I have a lot of anxiety in seasons.
And this might not be a triumph blog. I hope you'll still love me after what I'm about to share (which in and of itself is the very root of the anxiety- love and connection from others). I'm a success driven perfectionist that doesn't pay enough attention to detail that in turn causes a lot more anxiety because it's not the way I want it. If it's not the way that I want it, I convince myself that I just need to work hard and do more. If it's not the way that I want it, and people don't respond well, it feels very personal. Like...deep to my core personal.
Ten years ago (wow hard to believe it's been that long), it manifested in an eating disorder/self image issues. I felt a little anxious about the way I looked so I did something about it. Y'all know me well enough to know I'll work super hard for anything, and that's what I did....a little too hard on accident. I've shared my story enough times for y'all to know that I've navigated my way through those anxieties.
While in school, my anxieties manifested in the grades of course like any normal college/graduate/doctorate student. I was a little more neurotic than your typical college student but whatever.
I came out of college and got "social media famous" to a degree. O la la. So enticing right? ;) It was and I was riding the high. LIFE WAS JUST WHERE I WANTED IT...FINALLY. I had arrived at the promise land. I was living in New York City. YES.ALLTHEYES.
Then, all of a sudden, another season hits out of left field. Comparison filled days start to plague me. Instagram becomes so competitive that it's no longer about sharing your life. It's about sharing your PERFECT photo that is perfectly curated to fit the theme of your perfect page. Your page is your art project and I'm about as creative as a frog I feel like. I'm more analytical. I can't draw. I don't do art.
Day after day after day convincing myself that no one cares but me and I know that's not the truth. But day after day merely opening the app started to give me anxiety. My picture isn't being liked. Every.single.time that I post I get tons of defollows. Please don't take this as complaining, and hear me out for the entire blog. They defollow and I think "Yep I was a runner when you followed...STILL A RUNNER. Uh!"
Voices in my head: Katie, they do not matter. They are strangers on the internet. Your worth is in CHRIST. Your validity is not defined by defollows or likes. Your worth is so much MORE. The best girls are the ones that you have been able to connect with, coach and the rest can go.
Devil on my shoulder: But, look at HER page. They like her. She's better at photography. Her times are faster. Her body is better and she shows it off more. Should I do that again? You have 66.4K and less likes than people with 20K. What is wrong with you? All the girls you used to be in line with are now huge youtube stars, moving to Los Angeles, and being the next big thing and you can't even hardly put one youtube together. You also were at 67.2K, but people literally see your face and can't stand it on their newsfeed so 800 people have defollowed for whatever reason. I'm writing this on Sunday and just for example, I posted the picture from the NYC half this morning and lost 79 followers. But you better not show that emotion. People want the last season, Katie. The happiest Katie on the planet, Katie. Don't lose her. Hold tight to her.
I know numbers shouldn't matter. BELIEVE ME. But, it comes with the territory and then no one is able to talk about it without seeming like a crazy lunatic narcissist.
Tanner: Maybe your heart bleeds too much, Katie. Maybe you aren't made for this.
And sometimes I wonder if he's right.
But then I renew my stamina and tell myself: JUST BE MORE. JUST DO MORE. JUST WORK HARDER.
That's what it's all about right...just work harder, Katie. You can do this. You LOVED this with all of your heart. You.Love.This. Stop with your drama feelings.
Okay, loving it again.
"But wait, now I can't spend time with my husband because I'm so busy. I haven't made us dinner in 3 weeks. Ah! Okay, I'll stop working and do that tonight. I've neglected all of my friends, but how do I do that and the ironman and work harder on this blog?"
Oh look, an article of the top 100 running bloggers..... aw it has all of my favorite girls!!!
Oh look another article of the best running and fitness bloggers .... and another ... and another .... Katie, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. You don't need your name on a list. This is so silly.
Oh look, a Runner's World Cover Search Contest! They do top 100 for the semi-finalist, and I'm top 10-15 in votes!! YAY! .... Results are in!! .... Wait, I didn't make it? Let me look again. Maybe I missed my name. I was top 15 in votes? Oh. No. I really just didn't make it.
Katie, seriously? You have had SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES. SHUT YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW.
Please don't mistake these emotions as jealousy and that I'm not happy for all of my friends that get these things. I cannot tell you how genuinely happy it makes me when my friends get gigs. There is SO MUCH ROOM in this world for ALL of us. I truly believe that.
But, anxiety kicks in and tells me it's a personal thing. It tells me that it's as if I'm walking through a department store in my newest, most favorite new outfit and there is a crowd of people. If they like me, they can come talk to me, but no one does. I walk all the way through the store, and not one person sees me. I had convinced myself that everyone didn't like me and that I'm totally just not relevant anymore. #CRAZYBRIDGE #ISTEPPEDRIGHTOFF
Another form of anxiety kicks in where I beat myself up even more for feeling like a narcissist. I have been convicted OVER AND OVER again. The biggest issue became when it started to manifest in real life. I feel as if I can't text friends (not about this but about anything) because I'm "just a bother" and "they are busy and don't have time to talk to me." I have even had moments where I'm a big crowd of people (which I love) and I would get really anxious and feeling like I needed to get away asking Tanner if we could leave that place immediately. I stopped hosting get togethers at my house thinking no one really wanted to come, and feel distant from friendships. I have lost clients, and said things I wouldn't normally say online angering people and making people reach out, defriend me, and won't speak to me. I know you can't please everyone, but the hurt I feel from this is deep. I'm not blaming this on social media and I really don't want to sound like the sky is falling. I just know that my anxiety is real, and mine unfortunately manifests in the way that I make people feel or the way people feel about me. I'm a feel-sy person. We know this. ;)
I have quite literally felt like a 5 year old, so the only person that I have told is my husband and my best friend in Shelby, Rachel, to the extent that I have felt for 6 solid months. I have said the words, "I feel so stupid. Where is my happiness? I feel so dramatic" so much that my husband says I'm not allowed to say any of those sentences anymore. ha. I felt so alone that I even googled "social media pressure" as I felt so silly . I came across so many bloggers talking about this same thing and I instantly felt relief. I'm not crazy. How nice. ;)
Last weekend, I kinda had a meltdown.
"I'm terrible at this now. I'm not relevant anymore. I cannot be all the things and all the people that I need to be and do this. I am not being a good wife to Tanner or a good friend or a good daughter or a good athlete. Guilt. Pressure. Guilt. Pressure. Anxiety."
Enough was enough, and with a tear stained face, Tanner couldn't agree more. He just wants my happiness so badly. After this going on for about 6 months now, did I need to step away? I mean let's be real, I have a job offer from a consultant pharmacy offering me a full time position. They wanted me so bad on staff that they agreed to let me work one day per week. I am SO lucky and have the best opportunity if I want that. Should I just go full time as a pharmacist and let this season go? Would that even make me happier?
I spent a lot of time in prayer this week...alot.
Lord, where do YOU want me? What is YOUR will for my life and not my own made up decisions?
Just be still.
BUT I NEED ANSWERS LIKE YESTERDAY, LORD.
Well, I want you where you are. It's not time to walk away. It's time for you to change your attitude. It's time for you to smile again and know that you are so deeply cherished by me, and that's enough.