A couple of weeks ago, I went to a fundraiser for Beto O’Rourke. I listened to him speak (very eloquently, I might add), and I even raised my hand during the Q&A and asked him two questions about mental health. Then I asked him if we could talk privately later. It didn’t seem weird to me then, but later as we were leaving, David commented, “I’m proud of you for asking questions. There was a time where you wouldn’t have done that.” There was a time, where I wouldn’t have left David’s side at the fundraiser, but I made the rounds, chatting people up with David no where in sight. Hell, there was a time when I would’ve begged to stay home, lost that battle, and just been miserable the whole time.
I sat there and thought about this all the way home. What was different? I definitely had social anxiety back then…where did it go? It does take me a minute to warm up to new people, but not like before. Did all those ECTs rattle my social anxiety out of me? Or maybe it’s the Adderall? Although it’s no miracle drug.
Maybe it’s because I have something to say. I have lots to say. And I’m proud of myself for all that I do. I’m passionate about it. I love talking about mental health, my columns, blogs and work with NAMI GCC. It sets my soul on fire. But at the same time…wasn’t I interesting before I started my blog and everything else fell into place? I hate to admit this, because I truly don’t believe this way, but was I embarrassed that I was a stay at home mom? That can’t be it, because that’s literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done (when the kids were smaller). It was soooo hard, and I admire any mom who does it. Obviously, I couldn’t do it, I ended up in a mental hospital.
As I’m writing this, I think I know what happened — freedom. The phoenix rose inside of me. There’s a prose poem that I feel in my core:
“Some nights the wolf inside me shrinks to nothing, she bares her teeth and runs away. The dragon in my chest rejects me, she’s so tired of being slain. There are nights when the lioness cowers, says she can’t fight it another day…”
“What about the phoenix?”
“She sits with me in the darkness. She whispers ‘we’ll rise. Just you wait.'”/ srwpoettry
I feel I have risen. That my soul is pouring out of me (in a good way). That I’m free. I no longer fit in any kind of box anyone has ever tried to put me in, and that feels amazing. So amazing. I’m freer than I’ve ever been. That’s where my social anxiety went — it was erased by self-confidence and not giving a crap what others think. Although I still get hurt when certain friends/family hurt my feelings, so I guess I still care what some people think. Hey, I’m not perfect.
All that said, I’m proud of myself. I’m proud that I asked a candidate for Texas Governor questions. I’m proud that I bare myself in my Caller-Times columns and in my blog. I’m super proud that that I do speaking engagements even though it scares the utter sh*t out of me. And I’ll keep doing all this, not because it benefits me, but because it helps others. That’s all I ever wanted to do when I wrote that first blog in 2018.