Throwback

This is a post I wrote around a year ago for my high school blog. I was looking back on it and want to share…

Anxiety. It is one word. One tiny little seven letter word. But somehow, it manages to take complete control over me. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. For me it is a lot more complicated. It’s also not typically something that is easy for me to open up about, as it has such a large stigma attached to it. Which makes it so much harder to live with.

Anxiety has always been a part of my life. In fact, when I was born I was in the NICU for 16 days. Although the first day it was because of my health, my stay was prolonged because anytime another baby around me had a problem or their alarm went off, I would react. As illogical as it may seem, anxiety can be more than simply a feeling of fear. For many people, they have very real physical reactions. For me my reaction can be just a feeling of sadness or misplacement, but many times it is accompanies by physical reaction. My heartrate spikes, and I sometime have difficulty breathing. In addition to those lovely responses food becomes my enemy. Even the mention of eating and I will turn so pale, you may as well call me Casper.

As a senior in high school, there are so many things that are can be exciting. It is an adventure into your future. For the first time, you have complete control in what you want to do. The decisions you make are all yours. Although many days, these are simply exciting for me, sometimes

along the way my anxiety kicks in.

Being a 17-year-old, crying in class is one of the most embarrassing things. So of course, on Friday, my anxiety decided to strike right as I was about to walk into school. A nervous thought about my family and my future popped into my head, and unlike someone without anxiety, it was hard for me to just redirect my attention.

One of the hardest parts about anxiety for me is that it seems although you have two completely different thought processes. On one hand I can see that it is irrational for me to become so upset and scared that I literally cannot stop crying as I’m sitting in class. But on the other hand, there is some part of me that completely registers this thought as a fear, as something so real that it needs my full focus.

It may seem like I just completely embarrassed myself, crying at school in the first place, and sharing this now. But this is why. Having these thoughts are hard enough, never mind having to simultaneously freak out about what people are thinking about you or what they would say if they found out that you have anxiety and unfortunately this is a pretty common part of your life. The stigma around mental health is so detrimental, and the only way to overcome it is by speaking up. I have an anxiety disorder, but it doesn’t define me. It allows me to see how many people in my life truly care, and support me.

Pushing Away

I have never fully been able to trust anyone, to allow myself to be 100% vulnerable. It doesn’t matter who they are, or our past. It sounds like a horrible way to live, and it is. But sometimes you’ve just been burned to many times.

I’ve always known that I’m not exactly a people person. But today it struck just how truly closed off I can be. I was walking back from class as someone said “good afternoon beautiful.” Rather than accept the innocent complement, I flicked him off. That’s not all, in my head I went to the worst places, and looked down to be sure my pepper spray was on my keys. (I do live on a college campus, it’s not completely unreasonable.)

I’ve noticed that I am always quick to assume the worse. While I am generally polite, and try to be a people pleaser. I socialize very little. I have a close group of friends and that’s how I like it.

Growing up as a child of an alcoholic, you learn that trust can be extremely confusing. Whether it’s the lies the addict tells you, the lies others tell in order to protect you from the addict, or the lies you tell yourself in order to preserve whatever resemblance of innocent childhood memories you have, your world is surrounded by lies.

Growing up with such a limited understanding of honesty and trusting relationships can make it hard to form relationships. Being in a new dorm, meeting new people, I immediately think what is the other person getting by talking to me, rather than just assuming that they are simply trying to make a friend in an environment that is new to them as well.

They say acknowledging a problem is the first step, however I have always known that trust is not my strong suit. However it has allowed me to learn independence.

Either way, shutting people out and isolating your self is one of the worst things that you can do when you are depressed. So in writing this blog, I’m hoping to force myself into accepting that not everyone means you harm. Sometimes people can be nice simply for the sake of being nice. Even if your past makes that hard to see.