Since I accepted the fact that I have an anxiety disorder, I have spent a lot of time asking questions. Like…. Why me? When did this begin? Could it have been prevented? Is it hereditary? Will it ever go away? Am I going to end up living in a padded room with friendly caregivers?
I cannot answer most of those questions, but I can try to explain one. When did this all begin? I cannot give exact dates or moments, but I do believe a series of events in my early childhood had a dramatic affect on me, and my anxiety. As you continue to read, I want you to understand that I in NO WAY blame anyone, and I am not looking for pity.
When I started taking medication (about 2 years ago), my doctor suggested that I see a psychologist. I was very much against having my head shrunk, but it was free, and I was running out of excuses to not go… My doctor did not believe that I had an actual allergy to psychologists.
I think the psychologist may have been half psychic. After speaking to me for about 30 seconds she said that I appeared very uncomfortable, and like I did not want to be there. Five minutes later she told me that I seemed to have a “control issue”. I think this is when I started to trust her judgment.
We spent the hour discussing my life, mostly my childhood, and she helped me realize the progression and the history of my anxiety. Talking to her was like connecting the dots in the coloring book picture of my life. (I never went back for my next appointment… This is largely because my life was INSANELY busy at the time, and partially because I thought one head shrinking was good enough for me.)
To summarize, I am the youngest in my immediate family. Both of my parents are the youngest in their immediate families. They both have rather large families; therefore, many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are much much older than me. Also, there seems to be a fair amount of illnesses that are hereditary in both families.
In elementary school I had already been to several funerals. By high school I actually knew some of the funeral home workers by their first name. True story.
Because several of our deceased family members and friends were victims of some terrible diseases, the topic of illnesses was often at the top of our discussions in the house. It’s really no wonder that I have a terrible obsession with dying from a horrible disease.
I would say, “that is that”, except that there are thousands of people out there who have been through much worse than I! I mean, yes, it is hard to deal with untimely deaths as a young child, and no my childhood was not perfect. However, it was also pretty great!
I mean I can hardly complain. My parents love me and support me, my big sister will do anything for me, I have always had a really tightknit group of incredible friends, I did well in school, my neighborhood was like a street right out of a 50’s sitcom….so after my psychologist appointment I began to think…
I left the appointment feeling like “oh thank God! It’s not my fault that I’m crazy! It’s just my history.” But after all that thinking, I began to change my mind.
“How come I’m not as tough as everyone else? What’s my excuse? Why can’t I handle tragedy gracefully and move on in life? AGAIN I was embarrassed and ashamed of being weak and crazy. Obviously, I dwelled on this for quite a while.
(This is also a huge reason why I did not share this with many friends…sorry girls. My friends are some of the toughest, smartest, most beautiful women I know! They seem to overcome any obstacle life throws at them and rise to the top. They have overcome adversities that would have caused me to go into panic-attack-overload. I am constantly amazed at their strength. I just assumed I’d look silly trying to explain my problems that seem so little in comparison. Of course, now I know I’m silly for not telling them. I know they’ll always love and accept me for who I am. Thanks girls.)
After all the dwelling, I came to this conclusion.
I was born this way…Just as Miss GaGa herself would say.
I have ALWAYS been extremely anxious, shy, nervous, etc. Some of my nerves were cured or went away. For example, I am no longer the quiet little girl in the back of the classroom who is afraid to raise her hand or ask to go the bathroom. My Mother probably wishes I was a little more shy than I’ve turned out to be…just look our YouTube video. I got over my fears of driving, flying, riding roller coasters, skydiving, no big deal!
Now, all my anxiety issues seem to stay focused on the one issue I’ve clearly discussed. I don’t think it necessarily could have been any other way. It’s just me. And, maybe I’m a better person for it. Maybe I can help someone else suffering with panic attacks. Maybe I’ll make some new friends and we can bond over anxiety meds. Or, maybe I’ll just continue to write this blog and hope someone finds it interesting.
In any case, I’m not ashamed anymore. I love who I am, coffee addiction, messiness, craziness and all!