To be honest, I’m terrified of putting myself out there. I don’t always like ‘shining.’ Mainly because I am always concerned with making people uncomfortable. But, in a literal sense, my anxiety disorder sometimes manifests as agoraphobia, panic attacks, vertigo, nausea, stomach pain, and exhaustion. I don’t like the idea of having to explain this to a stranger; why I’m out of sorts.
Basically, this prevents me from being unable to go to the grocery store by myself. Or drive. I had to stop going for long runs because having a panic attack when you are two miles away from home is awful (then being verbally harassed on top of that makes it worse…long story.. but, if you are female, you know what I’m talking about). These are only a few examples.
Oh, I suppose that I forgot to mention outright that several years ago I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder; though, I briefly mention it in my about page (here). I would like to talk about this more, because spreading mental health awareness is very important to me. There need to be better real life examples of what a mental illness looks like, and people need to know that it’s not a death sentence.
Having a body that consistently rebels on oneself teaches lessons the hard way. As I mentioned above, I don’t like the idea of explaining myself to a stranger when having a panic episode. But, it has happened many times.
What I learned from these experiences was the meaning of vulnerability. We often hear about vulnerability being important, but why?
Vulnerability is related to honesty, but it’s not the same as being helpless. It’s letting another see the real you without feeling like you have to fake anything (even if you are afraid to). This doesn’t seem to be encouraged by our society. We have to be ‘on’ at all times. Always hustling, as the Instagram memes say. Then we swing in the opposite direction, feigning helplessness (#adulting).
To be vulnerable, we need an open heart. To have an open heart, we have to be kind to ourselves, and open to who that Self is. Open to what is laying before us on the metaphorical table of our life. Whatever that may be. Living this way allows us to be kind to others; more willing to understand because our own cup is full.
When we are vulnerable, we are shining our inner light. We are actively managing fear. We are kind. We try to understand.
What else could we need more of in this world?