Living With Anxiety:
Anxiety lies within, bubbling just below the surface of my skin. You can’t tell by looking at me because I try to hide it from the world around me.
Is it shame, when I try to hide it? Maybe. It’s usually something people don’t acknowledge. Why do mental health issues continue to be so taboo? I may have won a Transforming Lives Award in 2012 from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, but my mental health issues are something I’m still afraid to talk about, especially when I am having one of my days. I’m afraid people will walk away, just like they have before. They don’t understand the fight that goes on within, and what it takes for me to fight. They interpret it as something else, and sometimes I just want to yell-PLEASE take the time to understand and know it has nothing to do with you, it’s me.
Only a select few who really know me understand what anxiety can do to me and how it can make me act. It happens like this, even though it can be different for everyone who experiences this too- A sheen of sweat will break out upon my skin, almost like I’ve just come from soaking in a tub. I start to twitch, I can’t sit still and my stomach does somersaults. My throat feels like it is closing and my heart speeds up. I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack, even though I know it’s the anxiety inside that causes me to feel that way.
I draw inside myself even further and I’m quiet to begin with. People mistake the quietness for snobbiness, even though that’s farthest from the truth. In fact, I wear my heart upon my sleeve and get more easily hurt than I care to admit. My fingers go to my hair and I try to pull at the little hair I have. See, there’s a reason I keep my hair short. I know if I grow it long, it would be so uneven and I’m afraid of people laughing-they have in the past.
They have a name for this hair pulling-its called trichotillomania. It’s in the list of diagnoses I’ve been given by the Western model of psychiatry. Call it what you will, I don’t like the list of diagnoses I’ve been given so I try to push myself as far as I can, even if it means my anxiety pushes through and shows in my demeanor.
I don’t want to be a victim so I fight it every day, even if that means I have to stop and take that little orange pill called Clonazepam to get me through the moment. Thank goodness I’ve learned to take that only when I truly need it-I don’t want to be hooked on something I know I can work on by doing what I do-writing and letting the words flow.
Everyone experiences anxiety differently, no two stories are alike, but I’m telling you mine, because maybe you will understand, its not something I signed up for, its just a small piece of who I am. I try to think positive when there is negativity bubbling inside. I try to smile even when I feel like frowning and make myself go out even when all I want to do is hide.
I like to be alone more times than not, even if that means being labeled anti social. Maybe I am anti social, I won’t lie about that, but there’s always a reason, just take the time to ask me and maybe I’ll explain.
Anxiety lies within, bubbling just below the surface of my skin. I’ve turned to writing to get it out and for me that’s a part of my healing.