By: Emily Eileen Moreshead
The title of this blog gave me slight pause before I began to write because Emily and patience are nott generally a synonymous union. Most days I know I could have more patience but I do try, which brings me to the topic at hand. There are many ways that we don’t understand others and even ourselves. Most often that ties into the terms ‘normal’ or ‘appropriate’. Society has told us since birth that there is a specific way to be, way to act, way to feel, way to navigate the world we are in. And yet, we are not anyone else. We are unique and individual as our needs.
I’ll use myself as an example here. I have five sisters. I’m the only one who hasn’t been married. I never dated a lot. I’m pushing 37. In society’s view, these details alone make me well beneath the cusp of normal. I say what I think. Often, without regard to where I am and who I am with. I do not hide under my opinions because my opinions can explain me in certain ways. Granted, I may not always be tactful but I am always honest. I don’t sugarcoat. If you ask me if an article of clothing looks good on you, I will tell you. If you ask me to read your novel and give an honest critique, it’s done. If someone acts like an asshole in my presence, you bet your bottom I will shut it down immediately. I find those qualities to be wonderful. Sometimes others don’t. This does not make it right or wrong. If makes it me.
Lately, my anxiety has become more overwhelming that usual. I’m miserable at work and that can often bleed into my personal life. I feel abused by my need to fix things for others, never having enough energy to change aspects of my own life. Please know that everyone you meet or simply come across in the coffee line is fighting a battle you know nothing about. The woman with the new dress and perfectly placed hair, nails, and tan may have had an argument with her family over expenses; the man wearing the worn business suit and off-white dress shirt could’ve just found out he’s been laid off after ten years; the insolent teenager may have come from the hospital after hearing a cancer diagnosis. We don’t know.
It’s difficult to practice what you preach. I get it. I get upset in long grocery lines but I do bite my tongue more often than not.
What is becoming more relevent today is the mental health conversation in society. If we are seemingly okay then we are okay. This could not be further from the truth. Nearly every adult will suffer from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. For me, I was always a child who liked to control my world as much as possible, until I couldn’t. Then I controlled my first real job, until I lost it. And in trying to do the same again, I am discovering that it’s impossible. My anxiety turns that into an ever evolving problem and causes me to pause and even panic when things don’t go as expected. I wish I didn’t get so upset about trivial things and even when I really try to stop, I get more anxious. After I moved and my mother recovered from half a year being hospitalized, I was certain my life would change and be magically amazing. But life is difficult and trying to be everything to everyone in my life takes its toll. There are nights I just cry going to bed because I do not want to get up and repeat another difficult day. And there are nights I go to bed grateful to have survived another twenty four hours without panic, anger, aggression, and disappointment. It’s a complicated process. That’s life.
But please try, every day to be kind and understanding to others, especially family and friends. Because you can’t always see sadness. You can’t always see pain, or loneliness. You can’t always see worry and and depression and anxiety. Be there. Help each other. Patience and understanding go a long way.