Let me pick up where I left off in Middle School, a dream deferred. With my goal of being a quarterback, a leader of my peers over in my eyes I decided to make the most of my time as a left tackle. I didn't realize it then, but that's actually a very important position. I'm glad I didn't because it would have made my anxiety that much more serious. I also played Defensive tackle which means I was the first line of defense against the opposing teams running game. I would have been pretty good if I could keep my mouthpiece in my mouth. My anxiety caused me to be nauseated most games and having a mouthpiece in only made the issue worse. I was warned multiple times by coaches and refs, but they didn't know the real problem. That monster in my brain telling my body that it was time to panic whenever my number was called. I couldn't focus on play calls, so remembering the playbook was a moot point. I would just block the guy in front of me or crash the gap when I was on defense. Most of the time I got it right and the other times I would get yelled at or one of my teammates would pay the price. Anxiety affected not only me but everyone and everything I was involved in or with. I couldn't even take a shower after practice because I was so afraid of doing the wrong thing or messing something up around my band of brothers. That made me the stinky kid in school.
My days start as they usually do, with thoughts of what if this and what if that. Visions of the unknown and the unknowable, with thoughts of anxiety and fear. Since I was a child this has been my reality. No matter if it's supposed to be a laid back Saturday or a busy Wednesday, they all begin with unsubstantiated fear. What if I can't pay my rent? What if I get to work and I make a mistake? What if I crash my car into the back of an 18-wheeler? Soon, the sweating starts, and unavoidable nausea. Imagine being in so much fear, not because of a credible threat, but because you have a condition in your mind that you can not escape. How do you run from your mind? How do you get away from your own beating, racing heart? Answer is you can't. I can't.