Sunday, March 20, 2016

Feeling Sheepish

Sheep are very social creatures by nature, but also easily frightened. I can relate. 

There are times when social media creates more social anxiety for me than socialization, when I second-guess everything I type or post, when I want to, and do, scream "Here I am! Love me!" but fear my screams, and my neediness, simply push friends away. 

Yes, I am the most intense person you've never met, lol. Except it isn't funny when it hurts, when I dive in head-first, mouth open, and try to swallow up enough of others to fill the empty cup of my soul. 

My cup has a hole in it, this I acknowledged decades ago. I thought at one time that it was fairly well patched. Alack...recent years have proven otherwise. I've gone through some friends in those years, where one or the other of us simply torched the bridge between us for our own reasons. It is a very empty feeling when that happens. And we have suffered grief and loss, colleagues terminated in down-sizing and restructuring, friends and relatives getting sick, dying, and physical distance, not to mention significant disagreements over politics, religion, etc., pushing us further away from others than we would like. 

The result is that I am at the end of my rope these days, nowhere near the teacher I can be, struggling day to day just to show up. I cope with my physical and mental pain in less than healthy ways, to say the least. 

I know the path I need to walk, but the ability to walk it has eluded me for some time now. 

In recent weeks, however, I have reached out to friends...people I have known for some time...and opened up. This is hard work! It leaves me feeling a lot like a lobster without its shell...or sometimes a lobster about to be dropped into a boiling pot! It is not an easy place to be, but it is a step forward on a path I must take. 

I cannot be driven down this path, for, in the final analsys, I am more stubborn Great Pyr than sheep, but patient caring, yes, that can persuade me to move forward. 

My wife has been SO patient! I know her anxiety has been through the roof for several years on my behalf. We have fun, still, and we enjoy each other, but seeing me wallow so much, drink too much, fail to meet my own expectations and deadlines over and over and over again...this is not easy. 

But move forward I must, along a path not just of survival but healing, growing, and being the best social animal I can be while taking care of my battered heart.

Photographs from our recent emergency trip to NC, Lincoln and Catawba Couty.