At what point do you finally admit to yourself that you’re not okay? I’ve had anxiety since I was 9 years old, but back then there wasn’t really a name for it. My Mom told me I had a “nervous stomach” because I would feel nauseous so often. Many things scared me growing up, so much so that for a long period of time, I rarely left my house. Looking back on the past 23 years, I wonder what life feels like without fear.
My mind constantly races. I find it so difficult to be in the moment despite the books I’ve read, meditation I’ve practiced, and grounding methods I’ve incorporated into my daily routine. The future, in all of it’s uncertainty, leaves me feeling afraid of where I’m going and what I’m doing. I don’t remember the last time I was able to experience something without thinking about what I was going to do next, or if I’ve ever been able to do that at all.
I have tried many things to manage my anxiety over the years beginning with counselling in my teens. Most of those sessions lead to conversations about addictions in my family and codependency. That’s not to say those weren’t real issues in my life, but none of these professionals ever seemed to help. I’ve kept food diaries to determine if what I was eating was somehow affecting my mood. Unfortunately, all that revealed was that I had IBS and what would eventually lead to full blown lactose intolerance. I’ve tried alternative therapies like reiki, reflexology, tarot card readings, acupuncture, naturopathic treatments, meditation, yoga, supplements, and incorporating a strict exercise regime, all of which helped but were never sustainable or long lasting.
I am often told I come across as a very happy, positive, optimistic, and strong person. I think I am all of those things, but I’m also hollow inside. I have a hard time eliciting a genuine laugh and often wonder how others can laugh so effortlessly at things that really aren’t that funny. When I’m out having fun, I will usually stop and feel that on the inside I’m really not having that great of a time, but I’m out and doing things that are supposed to make you happy, so I tell myself I am. I’m tired of meeting new people and having to get to know them but I also hate to spend too much time alone. These are the inner workings of an anxiety-ridden, depressed, 30-something who’s single with no children and wondering what happened to the last 15 years of her life and what will the next 15 bring?
I’ve been pretty lost since being abused. I have put my all into that experience, sharing, healing, helping, sympathizing, organizing, speaking, advocating, you name it. I’ve obsessed over it and who it’s made me. I thought that the trauma was what was making me feel this way. Of course, it doesn’t help and it adds an extremely thick layer of shit to a person who’s already struggling, but really, I’ve been this way for a lot longer than five years. The trauma from the assault is it’s own separate thing lumped on top of my general anxiety disorder. Turns out that PTSD and GAD are a really toxic mix.
I’ve never felt more lonely or alone. I don’t particularly need anyone right now, but I feel a want to have some sort of constant in my life. I can’t seem to make sense of how I got here, I just want my brain to settle for a while so I can see past the scribblings in front of me to view the bigger picture. Even as I type this, I’m not crying, I’m not upset, I’m just empty. It’s weird because I’m not overly concerned about how empty I feel either, it’s just a void. Life is weird.