Growing up I was a normal kid. Had a fairly normal childhood. My biological father did leave when I was a baby. I was raised by my stepdad starting when I was 2. I feel like I didn’t miss out on having a dad growing up.
We moved quit a bit until I was about 10. I got to see different places. But I was good a making friends. Wasn’t a big deal to me.
When I was 10 we moved to were I live now. My middle school and high schools years were pretty normal. Not to many forever damaging events.
In high school I was confident, outgoing, had a lot friends. I wasn’t popular because I would talk to anyone. I didn’t care who you were or where you came from. I still have quit a few friends from high school. Close friends.
The bad shit didn’t happen until I was an adult.
In my early 20’s my sibling became involved with drugs. They lied, connived, stole. Did whatever they could to convince me to give them what they wanted. At some point you can only take so much toxicity in your life. At some point for your own well being you have to cut that person out. That is what I had to do. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. If they were to get their shit together I would be happy to be a part of each others lives again. To this day however, they are still a mess.
In my mid 20’s my dad( stepdad) left. He was not the man that I shared genes with. But he raised me like I was his own. He was a good Dad. Loved me to the ends of the earth a back. I was his little girl. I trusted him to protect and love me unconditionally. Which he did. He was so proud of the woman that I had become.
Shortly after I was married his behavior started to change. He was drinking, smoking, and wanted to stay out all night. He decided to move out of the his house and live in his truck. He did that for about a year.
The weekend after fathers day 7 years ago he left. He left my mom a note. That is the last that I have heard from him.
I found out after he left that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Looking back at how he was when I was growing up. It made sense.
He was medicated and doing okay. Then like a lot of people with that mental illness he stopped taking his meds. He didn’t like how he felt. About the time that he stopped taking his meds is when he started to act differently.
Then shortly after my dad left. I lost both grandparents within a year and a half of each other. Their estate was a mess due to some untrustworthy family members. Once again I couldn’t count on my family.
I had lost almost all my family that I loved and cared about.
So what does that have to do with anxiety? For me those are the reasons that I have it.
My anxiety started slowly and then became worse. I blamed myself for my dad and sibling. For not being more supportive. For not trying to help more. I was hard on myself for not going and spending more time with my grandparents before they died.
The anxiety was really bad at first. I didn’t want to go to anyplace that was new. I didn’t want to go to gatherings were there would be a lot of people. Thinking about those things, caused a huge pit in my stomach. I was nauseous the entire time. Even going to my husbands family events made me cringe. Didn’t matter that I knew them. Didn’t matter that they are nice people. Didn’t matter that I was hanging out with my friends that I had been friends with since high school.
It was a large number of people. I couldn’t be myself because I was so uncomfortable. I was synonymous for my resting bitch face. I was always getting asked if I was mad or if I was okay. I wasn’t. How could I trust them to take me as I was? To not hurt me.
I had no one from my family left except my mom. And my husband. Those are the two people in the world that I could trust to love me unconditionally. No one else.
Sometimes the people that you love the most are the ones who hurt you the worst. That is my experience anyway.
It has gotten better with time. I trusted in my husband. I know that he loves the crap out of me. I know that he won’t leave me. I had talks with my mom about my dad and sibling. I also had to let me friends in. They have become my family now.
I still have moments. Large gathering still make me want to throw up. But it’s not debilitating and once I’m there for a little bit it gets better. I still have occasional resting bitch face, but now that’s mostly because I’m thinking.
I had to let some things go and realize that they were out of my control. That you can’t help everyone. You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped.
There are people out there who have anxiety way worse than me. I feel for those people. I can see how at times it can be debilitating. So I ask this of you. Be patient. You don’t always know what people have gone through.
I am proof. I have always put on a brave face and not many people know. I know that it’s not good to internalize so much. For me though, to get better, I had to forgive myself. Only I can do that. Only I can pull out the strength to walk through that door even though it makes me so uncomfortable. In the end I am who gets me through it.