Everything is great. Everything is going so well. On the outside yes. Inside… not so much. People always tell me how great I am doing and how I am so bubbly. I smile, nod, I might even throw in a laugh or sarcastic comment. Who knows! But little do they know on the inside I have thought of 27 things wrong with me and the number keeps rising. They don’t know I spent a whole half hour trying to get out of bed. No one sees the dark circles because you spent so long covering them up.
Everyone is excited about the new chapter of their life. You are too, but anxiety is having a hay day on this whole adult thing. There are seven million things that could go wrong. Then you think you have solved one and then anxiety shows you 8 other way of looking at it, that don’t make sense to logic but you end up playing along.
Why is dating so hard. It should be easy. A text here and a smile there. But nope. I am an introvert…. obviously but I am also a bit of a loner. I am comfortable being by myself. I enjoy my alone time. And with that comes the need to be independent. Fiercely independent. Then suddenly you are texting someone all the time and they want to see you. Like what is this strange new world that I have just been dropped into? And how do I get out?
I am an independent introverted loner. And I am slowly becoming okay with that. I know what to expect and there is no need to depend on anyone else but myself. Then enter the guy (or girl. Whatever your preference) He is cute, charming and outgoing. Everything you aren’t. And you think this might work…. if I can get through the raging anxiety of the unknown and being hurt. But then anxiety slowly starts to pick apart the relationship, you or even turns on the innocent guy. Then what? Do you ghost them? Do you hope for the best? Or just call it quits and become a cat lady, well I would be a dog lady but the point reminds.
Lately, I have been struggling. A lot. But it seems like no one notices. I am outside of my body screaming at it to do something about how it feels. To tell someone about how I am feeling. But I don’t want to bother anyone. I feel like me telling someone that I am struggling but I don’t want to burden them with my problems. Everyone has something going on and if it seems like they don’t. You’re wrong. They are just better at hiding it then some. I haven’t really been eating or feeling. I think that is what scares me the most. I am not feeling much of anything. I know I should be and realize that something is wrong but….. I am just tired. Tired of fighting this. Fighting day in day out. This invisible war that wreaks havoc on my mind and body. Feeling like I am drowning in a crowd. The constant feeling of something is going to wrong.
Somehow I still get up. Many people still get up and do what they have to do. It might take all of their willpower they have.
Those people are the some of the strongest people this world has.
Since it is the end of 2017 I did some reflecting.
I hope everyone has had a great holiday and has a wonderful New Year.
It’s the small steps that are usually the biggest when you look back. It is true. One small step that I look back on in my life is asking for help. My mom got me to see a therapist and it has helped me in ways I can’t even explain. The second one is going on medication. There is such a stigma with that word ‘medication’ but there shouldn’t be. The medication helped my brain produce the chemicals that I am lacking. The third is doing two speeches at my graduation in front of hundreds of people. At the time it didn’t seem like a big deal but if you would have told me that three years before that I would have laughed, then probably have been anxious about it (lol). The fourth and probably the best of them all is applying for college. It was the middle of the summer when I did this I wasn’t expecting to get in and had plans to travel but not even a week later I got my acceptance letter saying I had gotten in and then I was set off down this unknown path. I have met incredible people in this program and have found something that I love to do. So you never know what that small step will look like unless you just take it. No thinking not overthinking. Just take the step.
Lately, I have challenged myself, well my anxiety really. I will do something that gives me anxiety. Like today I went for a steam with my friend and I went shopping with wet hair. I did feel the stares and it freaked me out. But I was still able to dome shopping and function as a normal human without wanting to crawl into a hole. I still want to do that sometimes. But my real question is, Does it work? I have no idea. I like to think it does because deep down, deep deep down, I know that if I am put in that situation again I know I will be able to handle myself.
