When you think of the word replaceable, what comes to mind?
Batteries, light bulbs…things that no longer work but can be replaced with another or newer model. My anxiety tries to tell me that I’m replaceable. That I’m not good enough.
Some days are better than others, I can conquer them. I believe in myself and nothing can touch me. And on a bad day, I live with “you’re replaceable, you’re not good enough, you’re going to be alone” on a nonstop loop. I bite and pick my lips, I pick at the skin around my nails, a fresh manicure is chipped and off half of my fingers. I snap the buttons on my winter jacket, I play with my earrings, I pull my sweater down over my hands hoping no one can see my hands tremble. I become paranoid and jumpy. My breathing is fast and shallow, I’m looking for a way out. Scrambling. This can happen in a matter of seconds or go on for hours. It can last all day. My body language changes, I tense up. Ready to fight or flight.
And just like that I’m exhausted. Done.
You may wonder how I deal with this daily, and sometimes I literally take it step by step. One foot in front of the other. And breathe. (Sometimes that is hard to remember). I recently shared a story with a friend about how I was at school one day, and started to have a panic attack. But had to get to class…so what happened? My sister and I raced over the bookstore and I bought a hat. I needed something to cover my eyes. I needed something to hide under. I ripped the tag off, wiped off the mascara that was streaming down my cheeks, and headed to class. No one asked me if I was okay, if they had I probably would have dropped to my feet sobbing.
Because of my mental illnesses, I live life a certain way. And I’ve come to realize that I need to do this for myself. People have chosen to not include me in their lives anymore and that’s okay. To them I’ve become replaceable. I’ve been replaced. Just like that…included and then gone. To some people I may be replaceable.
But if I have learned anything while living with anxiety and depression, it is that I am IRREPLACEABLE.