I don’t even really know what to say about today. It started out bad from the moment I woke up. I was hit with wave after wave of anxiety, shaking, exhaustion and anger. I was angry that the hubs had set up childcare the way he did, angry that our children wouldn’t listen when I told them to get their shoes (I know…totally stereotypical parenting problem…right?!). I was anxious about going into the office, exhausted from being up late, and fearful about what I might say to people today.
Got to the office and things didn’t go much better. Lots of anxiety, an upset stomach, inability to focus and I didn’t accomplish much in the first 4 hours of my day. But then at noon I went into staff meeting (and by went it I actually mean just zoom) and immediately felt overwhelmed. Not even anger (which is totally my go to emotion). But almost a fear like feeling (which totally feels super weak and lame). I felt anxious and nervous, and I suffered through 35 minutes…got through my portion of business, and then turned off my mic and video and made it to the parking lot before throwing up. And then I just sobbed in my car for the next 20 minutes. Like, ugly crying…real ugly.
I was able to compose myself enough to go back into the office and try to do some work. Mostly I just stared at the computer screen and shuffled papers around my desk for another 2 hours. Met with my boss and got really angry, like irrationally angry about stupid little things. As we were meeting there were a number of things that needed my attention. A number of things that required me to look at real facts, numbers, data and very objective information. And that was a good thing because I was able to shut down the feelings and focus on the work which for whatever reason calmed me down. My nerves calmed, I was able to focus for the first time in many days. I feel more relaxed, the edge is gone…or at least super diminished from what it was, and I feel like I can finally breathe. So I’m grateful for that. Because the whole anxious mess thing was getting old and pissing me off.
So…here we are. Left wondering what the hell just happened. Why have the past 10 days been such a nightmare? And is it over? And why did the things that got to me hit so hard? Why were those the things that left me unsettled? And what even were the things that sent me into a tailspin? What were the true triggers and was was just the aftermath of everything?
I keep thinking it all goes back to me feeling like a failure, right? Failing at the mission, failing at my job, failing at becoming anything of worth. And as I’ve been searching for answers about what the root cause is, I’ve gone back and looked at old emails, my mission journal, journals from my high school days. And it’s been pretty heart wrenching to be honest. While a lot of it sounds super juvenile (go figure…at one point in time I was a youngster) the pain and heartache came through loud and clear and I could vividly remember writing those words.
The strangest thing I came across was that I stopped journaling in the final months of my mission. I don’t remember stopping, but there is nothing after February. The last 6-7 weeks of my mission are not recorded. I know there are emails that I have, but I found it odd that I didn’t remember.
As I went back through my mission and pre-mission journal entries, there were a lot of things that I’d forgotten about, which also make sense why there is so much deep rooted shame and sense of failure attached to this particular event.
I had totally forgotten about the story of how my call to South America came about. I had 100% put on my papers that I did not want to go to a foreign country and I did not want to learn another language and that I didn’t feel I would be successful at doing so. I made that very clear in multiple places on my papers. 3 weeks after I submitted my papers, my stake president got a call from the apostle who was making my assignment. He asked my stake president if he thought I would be okay to be assigned to a foreign mission and if he felt I could do it. And that’s crazy weird enough…that never happens. But this apostle said he felt strongly that I was to serve in South America. And what would you expect a stake president to say? No? The Spirit is wrong? You must be mistaking these feelings/thoughts…that can’t be the Spirit telling you (an apostle) something that is contrary to what M believes. And long story short…I got called to South America.
So I’ve always looked at this two ways…first, what the hell? That’s bullshit that they’d ignore my desires, my assessment of my abilities and do what they wanted to do and essentially set me up for failure. So it’s their fault. These men…these priesthood leaders put me in an impossible situation. A situation where I couldn’t win. OR on the flip side of that, they were led by the Spirit. They sent me where I needed to go, and I fucked it up. I couldn’t seal the deal, rise to the occasion, or succeed. I had totally forgotten about this until I read my journal. I remember almost rejecting my mission call, but then speaking with my bishop and praying for faith to follow God’s plan. And who do you blame? Who’s left to have failed? Me.
And I know…that’s one way to look at it. And other people might look at it differently. But all these feelings of failure, inability to do anything worthwhile, being less than capable…those all stem from my early childhood experiences. And that’s another rabbit hole to go down another day.