To Be Seen Again

One of the hardest things I have been dealing with these last few months is a sense of not wanting to be seen. I don’t want to be seen by the world, by the people in it, by even friends of mine and sometimes by my own family. It’s as if everyone is going to see all my pain and shame just by looking at me and even worse, they will see how much I’ve failed.

In my mind it’s like nobody has anything better to do than to look at me and judge me. Which we all know is a complete fallacy, a trick of the mind, but a really good trick because it feel so true.

The real truth is that I don’t go out in the world judging people. I’m not sizing anyone up. If I ever do it’s because of some sort of envy or admiration, which can be both good and bad. But in my heart, I don’t want to judge anyone and I believe a lot of people feel the same way. Additionally, most people are really only interested in their own stuff, their own life, their own weight gain or loss, their own hair, their own makeup, their own outfit and just so focused on themselves that they really aren’t looking at me.

On several occasions recently I’ve shared with my husband that I feel unable to do something because I just don’t want to be seen. It’s an undeniable feeling, it’s intrusive, it’s anxiety producing and just plain sad. He tries to understand. He’s good like that. But I don’t think I fully understand it. It’s part of this depression, anxiety, bipolar goop. It’s part of a shame I’ve lived with for too long. It’s actually quite self-centered. I’m truly not the center of the universe, or am I? 😉

I know a large measure of this is due to body image issues as well. Can anyone relate? I’ve gained A LOT of weight over the last year due to poor diet, inactivity due to depression and medications. For all the wrong reasons, when I am overweight I feel under-lovable. The more the weight, the less worth I have. And during this time, I need to feel loved more than ever. It’s as though if I’m not pretty on the outside, then you will know I’m not pretty on the inside, either.

Whether it be society, childhood trauma or self-sabotage, it doesn’t matter the cause because I’m stuck in the feeling of wanting to disappear, regardless. But somehow, deep inside me, I have to find the love. I have to find the love for myself, I have to find my identity in Christ and the courage to bravely face the world despite how much I feel like shrinking back inside myself or under the covers.

So, I’m working on that. I’m facing the world when I have to and sometimes when I don’t. Like when I went to the Go Blog Social conference several weeks ago, or when I went to a bible journaling meet-up this past weekend anticipating a small crowd (turns out there were only two of us there). And when I go to church on Sundays, I’m facing it. And I’m spending time in the Word again. I’m listening to worship music and spending time in devotionals and Bible study. I’m bible journaling. I’m listening to faith based audio books (never have done this before) and surrounding myself with His message. (If you are struggling with feeling beautiful and lovable I highly recommend the “You’re Beautiful” devotional that comes in the “Beautiful” devotional kit by Illustrated Faith. I’m working through this now and it’s touching me right in the most tender places of my heart.)

I’m doing these things and more (like starting to incorporate healthy eating habits into my life again). I am taking action. And I’m working to really embrace the fact that my worth is not completely tied to my appearance. I am seeking the knowledge that it can be okay for my pain to be visible and it can be okay that I am visible again. Maybe the world wants me in it? Maybe the world will be a slightly better place if I participate in it? Maybe, it will be good to be seen.

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”.png

I’m Kind of a Mess

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I’m kind of an ever-lovin’ mess. You know, the completely disheveled kind, that can only manage a few things in a day or their mind explodes? That kind.

I really don’t want to be this way, I want to have my stuff together. And I have the best intentions of doing so…but then the morning comes, the kids are off to school (and that can be a big ordeal, let me tell you – youngest child has severe autism – need I say more?), my psych meds leave me all groggy or my fibromyalgia pain has kicked in, or both…and there I am trying to muster the energy to do anything. I get really stuck at this point, trying to determine which way to go and what to do next.

Today, I took care of something really important that took about an hour…and then I did my new devotional and then, I closed my eyes. Two hours later and it’s like most of my day was gone which makes this mommy grumpy. I’m supposed to give myself some slack for this kind of thing, I’m supposed to go easy on myself as I’m in the process of coming back from a long dark horrible bout of bipolar depression. But my head, says things like, “You’re a loser. You’re ridiculous…you need a nap after being up for 3 hours? Why can’t you get your act together? You have a ton of laundry to do…don’t you think your family really needs you to do that for them?” And then, naturally I feel like crap.

That crappy feeling, well, it leads to more crappy feelings and then I’m sitting here at the computer telling you all how crappy I feel. It’s kind of a bad deal. And actually, I just chuckled at myself and sighed…because I guess I’m on this roller coaster of ups and downs. And, I did do a couple of other important adult type things before I got on this computer that I’ve been putting off for a long time. So that’s good and positive and I should be a little bit proud of that. Sometimes, the little steps are big steps and the little steps take you to the same destination as big steps…and my current destination is recovery.

I don’t know if I will ever feel like one of those people who “has it all together” but hopefully someday I’m going to feel proud of myself and proud of my accomplishments, big or small, without downgrading them. Hopefully, I’m on the road to being me again and that road is just going to have its moments, good and bad, just like everyone else’s does.