Respecting your limitations

I lie. I lie all the time. I struggle with anxiety and it makes me lie. No, that isn’t right. I struggle with anxiety and because I don’t know how to be completely honest about it (with myself, or others), I lie to ‘protect’ my secret of how much my anxiety affects me. I tell people that I have a family emergency, or that my son is sick, or that a giant bolt of lightning just hit my house and it’s burning down….you get the idea.

Let’s start at the beginning. My name is Melissa Parent, and I am a Mom, a Partner, a Server, an Owner of a small business (Hammer Style Clothing) and a pretender of being honest about my condition, Anxiety.

I discuss openly on my personal blog, @hammer_style on Instagram, my anxiety, the symptoms, and the damage it causes. Yet, when it comes to day-to-day life, I hide it. I pretend that I’m ok, or that the reason I’m canceling plans (typically in evenings, I’ve learned that’s a difficult time for me to
commit to social engagements) isn’t related to anxiety. For a person who has appeared to proudly commit themselves to the #menatalhealthawareness movement, when it comes down to it, I’m still ashamed of having it.

Why else can’t I admit it in the moment?

I learned about the opportunity to write this article about mental health and being a business owner at the perfect time, as I’ve spent a lot of time recently re-evaluating how I run my business, and if it’s the right way to do it for me. But maybe it’s not just about being a business owner. Maybe it’s how I live life in general.

My t-shirt line donates 10% of all proceeds to C.A.M.H (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). C.A.M.H may have saved my Mother’s life. My mother has Seasonal Affected Disorder, (S.A.D.) and depression. She’s also struggled with suicidal intentions. Intentions that became so real, she desperately sought help, and C.A.M.H answered.

Photo provided by Melissa Parent of a t-shirt from Hammer Style Clothing

How do we live in a world that so many of us need to seek help for a ‘mental health’ condition (if we’re lucky enough to find help, and don’t choose to suffer in silence, instead)? Are that many of us really dealing with a ‘chemical imbalance’, or are we creating these ‘conditions’ to hide or camouflage the fact that somewhere along the line, we got it wrong. We decided to not live life honestly. We decided that we can do, and have it all.

Well, in all of my recent re-evaluating, I have discovered that I cannot do, and have it all. That doesn’t mean that I’m giving up. That doesn’t mean that I think I’ve discovered the answer. That doesn’t mean I’m healed. What it means is that I need to be more honest. We all need to be more honest. With ourselves, and with others. I have limitations. I have strengths. As we all do. Maybe I don’t have anxiety at all. Maybe I am feeling this way because I haven’t listened to my true self, my honest self. Maybe I do have anxiety. I can’t say one way or the other. All I can do is start being a lot more honest. I’ll start by saying next time that I’m canceling due to anxiety, and not because of a giant bolt of lightning. I’ll start by respecting my limitations, and not unilaterally deciding I can ‘overcome’ them. I’ll start by opening this dialogue.

I just canceled plans again with a friend. But you know what? I did so honestly. I told her my social anxiety tends to spike in the evenings and that we should get together soon – but in the afternoon.

Let’s all be more honest.