People in my high school always want to be different. They wanted to be the super cool hipster or something that was like everyone else. As I watched them I was confused because I wanted none of what they wanted. I wanted to be normal. Well, I am normal and having a mental health issue doesn’t make you bad or inferior in any way but I didn’t know that back then. Even now I wish I didn’t have to deal with this heavy pressure on my chest that stays there for days. Or breaking down for no idea. Being scared of going over to your really good friend’s house, even when you nothing bad is going to happen but that little monster bully voice whatever you want to call it tells you different and it is so loud and overpowering sometimes it is hard for the logical side to win. Tangent sorry.
Back in high school, I watched all these people try to be different and that’s great. I love it now. Yet back then I didn’t know why they would want to do that. I was different and felt so alone and isolated from everyone around me. I wanted to be normal by their standards so much but I never could be and I never will be. It is okay because I know who I am even with my anxiety and depression. And I think I am still pretty cool. And I am sure all of you are too.
Life is a tough thing to handle. And some people, unfortunately, are better at handling it. Everyone has their off days and that’s okay.We are allowed to be a little bruised and broken. Life throws things at us that we never expected, and we are just supposed to catch it in time and hope for the best. Sometimes we miss the catch and it hit us and we get hurt. We learn how to deal with the bruises and the brokenness that are the result of us missing the catch. But we need to keep trying to catch the ball as the little monster in our heads keep throwing them at us so we can hopefully learn how to catch a few.
Honestly, my mental health is a struggle not only for me but my family as well because they see me hurting and want to help. But it’s nothing physically wrong with me that can be covered up with a bandage. It’s something that is hard to fix and even harder to overcome. I think we need to be able to talk about our mental health without fear of being judged. I know when I talk about it openly with some people they give me strange looks and it scares people off sometimes but they obviously were not meant to be in my life.
It is has taken me till now because I have had anxiety since I was in about grade three, that is the first time I remember an anxious memory. In grade five, I would wake up in the middle of the night absolutely terrified and wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep unless my mom was up. Grade nine I hated myself. Grade ten I was diagnosed with anxiety and wanted to end my life. Things do get better, it takes time, a lot of time but it does get better. Or you get better at coping with it.
Yet here I am writing this for random people to read on the internet because there needs to be a change. And I want to be part of that change.
I love the night. I am a huge night owl, I get more done in the hours of 5pm to 10pm then I do in the day. Which many people find odd. I think it is because that’s also the hardest part of the day for me. It’s when the dark thoughts see your shields are down and then decide to attack. They creep their way into your mind making you worry about something that might have happened years ago. It drives me crazy because I have no way to stop it. I have a few tricks that I have picked up over the years to keep me distracted.
I read until I can barely keep my eyes open.
I listen to music. (My therapist said this isn’t the best can your mind can still wander)
I draw what I am feeling – and I am not an artist by any means I mean I can draw stick people and flowers.
But the best one I have found for me is writing. I write everything that is running in my mind and don’t stop until I have nothing else to write. It helps get the thoughts out in the “open” but no one sees them. As Atticus said in his book “Lover Her Wild” “Some words are safer on paper”
I once had to call my best friend from outside a coffee shop before I went in because I was going to stand the guy up and text saying came up. Really Classy right? But here is the thing, with anxiety and throw some depression into an already awkward person, you do not get a good combination. Low self-esteem, not a good conversationalist and I can’t sit still. So with this one situation, I was having a full-on panic attack for multiple reasons, which I think are all logical reasons to have a panic attack about meeting another human being to have coffee. (lol the probably not)
1 I meet this guy on a dating app,
2 automatically gives me a 50/50 shot that this guy is a creep.
3 I don’t know what he looks like.
4, We could have nothing to talk about,
5 I could spill my drink all over him or me or a complete stranger cause I am clumsy.
6 He will think I am Ugly.
The list goes on. But she was like okay I get that ( mind you, she has anxiety to so she gets where my mind goes) But you are never going to go anywhere if you listen to your anxiety all the time. And she gave me all the actual logical reasons