It’s honestly not the easiest thing to discuss but it’s also not that hard to feel. Although some might say it is all in the mind, or better yet “it’s all in your head”. And the people who say that rather try not to understand.
I suffer from anxiety. Big crowds make me cringe, I see a group of people and I automatically think they’re talking about me. I text my friends, and they give me an answer I’m not familiar with, then I think I’m doing something wrong. There are times I even try to isolate myself from friends and even family cause I often feel like a burden and the safest way to avoid those feelings is to stay home. There are good days and bad days, although sometimes I can admit those demons can take over.
Now, don’t get me wrong, today I have a very strong support system. I have a beautiful fiancé, who tries her hardest to work and help me build my inner strength including breathing techniques and words of encouragement. And I also realized writing about my thoughts and feelings does help. However, some people have it worse and mot handle it differently. Me? I just never talked about it, at least not publicly and openly. And truth be told my story did not start as easy.
Want to know the hardest part about anxiety? Not a lot of people understand it, and it's cause most people than others really don't want to or just can't. I dealt with mental health issues for as long as I can remember, and I to this day will never in my life forget my very first anxiety attack.
I was at home, I think perhaps I was about maybe 18? Maybe a little younger, I was just sitting down on my couch watching tv. That year I had dropped out of high school and for some reason, I instantly started to regret it. Next thing I know, I was thinking such negative thoughts of how I wasn't going to succeed, suddenly the image of me being homeless, never amounting to anything. Basically proving the whole world who had their negative thoughts about me, I felt like they were right. I simply just remember starting to sweat, thinking to myself, "What am I going to do with my life?" I just began to hyperventilate and started to cry extremely aggressively. It took me about 4 hours to ground myself and snap out of it, and it was the longest 4 hours of my life.
I will ever forget how alone I felt, I then decided not to tell anyone that my anxiety attack came out of the woodwork. I kept it to myself throughout my early 20's. I just felt scared someone would say I am crazy or better yet belittle and degrade me about it. So, I kept quiet all these years.
At 23, I got pregnant and gave birth to my only son, Mason. And I wish I can say my story had gotten easy, but dare to dream right? Not only was the anxiety getting worse, but I also suffered from postpartum depression. And with the problems I was having with my son's father at the time, the gray cloud just wouldn't stop growing and started to get a lot more heavy. Things at that moment in my life were getting from bad to worse, and I refused to seek help. Those two illnesses combined were, not the easiest to deal with, but I was trying. And boy, do I remember trying. Sleepless nights, dark daydreaming, questioning my worth. I just got broken and was staying broken and damaged for so long, that I just shut down and stopped trusting myself and others.
What also didn't help was my struggle with my sexuality, which I didn't mention, I hid that as well due to growing up in a very religious household that was very belittling and degrading, especially from my mother. So, being scared the whole world would judge me, I lied to the world and myself. The only outcome was my son, which I have no regrets about.
Today, I am free. It has taken me years to come out as someone who I really am, and not to mention I speak about my mental health illness and was open to learning techniques and ways to cope and control my attacks when they occur. What makes me sad at times, is that I shouldn't have spent all of most of my adult life trying to impress others, causing me to hide my true identity. But as the old saying goes, "Better late than never."
If this is something you can relate to, I can assure you. You are not alone, you are not the only one that has thoughts you cannot control, feelings you can't explain, and words you can't say. Don't do what I did, seek help. Talk to someone, let someone know. Or try to explain it so families and friends can understand. I mean it can't go away, but it can be controlled.
Check out the link I shared, one of the techniques that have helped is meditation, try it out!