Why I know your anxiety will get better
How I know that, this year, you can improve, you are worth it, and you can heal.
Since I lost my parents, I have had what I can only express as anxiety. I didn't lose them to death, like many have sadly suffered, I lost them to life, which, honestly, hurts me even more.
In this article I wish to share with you some of my past experience, how in 2020 I was able to break free and start my healing process, and how in 2021 I resolve to continue to heal and get myself through the problems I face each day; and why you definitely can too!
I'm going to spare you lots of details, for this article would be 1938272 pages long, but I will include the details that help me prove my point.
I was brought up to a seemingly already dysfunctional couple, my auntie and uncle have had custody, and have been my parents, since I was born. (In this article I refer to them as my parents, because that's what they were). Despite their issues and seeming hatred for each other, they loved and looked after me, I had a pretty great childhood on the surface, and I was happy!
When I was a few years old, my auntie secretly abducted me to the other side of the world, without telling my uncle.
Can I remember anything from when I was there? Sort of. I remember what our house looked like from the front and how I had made friends with the boy who lived in the house next to mine. We had arranged his slide so that I could climb my side of the fence and then slide down his slide into his garden to play. Thinking hard I also have this faint picture in my head of my room, well, my bed at least, with lots of teddies on it, one was a cute little rhino.
Well we ended up coming back to my home country, ordered back by the authorities, and escorted off the plane by police. As I was only a nipper, I can remember very little of the events afterwards, just a lady with curly hair asking questions about my feelings about my parents etc. I didn't like her very much.
Long story short, I ended up living predominantly with my auntie, and seeing my uncle on on regular weekends. Since then, throughout living an otherwise very happy childhood as a confident and kind little girl, I was manipulated by my aunt left right and centre. She would book activities for us over my uncle's allocated time, and then encourage me to be mad at him about it. She would incessantly interrogate me as we drove home on the way back from his house, 'what did he say about me?' and say how she hates his guts, he's horrible, he makes me sad, he doesn't care about me, he's a lonely old man, and how she wished he would just 'drop dead' or get hit by a truck.
When I used to do the tiniest thing wrong she would go on an angry rant about how: I'm just like my uncle, he's disgusting and dirty, he ruined her life, she came back from the country she took me to for me, she sacrificed everything for me, including bringing up her family in her home, I'm so ungrateful.
It blew up one day, it got too much. When I was around 17 I had a boyfriend and it just got 10x worse. She would growl at me for every single thing I did. She would twist my words and turn them against me making me think I had gone crazy. It reduced me to sitting there uncontrollably bawling my eyes out in my school common room until the school counsellor came and collected me.
I ended up leaving. In a mad and shouting morning, my aunt saying things I don't want to repeat, my little brothers screaming at me, not understanding what was going on, me attempting to escape. She ended up driving me, in complete silence, to my uncle's house 20 minutes away. When we got there she cried and told me she loved me and needed me. I hugged my brothers, told her that I loved her too, and walked away.
My life with my uncle was not good either. After struggling with his past, he never truly healed, or healed in the wrong way. He is a very strange man, unlike anyone I've ever heard of before. He reacts to things in weird ways, has almost OCD like symptoms about certain things, very serious and completely unsympathetic. He is extremely hard to live with. I got no emotional support from him whatsoever, really the opposite.
I spent studying for my A-levels feeling isolated, unwanted, and sad. I constantly got mixed messages from him, just like I did from my auntie, him saying that he loved me and saying that all he's ever wanted is for me to live with him, but then acting as though he couldn't care less whether I was there or not. I travelled hours to college and back every morning and night because I wanted one constant in my life and didn't want to change schools. After my over 12 hour day out of the house I would be greeted with blunt answers, no smiles, no interest, and awkward miserableness.
In the summer after year 12, I got a boyfriend. Long story short, I will make another story about this, he was and continues to be the most wonderful, smart, funny, and beautiful person I know. He supported me as much as he could through this, mostly consisting of me crying at him through the phone at night time.
I checked my aunt's cat's instagram one day, to check up on him. His name was Toffee, I missed him a lot. And found out that they had recently moved to the country I had 'kept them from'. Without telling me.
No one said a word.
I wasn't expecting a long message, anything really, just for them to inform me somehow.
The response I got from my uncle was 'hmm...I wonder what will happen with my child support then.'
In March 2020, as COVID-19 hit, I moved in with him and his parents. I told my uncle it was just for convenience of school, as my school instead of being 2 hours away, was 5 minutes from his house. But really i had to get away. It was reducing me to a soulless shell, I couldn't be anything resembling myself at all.
I still live here now.
Since this time, I have had a long long lockdown filled summer, which was actually the best time of my life. Although that may seem weird, given everything awful that was going on, but although i agree these things were awful, for me, last year was the best and happiest year of my entire life.
It was filled with developing anxiety and stress from my experiences, and confusing emotions and thoughts. But I broke free from a cage I felt I was trapped in since I was born.
I struggle with anxiety, and maybe some other undiagnosed illnesses now. I'm mostly happy and calm, but I overthink everything. I have times where something very small is on my mind but I just close up, I cant function and I just worry and worry and cry and apologise to my poor boyfriend who is watching me helplessly.
I had an 'attack' last night. I was really mentally exhausted from concentrating on writing my first vocal article (yay!) and we were just about to go to bed. All of a sudden I feel really stressed and I start to cry and ask my boyfriend questions about whether I'm a burden on him and whether it is bad that i have wobbles, as i call them, and whether he still loves me. Constantly apologising, feeling like ive ruined our really good day etc etc.
This doesn't mean I am always sad, or that I'm bad, or that life is bad, things are bad, my relationship is bad, or i ruined our day.
I had a wobble, brought on by tiredness this time, that I couldn't control.
I wasnt sad, the sadness was happening to me.
I think what people who struggle with mental illnesses need to remember is: there is not something wrong with you. There is something wrong, altered, in your brain that happens to you.
It is not your fault.
You are so worth the time needed to work on yourself and your mind. You are worth others caring about you. You are worth the self-care needed to make you feel better when you have a wobble.
In 2021, stop feeling guilty about having an illness.
Say you broke your arm. It's out of the cast, but it's not sully functional yet and will not fix for a long time, but you're slowly working on building up strength. Someone asks you to hand them a cup. You've got, i dont know, a baby in your healthy arm, and you try to pick it up with your bad arm but you just cant manage it. Do you feel incredibly guilty and like you're a really bad person? No! You go 'oi, I cant, I'm holding a baby in one arm, and my other one cant do that right now, one day maybe, but today you'll have to get the cup yourself'. See what I mean?
It's easier said than done, but that is why I know why, if you take baby steps, you will get better. And you are worth every single second of effort that you put in to improve yourself.
You will continue to have wobbles, you wont just wake up one day, look over sleepily to your phone and see 'ANXIETY ERADICATED' on the screen and do a little jig (I wish). What you can do though is begin to eradicate the fear of anxiety. The fear of having a wobble is what is making your anxiety worse, and making you feel apologetic to everyone around you when you have one.
Take away the fear of having a wobble, it is temporary, it is not the end of the world like you feel.
They happen to you, it isn't you. It doesn't define you.
People have different lives, different experiences. But your worries and troubles are not worth less than other people's. I wrote a paragraph in this article where I go into more detail about why your sadness is not less worthy than others', and why you shouldn't compare your troubles to other people's.
You got this. Make this your year. Your life.
I believe in you :)