“I don’t understand why you get like that”
“I don’t know how to act around you when you start behaving weird”
“Just cheer up”
“Just think about something else”
These are just a few of the things that I have had said to me in recent weeks. Background: I’ve been really struggling with my mental health issues for a few weeks again. This week I had such a big panic attack that I had to leave somewhere to go home early which has not happened to me for years and it really, honestly scared me.
Anxiety is such a smart disorder and no matter how many times I have an attack, they still scare me. It isn’t something you ever get used to. The scariest part is feeling like you can’t breathe – your heart races but you can’t swallow oxygen at all. The thoughts that pop into your head take over and you can’t make them stop. They remind you of everything that is wrong with you – all the mistakes you’ve made and make you worry about the ones you know you will.
I should be celebrating my one year free of happy pills – it was a July 2016 that I took my last citalopram and I haven’t felt the need for them since. Until now. Living life with mental illness is not a smooth journey, there are always going to be bumps in the road. I can go months without any symptoms and go about my business happy as Larry. Then, just like lightning, it comes like a bolt out the blue; I can’t stop it and I cant control it.
It sounds crazy from the outside; I get it’s hard to understand. From the inside, it’s hard to explain. You just need to be patient with me.
When I am having a hard time in my head I very often get to questioning what life would be like without anxiety and depression.
What life would be like not having to feel like I have to explain myself to people I don’t know who think I am rude when I don’t talk to them – I’m not rude, I promise. I’m just socially anxious and don’t know what to say to people I don’t know. I envy those people who are able to talk to anyone, about anything. To whom conversations with strangers are easy.
If I didn’t have anxiety.
If I didn’t have anxiety I wouldn’t automatically go to the worst – I wouldn’t wake up in the morning worrying about the day ahead. I wouldn’t have to cancel plans and miss out on things that I had been so looking forward to.
If I didn’t have anxiety I wouldn’t question myself all the time. I would have better self-esteem. I wouldn’t question my abilities. I wouldn’t question my ability to love and be loved, I wouldn’t feel like I don’t deserve all the good that I have in my life. I would be more a more supportive friend, daughter, aunt, niece.
I would just be content with being me.
I would be able to breathe, really breathe.
As anyone that suffers with anxiety knows, it is not easy. It is a daily battle and we take the good with the bad. If I didn’t have anxiety maybe life would be easier, but then maybe I wouldn’t know how much I am able to overcome. My resilience might be lower.
Maybe my anxiety makes me, me?