Overcast

I’ve been a bit lost in my head lately. More than usual, anyway.

Some days it feels like the whole world is spinning along while I’m stuck in the same place. Did I mention my occasional anxiety attacks? I think I may have said something about that once.

This past week I’ve been struggling a bit about whether to write a post on anxiety or not. Part of me hesitates to do so because I don’t want to be a bummer for people who come across my blog. But another part thinks it’s silly, that I’m just being overdramatic about trivial things and trying to call it anxiety or depression. I’ve always hated it when someone’s response to depression of any sort is to say, “Just cheer up! It’s not so bad!”. And yet, that’s what I feel like saying to myself sometimes. That the dark cloud hovering over my head will vanish if I just wish really really hard.

But it doesn’t quite work out that way. So I lurch along from one day to the next, enjoying the small patches of sunshine that bring a smile to my face as I make my way through the storm.

 

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Restless

Some nights I have trouble falling asleep. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s annoying when it does. I’m not sure what’s responsible for it. I tell myself it’s because I may have slept a bit long the previous night, or it could be due to an ill-advised nap in the afternoon, but I really have no clue.

On those rare nights, I’ll find myself yawning at around the time that I normally go to bed. But as soon as my head hits the pillow, all sense of fatigue will vanish. Closing my eyes does no good, nor does thinking sleepy thoughts. I just…don’t feel sleepy. At all. So I end up just hanging around the house until drowsiness hits me.

I have a complicated relationship with sleep. Normally, I’d say it’s my favorite activity, but that’s not always true. One of the big problems is that I don’t get nearly enough of it (a common refrain, I’m sure). Which makes it all the more puzzling that I should ever be able to not fall asleep.

There are times when I am actually afraid of sleep. I remember as a kid, I would sometimes do my best to stay awake at night because the prospect of falling asleep frightened me. Lying there, eyes shut, for 7 or 8 hours, completely dead to a world that was still spinning along. My next conscious memory not forming until the next morning. It was a horrifying thought. I have no idea what filled a child with such existential angst, but there it was.

It’s a horror that I haven’t experienced much as an adult. However, I have gone through phases of anxiety when I couldn’t fall asleep because my mind was clouded with dark thoughts. I had to resort to leaving the TV on, tuned to a sitcom or something so I could rest easier. This would usually be followed by involuntary naps the next day and the cycle would continue until it stopped on its own.

The anxiety attacks still hit me now and again. I’ll be on the verge of falling asleep, then get hit with a wave of terror that’ll make me sit up to clear my head. Fortunately, it doesn’t last as long as it used to, and I’ve learned to stop using the TV as a crutch. I can’t seem to shake off that anxiety though. Or the occasional bouts of temporary insomnia.

At least I don’t have nightmares. That’s a small consolation.

Apology Not Accepted

I’ve previously ranted about the changing landscape of good manners and how common polite phrases are little more than a curtain of words that people haphazardly drape over their actions.

To me, there is no bigger offender in the world of etiquette than ‘sorry’. When used properly, it is an expression of contrition, an acknowledgement of wrongdoing or error with an unspoken promise of making amends in the future. Or at the least, a promise to consciously avoid the same error again.

More commonly though, it’s used as a form of self-absolution. As if the mere act of apologizing carries forgiveness within itself. At its very worst, it’s nothing more than a word casually tossed around like a football in a backyard, carrying no weight or meaning.

It’s seen in many forms and masked in various ways to give the appearance of apology while being anything but. A favorite of mine is ‘sorry if you were hurt/offended’. Wait, what? You’re sorry about the fact that I felt hurt, essentially slipping the blame into my pocket while nobody’s looking. You may as well be sorry that I display human emotion.

Another one commonly used by celebrities: ‘I’m sorry I let my fans down’. How about being sorry for the actual thing you did to let them down? You’re not being asked to apologize for getting a B+ instead of an A-. That would be letting your fans down. Really, you’re apologizing for getting caught.

There’s also the meaningless ‘Sorry for the Inconvenience’ whenever there’s a broken elevator or a closed road. Who’s sorry? And how are they sorry? You’re still being inconvenienced. Does a sign saying ‘sorry’ really help? If someone was blocking your way, told you to take a different route and followed it up with ‘sorry for the inconvenience’, would you take their apology to heart?

And of course, who hasn’t been involved in a debate that involved the phrase ‘I’m sorry, but…’? If you follow up an apology with an offense, it’s not really an apology, is it? May as well just say what you want to say instead of cloaking it in false politeness.

I’m really at the point where it gets under my skin whenever I hear someone say sorry, unless it really comes across as genuine. An apology isn’t forgiveness. It’s not reparation. At its core, it’s nothing. Your own attitude and actions are what give it meaning. If you’re truly sorry about something, you might not need to say anything at all.