Where my anxiety started and how I deal with it everyday.
Anxiety is a tricky subject that most people don’t seem to want to talk about. A lot of people are embarrassed or afraid. They’re worried that people will judge them or think they’re less of a person. At least that’s how I felt at first.
My anxiety started when I was eighteen, after high school graduation. Though at the time I didn’t exactly realize what was happening. I was feeling down and alone. I didn’t want to do much or see anyone. I remember when the rest of my siblings went back to school in September (I’m the oldest), I spent about an hour curled up on the couch bawling because I was all alone and had no idea where I was going.
In January I decided to try going to school part time at Baker College, which clearly that didn’t go very well. My first semester I procrastinated like crazy. I would sit in my bed pretending to study, but actually watching Grey’s Anatomy. That show was my calm, my safe place. I couldn’t get myself to do the work, and barely passed my classes. The next semester I had a teacher who told us she wanted us to get in front of the class, do presentations, and work with others. That is when I experienced my first panic attack. I quit the school and finally started to talk to my mom about something being wrong.
A while later my mom finally got me in with a psychiatrist. He diagnosed me with depression, anxiety, and social anxiety. I was shocked. I really did so many ridiculous quizzes on anxiety and depression, but I never thought that’s actually what was going on. The social part really confused me. I’ve always been really good at talking to people, especially people I don’t know. That’s when I started realizing that it’s recurring relationships. My whole life I’ve had about four or five real friends. Talking to strangers wasn’t the problem, it was making relationships with people, letting them see the real me. I couldn’t do it then, and I still have a very hard time doing it now.
I strangely managed to let in a stranger for good, one from another country, I like to call that stranger my husband. Meeting my husband and letting him in was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Truly, it’s still hard to this day and we’ve been married for almost three years. The social anxiety is a real struggle for me everyday, but i’m doing the best I can.
It really hits me in the aspects of working. I’m twenty-three and I've had one job my entire life and that was for only about 11 months. I’ve applied for jobs, and even gone on interviews. Both which have given me severe panic attacks. The panic starts by wondering what i’ll wear to an interview if I get it. Which then proceeds to me worrying about the actual interview, “what will they think of me? will they judge me? will I stutter and panic during the interview?”. All this is simply going through my head while just filling out an application, it gets worse when I actually get an interview. We’d be here forever if I were to continue explaining all my thoughts. Then we wonder how people do this everyday and why we can’t, right? I truly wish I had the answers.
Medication is a huge factor in my mental health. I am on four medications to help me get through my day normally, and even that isn’t good enough. Medication will never be a cure, but it helps create stability and rationality. When I've been off my meds I don’t feel rational at all. I don’t feel like myself. I feel lost, confused, and unstable. I struggle daily trying to get myself to do things I need to do. Getting myself out of bed, showering, and getting off the couch. All of that is ten times worse if i’m not on medication. The meds help me control and conquer, they help me live my life, and make my dreams come true.
Anxiety and depression may hinder me sometimes but they do NOT control me. I’m married to an amazing man who supports me, we have our own apartment, and an adorable fur baby. I have an amazing family who loves me unconditionally. They’re my rock, all of them. I encourage myself to do new things, even if they scare me. I push through everyday, even when it’s hard.
I have plenty of people there for me if I need them. We all need those people. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help, no matter who it is. Hell, ask me if you need to. No matter what you think now, you can get through this, it is possible. I am strong, you are strong, we’re all strong.