In my case, anxiety affected many areas of my life over the years. It crept in everywhere. I remember at one point, it being so intense, that I wasn't able to enjoy life at all. I constantly felt...fearful. I constantly had a ball in the pit of my stomach. Just thinking of it now, makes feel a little shaky. I still get that ball sometimes, but it is no longer constant. Thank Fuck, for that! Lol. But seriously, I feel for anyone who has felt this kind of anxiety in their life. It can be a very dark, lonely place, at times. I know. I have been there. For a long, long time I thought I was alone. I even remember, in my teenage years, wishing I was an alcoholic or a shoplifter, or something that made some sort of sense. Even if it was criminal. At least, I might have been able to grasp that a little bit better. At least I knew there were other people out there "like that". Now, I'm ashamed to admit this, but it goes to show how low someone can feel when they are suffering from anxiety. In my darkest times as a teenager, I wished for cancer. I did. I wished for it. I wanted the sympathy, the understanding, the attention from people. From my parents. If I had cancer then it would trump the anxiety. Wow. That's a pretty intense thought for a 14 yearold. Sometimes, I wish I could bump into the little me. I would look her straight in the eye & say "listen to me girl. You have anxiety. You suffer from it. You are not alone. You will learn. You will overcome. Be strong. It's a hell of a journey. But fight it. Your life is totally gonna be worth it." Then I would give her the worlds biggest hug, the big, snuggly hugs that I give my kids now, & whisper in her ear that she beautiful. And normal. I would add that knowing how many times she wondered if she were that....some sort of normal.
My therapist, who I love, told me that people with anxiety often don't finish projects. Don't keep plans. Are very bad with commitments. Have a hard time keeping friends. My jaw dropped, I'm sure. That was all me. But I had thought, I had believed that it was my personality. That I just wasn't a very good friend, period. At that moment I realized how much anxiety had crept into my life, because I couldn't tell the difference between me or the anxiety. I was overcome with sadness at first. That I didn't know my true authentic self. I was so sad. But then I felt hope. I was learning skills to help me see the difference between how I really felt about something & how the anxiety felt about something. I had to learned to put the anxiety in the corner for a moment & ask myself "ok Sherri, is this how you really feel, or is the anxiety". So many times, so many times it was the anxiety. Kinda shocking to realize that. But so empowering. To realize that I have been there the whole time. The real authentic me. I love it. I love to getting to know her. That's where I leave it for now. My 4 yearold wants to play Handy Manny games, & I already said "5 more minutes". Twice. Funny how this blog has become about my anxiety. I had no idea what I write about it. I have kept anxiety in for so long, that it's damn time it came out! Peace out