are currently making it difficult or even impossible to do things I wish I was able to do. Will I ever be able to go for a walk on my own again? Maybe someday. Will I ever work again? Maybe someday. Will I ever perform in community theatre productions again? Maybe someday. Will I ever be able to see my friends and family without discomfort? Maybe someday.

“Maybe somedays” are hopes, dreams, goals, aspirations. Sometimes maybe somedays are desperate answers to prying questions (i.e. “are you working again yet?”) that highlight things I can’t do that I feel sensitive about.

The hard part comes when I have to accept that despite my best efforts my “someday” hasn’t arrived yet. Last week I had to cancel my trip with my husband to Stratford, Ontario for next month. Stratford is my place. If you dissected me and turned my contents in to a city, it would be Stratford. Theatre (musicals! Shakespeare!), music, art, cute shops, restaurants, friendly people, parks, water, mature trees, etc. Whenever I go to Stratford, I feel like I am connecting with something that is truly a part of myself. I used to go every year. I haven’t been able to go since 2015, since my depression and anxiety worsened. I dared to dream I could manage the trip this year. There are no words to convey how sad I am that I can’t.

Maybe someday. Maybe someday I will return to Stratford.

I digress.

Maybe somedays can be uplifting or heartbreaking, it all depends on perspective and circumstance. Maybe someday means that there is hope, but not immediately. I know I’m not alone here, I know that many people with illnesses of all forms are torn between hope and desperation over the things they are currently unable to do.

I try goal setting, I try to gradually work towards being able to accomplish what seems so out of reach. This too can be either motivating or discouraging. I can see myself making progress and rejoice in small victories. “I left the house! Take that agoraphobia, that’s what progress looks like!” I can also see how very inconsequential my progress is, fixate on how many more small steps there are before I reach my goal and how these steps continue to be so draining. “So what if I left the house? Most people leave the house every day and most of them can do it alone without panicking.” Don’t even get me started on how it feels when I compare my current goals to the ones I had a few years back when I was unknowingly blessed with decent health. Comparison is fuel to the fires of depression and anxiety, and those fires are already burning me too much.

Lately I feel like I am being suffocated by my maybe somedays. They seem unachievable, completely out of reach. I’m not blind to my progress over the past couple of years, but there is far more ground ahead of me than what has been covered.

I could fill thousands of pages with my maybe somedays. I cower under the magnitude of the things I can’t do but wish I could. My maybe somedays range from things as seemingly small as, “maybe someday I will be able to do the groceries” to, “maybe someday I will be healthy and stable enough to be a mother”. They can be both things that others take for granted and things that are a challenge for anyone. It can be incredibly tempting to just stop trying. My husband has heard me more than once contemplate whether I would be happier if I just gave in and lived like a hermit, if I just accepted my limitations and stopped trying to overcome them. In my more rational moments, I recognize that I can’t expect myself to do everything and that balance is important. In my less rational moments I wonder whether there is even a point of being alive with so many road blocks ahead of me. Is the amount of progress I need to make to be a functional human even attainable?

I don’t have answers. I think maybe the best thing is to try to focus on what I am able to do and try to build mastery of things, one at a time. Perhaps trying to quiet the looming thoughts about the bigger more heartbreaking maybe somedays would help me focus on more achievable short-term goals. All I can tell you with certainty is that I have been working tirelessly to improve my mental health for over two years now and as time goes on it feels like I am accumulating more maybe somedays than I am accomplishing.

Will I ever lead a full life unencumbered by illness? I don’t know, maybe someday.

Take care,

Fiona

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2 thoughts on “maybe someday…

  1. Hi Fiona,
    My name is Jane. I am 61 years old and I have been managing anxiety disorder in my life since I was 15 years old. I say managing because I don’t think that people with anxiety are ever cured. It is the way that we react to the world and with medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, meditation, yoga, baking, swimming, family support whatever combination does it for you you can get your anxiety under control.
    I know that it is difficult work and I know that some days it just feels like too much work.
    Two things that have helped me along the way are first when I am in a state of high anxiety as it sounds like you are now keep your goals small and reachable and CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENT when you go out the door to the end of your walk. Don’t compare yourself to someone who doesn’t have anxiety. Does a person who is learning to move a finger after a car accident compare themselves to an Olympic athlete? You need to start small, celebrate yourself when you achieve it because you know what an effort it was for you.
    It is OK to have goals for the future like work and children, but if you carry around a big list of “Maybe Someday”s with you every day that can really weigh you down and add to your depression.
    When today’s goal is leave the house I think it is better to put goals like work and children in the parking lot to come back to later when you are ready. You know where they are, but you don’t have to think about them today.
    My second tip is to think of an anxiety attack as a wave on the ocean. When you feel the anxiety building you can say to yourself, “Ok here it comes again. I know that this is how I react to the world. This feeling of anxiety will build up in me like a wave. Then it will peak. At its peak I will be very uncomfortable. But, I’m used to being uncomfortable. I have lived through it before and I will live through it again. After a wave peaks – it dies down. After my anxiety peaks it will die down. It is always the same pattern. It does not last forever. I will live through it. If I can control my fear of the anxiety by realizing that it will come in a wave, have a peak then weaken and receded I can ride the wave and come out the other side feeling much better.
    I hope this helps a bit. I will read your blog again. Be kind to yourself, Fiona. Anxiety is difficult.
    I wish you peace, Jane

    Like

    • Thank you Jane. I appreciate all of your tips. I am working on those now. Thank you for sharing the wisdom of your experience. I agree, I don’t think anxiety is cured in most cases, it is all about managing it.

      Like

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