A lot of people don’t notice that I have anxiety – my quirkiness & randomness that I’ve procured over the years has masked it so well that my label is the eccentric of the group. I tend to be quite reclusive when it comes to my anxiety; I hold a lot in while I still smile on the outside. I feel too much, but go on with my day, even if I want to crawl under my comforter and camp out for the day. On the outside, to everyone else, it may seem like I have my life together. However, no matter how many great and positive things are going on in my life, I’m in constant fear of what I can lose. I can thank my past for that, and unfortunately, no matter how many times people try to reassure me, it’s still festering in the back of my brain.
Anxiety is always there, it never disappears. It shows up in different forms throughout the day like panic spouts, over-thinking, stress-sweating, migraines, etc. You name it; I most likely have experienced it. I’ve developed several habits of picking at my skin, playing with my hair & crossing my arms frequently. Since I was a kid, it was made clear that I needed to be seen and not heard, and unfortunately, that mentality was consistent until I left my surroundings at the age of 19. I was berated for being different and continuously told everything was my fault. You start to believe it, and instead of getting treated for anxiety, I felt alone and silent. Anxious feelings find a way to try and consume you, continually battling every day, you have no time off from it.
I’ve been on high alert recently. A lot of small things have just been piling on top of one another, and I feel I’m at a bottleneck point.
My usual step to combat this is to distract myself. I keep myself overly busy when I really should be doing the opposite. I throw myself into work and plug away, so I’m not alone with my thoughts for too long. I’ll reach out to everyone surrounding me to listen to their issues and offer advice when in reality I wish someone would do the same for me. I continuously strive for perfection, but I’m my own worst critic and will ‘beat myself up’ for not getting something done off of my to-do list. I’m so hard on myself, but I’m so happy that I went to therapy so I could understand that all humans make mistakes and things will be OK.
Even though I know this, whenever things get this stressful, I isolate myself. Isolation has been the coping mechanism that I’ve developed from a young age, and this is my comfort. Even though I do this, I find myself lonely. Friends and some family don’t understand why certain things are hard for me, why I leave events without notice or have a hard time accepting a compliment. They’ve all come to accept this as “my thing” and have stopped inviting me out or checking up on me. I’ve been having a hard time accepting this at this point in my life, but a great friend reminded me that it’s not the quantity of your tribe, but the quality. I know she’s right, and I wish I could push through this feeling, but I’m finding it harder than usual. It’s most likely because I give 100% of myself to my friends, and when that effort isn’t reciprocated, I feel as if my energy went to waste.
I’ll continue to push on because that’s what I do. Years ago I made a promise to myself that I would never let myself be a doormat again – I am transparent, honest and blunt. I will never apologize for who I am – this is me.