Growth and Change is All

Two nights ago I scrubbed my retainer with hydrogen peroxide. Earlier in the day I read that you can use it as a mouth rinse. Who knew? So I took care of my retainer, popped it in my mouth, and headed to bed. I mentioned it to my husband and he jokingly said something like, "I hope you didn't poison yourself."

I said "me too" and turned off my light. But sleep didn't come.

Instead, I spent the next few hours letting the thought that I may have inadvertently poisoned myself orchestrate a symphony of muscle tingling, rapid breathing, and chest tightening within my body. My mouth felt like this and my ability to swallow diminished. I was convinced.

Let me back up a bit. I didn't drink hydrogen peroxide. I merely scrubbed my retainer with it (which worked amazing by the way...basically brand new). And then after scrubbing, I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed (because I know who I am these days). I doubt I ingested any peroxide let alone enough to kill one of those tiny flies that bite my pups' ears. I'm talking negligible amounts.

But that doesn't really matter does it? It didn't help when I tried explaining to myself how irrational the thoughts were, it never does. Belly breathing helped some, but telling my husband what I was thinking helped more. Just saying the words out loud to someone seemed to take away the power the thoughts held over me.

The problem is...I don't really like sharing every single thing I'm thinking. I mean, let's be real, there is a downside to doing so. No one needs to know all that and I don't want my husband, or anyone else, to look at me differently.

And the thing is...I know people do. I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their voice. I feel it with the words they choose to use when we talk. They tip toe around me, worried that they're going to break poor, little, fragile me. And I hate it.

I'm still me.

But I get it.

How are you supposed to act around someone who has over and over expressed how their life has been upended...flipped and tossed by a storm into unknown?

I don't know.

Since 2010 I have written freely about my life; but again, the downside to openly sharing personal aspects of my life is the fact that I'm sharing personal aspects of my life. Topics that don't organically come up in conversation I divulge without a second thought when writing.

Maybe I shouldn't. No one is forcing me.

When my anxiety books warn against keeping my struggles a secret, they're not exactly suggesting I write post after post; they just don't want me thinking something is so wrong with me that I feel too intimidated, too scared to open up about it. With secrets come sickness, or at least that's how I understand it.

That's why I share. When I heard that guy on his vlog talk about his "peanut allergy", it made me feel better. He seemed normal enough. He just didn't like leaving his house and stuff. I like leaving my house and I like being alone, and that's why I continue to share. Maybe someone will randomly come across my posts when looking up panic attacks or panic disorder or agoraphobia. Maybe they will find solace and security and hope in my words. Maybe we can find companionship over completely unintentional and unrealistic poisonings.

Plus, I just think people don't talk about real shit enough. We should be sharing our difficulties along with our triumphs. Why not? Why are we so scared to share the stuff we're scared of?

We exchange pleasantries. We say we're "good". We talk TV shows we're watching. We talk about the weather. We talk sports. Most of the time we really don't communicate. We bottle up the aspects of life that really bother us, the kind of stuff that has the ability to create long lasting bonds of community.

If we just let it.

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