Now, before I begin this post I just wanna say that I know that this is a really sensitive topic and it’s something that I have been thinking about writing for a while, but I have been a little bit afraid. So, I just wanna say that I am sorry if this offends you or if this is not your experience. Please know that I am purely speaking from my own experience and personal feelings and am in no way speaking for anyone else.
For the last 6ish years, I have struggled with anxiety. I have had frequent panic attacks, I have multiple symptoms, and it’s something that I struggle with and am aware of every single day of my life to varying degrees. Sometimes I am ‘normal’-ish and can live a good day. Sometimes I am high-functioning and jittery and jumpy, like I have drank 5 cups of coffee in 10 minutes. Sometimes I am absolutely exhausted, cry a lot and don’t leave the house. Sometimes, I am all of these things in one day.
But, something that sticks no matter what the day, time or year, is that I am a little scared of ‘losing’ my anxiety.
By this I mean, of course I want relief from it. I dream of having effective therapy, of having a day without intrusive thoughts, of having a lifetime of normal psychological function. But, there is also a part of me that is scared of overcoming my biggest demon.
See, my anxiety has very much become me during the course of these last 6 years. By that I mean, I have learned to live with it. I have learned not to be afraid of it, how to manage it (most of the time), and how to live a relatively normal (if a little high-functioning at times) life with it. I have not let myself become my anxiety disorder, and I have not let my anxiety disorder become me; I am somewhere in the middle of that.
However, even though I view myself/my personality and my anxiety disorder as completely different entities, I do feel like they are very intrinsically linked. And, scarily, I do not know who I am without my anxiety disorder.
I have been through the most turbulent periods of my life full of change and uncertainty with my anxiety disorder niggling from behind. Those experiences have made me who I am today, but a part of that has also got to be with the anxiety disorder alongside like some completely unwanted hand luggage that you are also absolutely terrified of losing.
What if overcoming my anxiety disorder changes who I am? What if I cannot love as deeply without anxiety? What if my brain doesn’t work as quickly and as constantly as it does now without anxiety? These are questions that I ask myself every single day.
Realistically, I know that my life would be much better without anxiety. It is not something that I would ever choose to live with. I know that I would feel free, feel liberated, feel better than I do now. But, that does not stop the intrusive thoughts for now.
So, potentially, what I am saying is that I am fortunate enough to be in the position where I could potentially get help for my anxiety disorder in the coming through months. This is something that I have waited for for a long time and have spoken through thoroughly with my parents, and this is something that I do want to do for myself and for the life that I could have without this disorder.
However, I am terrified at the same time. I am terrified because I spent so much time learning to live with it, that now it feels like a waste. I am terrified because it is the complete unknown and I don’t know who I will be afterwards. And, most of all, I am terrified of opening myself up and becoming vulnerable only for the help not to work and for me to be left in a much worse place than I was to begin with.
So please explain this brain-fart of a blog post. I vowed to always be honest on here in terms of mental health, and this is my truth right now. I know that I am privileged to even be in the position where I can consider the costs of help, and I do completely and utterly appreciate that. However, I am still very terrified.