I used to hate talking about my struggles with anxiety. I was afraid (ha, duh) of people judging me. Over time, especially recently, I've become more open about it. It's a huge part of my life, so it's kind of important that I let people know.
When I was younger, I really didn't understand it. Some of you may have heard the stories...but I used to be terrified of everything. I would cry and breakdown when people said something about my big eyes, because I hated the attention. I came into my parents room at 4 am once, when I was just six years old, crying. I told them I didn't have a brown crayon, and I couldn't go to school because I was terrified that the teacher would tell us to use a brown crayon and I wouldn't have it. I never once raised my hand in class, even if I was sure of an answer. The thought of being wrong, looking stupid, and just talking in front of everyone made me literally sick to my stomach. As I got older, I still struggled with classroom issues, people in authority, and strangers. When I was old enough to drive and go shopping by myself, I would avoid associates, even if I DID need help. It started to come out a little bit more seriously as far as avoiding things- I was pretty active in high school, but often times would make up excuses for going out with friends so that I could just be alone, where I wouldn't have to feel anxiety. I did that SO many times in college, too. I preferred being a hermit in my room to going out.
I know some of you can relate, but to those who can't, imagine for just a second living every single day of your life in absolute FEAR. That's how my life was for several years, until I recognized my own issues and got the help I needed. I would never wish what I dealt with upon anyone, ever.
How I dealt with the anxiety has become the biggest challenge. When I was younger, I didn't understand it. I dealt with it by not speaking. I still have a hard time talking to strangers, but you should have seen little Megan. Up until a few years ago I was hiding behind my mom, out of pure fear. As I got older, I turned to food to comfort me. I can remember binging on fast food before I went out with friends, and then feeling awful about it, to the point where I began to hate myself. The self-hate and depression played a pretty large role in college. I honestly don't know if I ever reached a complete level of happiness in college. I was constantly at a very low self-esteem and state of anxiety. I practically spent my entire sophomore year in my room, and if I wasn't in my room I was drinking...heavily. I avoided my feelings and getting help by drinking or eating. It wasn't until some very special people came into my life and pulled me out that I started to realize how destructive I was being to my body and mind. I started getting help but was still overwhelmed with anxiety in most cases. I would go home very often to avoid spending time surrounded by PEOPLE. I would make myself physcially ill with the things I worried about. It wasn't a good time for me.
The difference between then and now is that I have the resources and help to recognize my anxiety. I keep careful track of when I feel anxiety most and talk it over with a professional. I know the signs of anxiety and of when it will be easy for me to withdraw and slip into depression. For the first time in my life I am helping myself. I also do not turn to food anymore (okay, I've had a few binges, but nothing like it used to) and have other ways of coping- writing, praying, etc.
The reason I tell you this is so you all have an understanding of anxiety. Let me tell you that for every person who suffers from anxiety, it is the LAST thing they want. They don't mean to hurt your feelings if they avoid you- it's their way out. I know when I was struggling deeply with all of this, when I had days where I just wanted to completly give up, my biggest issue was that I didn't think anyone understood, I thought I was alone. I want people to know that they are never alone.
Thanks for reading. Love you all, have a good week....oh and to all of you who tell me you read this blog, I expect comments this time, ha.
As I was typing this, John Mayer's "Great Indoors" song started playing, which is exactly what this entry is about. Strange.