I’ve had a few conversations of late where people have mentioned they envy other people or other families. Not so much what they have, but how together they seem to have it. I always have the same answer… Some people are just better at hiding their issues than others!
I consider myself a pretty simple person and for the most part, I don’t try to hide or create a false sense of happy when I’m not. I think all of our emotions are important, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, I can be funny and I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent. I’m passionate and I’m loyal, but I also have many imperfections. I battle things like anxiety and depression and very rarely feel stress free, but I try not to let those things consume me and it can be a balancing act.
I’m learning I have triggers! Sometimes an uncomfortable situation or a person who knows how to press my buttons can make balancing everything feel much harder. I would say, and it’s probably like this for most people, stress is my biggest trigger. I also find a lot of my anxiety lies within my own lack of confidence in my abilities. The thing is… I know I’m fully capable of anything I put my mind to, but sometimes I seek out negative feedback so I can say see I’m not good enough! Wow… I can’t believe I just wrote that! Curse you self-doubt!
Since developing anxiety, the hardest thing for me has been trying to undo all of the false truths I’ve put into my mind. When I first developed anxiety I didn’t understand it and I would avoid any place or anything (food, drink, action…) that seemed to trigger my anxiety and bring on a panic attack. This can make a person agoraphobic very quickly and in part that’s what happened to me.
My friends didn’t understand the anxiety so they slowly disappeared and while it’s hard to admit I’m not sure I would’ve been much different had the shoe been on the other foot. I became so afraid of people not understanding and/or judging me so I stopped working full-time and only held small, intermittent, part-time jobs. I created a little safety bubble and I didn’t drift far from it. However, I became so depressed about not being able to do easy tasks or enjoy simple outings with my family, that I decided something had to change.
I decided to slowly start exposing myself to situations that would make me feel uncomfortable and trigger the anxiety that would often lead to the panic attacks. Sometimes it was and still is really difficult, but now instead of fleeing I try to push myself to stay and work through it. Not every attempt is successful and sometimes I do have to leave, but I’ve found the more I expose myself to things the easier it gets. My mantra has become I can sit home, be miserable and panic or I can get out, have a good time and maybe not panic at all! In my mind, anything was better than where I was, even if the steps I took were only baby ones.
Today I’m much better than I was, but not quite where I’d like to see myself. I’m a work in progress! Every day is a challenge and some days are better than others, but being willing to try is half the battle!