Can’t Go Over It, Can’t Go Around It, Must Go Through It

You wake up in the morning, and you feel fine. You walk the dogs, and you feel fine. You kiss your husband goodbye and head out for the day, and you feel fine. Your annual checkup goes quickly, and she doesn’t make you feel old for not having a baby yet, which is something to feel good about. You decide to walk across the park instead of taking the bus, and on the way you leave a voicemail for your friend, in which you detail out your day: “I just went to the doctor, and now I’m heading to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up some stuff for the apartment, and then I’m going to FlyBarre. Oh my goodness, I sound like a…35 year old, because that is what I’m going to be in just a few months.” You continue walking, your head swirling. Is today any different than yesterday? Didn’t I do this last week too? Isn’t this what I do, almost every day of my life now? Gym, errands, volunteer, read. A nap around 3. Dinner with my husband when he comes home from his busy day of actual work and acting. HGTV. Go to bed, wake up, repeat. What am I doing with my life? Who am I? Did I accidentally give up on myself?

You enter Bed Bath & Beyond in a trance, that familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach. It starts as a small little seed, right underneath your heart. Sometimes a deep breath takes care of it, but today that isn’t the case. It expands slowly, spreading its invisible poison to your stomach lining, a warm sour feeling that makes your lungs feel like they’re being attacked by a thin cloud of smoke. They seize up, and your breath starts coming a little shorter. All this time, you are pushing your cart around the store, trying to concentrate on hangers and spatulas. Every person you smile at who doesn’t smile back feels like a personal affront, an ice cube in stomach, and you wonder why you bother. You head to the toiletry section, which is normally one of your happy places, but it’s difficult to focus your eyes on anything. Each item you place in your cart is a a miniature attempt to seal up the hole that is slowly opening in your gut, but the thrill of picking it up vanishes as soon as you claim it as your own. You text your husband, “It’s one of those days.” When he immediately writes back with his love and support, the knot travels up to your throat, and you have a vision of a world in which you sit down right by the Oxi-Clean and let the tears flow. But you don’t.

With a few deep breaths and the grace of an exceptionally kind cashier, you make it outside. Your husband suggested that exercise might make you feel a little better, and while you doubt anything can help, you head to the studio. The sun is shining and you are able to recognize the beauty surrounding you, but are unable to participate. Your mind is both quiet and racing at the same time with incoherent thoughts that you don’t have the energy to finish.

Class begins, and having something to focus on helps the smallest bit. You find yourself smiling tentatively at your instructor, who you don’t know, but he treats every individual in class like a best friend. You find yourself working harder so the man radiating kindness and positive energy will notice you and cheer you on. Towards the end of the 45 minute class, when this joyful man breaks into an impromptu ballet combination that exudes freedom and surrender, you realize you are breathing normally again. You check in with your brain and see that it has calmed itself a bit.

You walk home through the same world you were in just an hour ago, but now it is different. Yellow looks like yellow again, and green is bright and lush. You are a part of the world again. If you can get through a moment, you can get through a day.

Can’t go over it, can’t go around it, must go through it.

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22 thoughts on “Can’t Go Over It, Can’t Go Around It, Must Go Through It

  1. Thanks so much for sharing! Yes, just one of those days. Sometimes I’m wondering if there are too many one of those days, maybe it’s time to change – well, it needs courage to go through it, and to change. Hope everything will be finer with you! And love your blogs as always. Nice weekend!

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  2. I’ve purposely avoided reading this for the past week, as I had a gut-feeling what it’d be about and I wasn’t sure I could handle it right now, however stupid that might sound. I have good days all the time, days where everything seems to be perfect, but then it’s like a switch flips inside and it feels like the world is crumbling. I guess that’s what anxiety does to you. Sneaks up on you when you least expect it. As an avid over-thinker, it is usually very difficult for me to shut those kind of thoughts out. Which is probably why I’ve avoided this post of yours for a week, because I didn’t want to open up my own can of worms. I’m really glad I read it though, as I admire your openness about having “one of those days”. I think more people have them than we care to realize. Good on you for finding the little things to help you through it, and reading about other people’s struggles and how they deal can often be almost therapeutic in a way. So thank you for that. The grass can often look greener on the other side, but I’m happy whenever we all find common-ground and see that it’s sort of always the same shade, it just depends on what light we shine on it. Just know those moments creep up on an almost 29-year old Swedish girl just as easily as it does for you. Maybe that’s some comfort – that the world isn’t always as big as it feels.

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  3. So true. I am 23 and have had debilitating general anxiety along with social anxiety since I was 11. Sometimes it has been better. Over the years I have had periods of relief but with starting a new college recently it’s back and I’ve had to learn to cope again. Really needed this reminder. Thanks πŸ™‚

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  4. That’s pretty much hitting the nail on the head, and even if I can’t relate to the instructor part, it had a very familiar feeling as to finding rays of lights into things you do. There is something utterly strange and fantastic into finding so many bits of myself into posts coming from the other side of the world. You look like someone worth being close friend with, and it’s something I don’t say very often. I love your blog.

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  5. Beautiful & honest – thank you for this!
    I’m sharing this with my fellow PMDD sufferers – I KNOW it will help someone feel a little stronger, a little more hopeful, even if for just a moment.
    To have someone you can text “one of those days” – I have that too, and it’s priceless.

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  6. Wow I love this peice. I would think you would never feel like someone like me. A 43 year old with two kids, I lost my beloved cat Monday night (after coming home from paley fest and seeing the affair cast). And spending most days feeling lost and wondering what is next. You seem to have it so together. Thanks for writing.

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  7. I’m picking myself up off the floor right next to my Oxi-Clean to find a class with a wonderful and slightly insane instructor. Thank you, Patti Murin. I love you, girl.

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  8. Patti, I know exactly how you feel and really appreciate the articulate way you expressed the feelings. I have days like those as well. When I’m in them, it feels like nothing will ever change. You’re right that exercise sometimes helps if I can force myself to go! I really enjoy your writing style and your topics. Thanks so much!

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