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Can I tell you a story?

Posted November 3rd, 2013 at 9:41 PM by Anna
Updated April 18th, 2015 at 5:58 PM by Anna

I started writing this for Yuki's Sword in the comments of this blog. But it got rather long and disjointed so. Pala, this really is for you, but I'd like to share with everyone.

I've got chronic anxiety and mild depression. I'm also hella stubborn and somehow managed to convince myself that if I didn't overcome those issues on my own with no external influences, then it was "cheating" or something. And I refused to talk about my feelings and all that bull because... I guess because I had been adamantly against being "girly" all my life, and discussing feelings fell into that. Also I didn't like the idea of telling everything to people; my thoughts were really the only thing private to me. My mind was- is- the only thing I have control over. I don't want to give other people access to that. I was in a variety of therapists' offices for various reasons over the course of like eight years. I just am not a person that opens up.

So, first off, my anxiety held me back from a lot of things. Starting from the time I was like, four. Playing on the playground- what if I hurt myself? Swimming in water deeper than like eight feet- I'm an extremely capable swimmer. No reason to be afraid except... what if? Driving was awful. I have my license, but I cried every time the instructor took me out and only passed because the test was on a closed circuit. Making friends was always hard. And because of all these limitations... I got really lonely. It got hella worse as I got older, too.

Let me tell you a thing. Being lonely and disassociated from positive social interaction increases the severity of almost every mental illness. But if you're not very good at making friends, or once you get in the habit of pushing people away for whatever reason, you stop reaping the benefits of all that. You close up and start thinking you're not good enough for people, and eventually not good enough for yourself. Because it doesn't seem like anyone wants to be with you.... but you haven't been giving them a real chance. You haven't been striving with all your might toward that kind of positive interaction.

I barely graduated. Perfectionism + anxiety about not being perfect made me pretty much incapable of doing assignments and handing them in, or doing group work and certainly not presentations. Then I spent a summer doing fun things with family and friends. Then the next school year rolled around and... I wasn't going to college. All of my friends were going off to gain the ability to be successful and I wasn't. I missed my boat. So I basically sat in my room and cried for two months. Mom made me get a job. Then the place closed down and I spent literally six months doing nothing.

Let me tell you something else. Doing nothing? Being completely unproductive? Not getting out of bed for like three days? ****ing awful. Every time you get something accomplished, you feel just a little bit proud of yourself. A little bit more happy. Because you did something! Doesn't have to be big- even just taking a shower and getting dressed makes you feel a little better about the day. Doing anything is good- you can be proud of doing even the smallest thing. Took all the dirty dishes out of your room? Great, there's more desk space now! Maybe you can work on getting the desk actually clean, now. Not doing anything makes you stay at neutral or delve into unhappiness, because then you look back and see you've done nothing. It makes you feel a bit useless. But if you say, hey, I cleaned a little today! That was good! then you feel a little better about it.

As I did nothing, I became more reclusive. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything because my life was a mess and I hated it and I didn't think anyone would like me. And I really didn't want to admit how messed up my life was either. I am a proud person. It is ridiculous.

So I mean, then I was lonely. And too scared to do anything about it. So I really just sat and cried, put out vague (and sometimes not so vague) messages on various social media sites. People tried to talk me out of it and point out the positives, but I didn't want to listen. I'm stubborn, remember. I wished I could feel better, but I didn't think putting effort in would get me anywhere. So I didn't. I just wallowed in it.

Mom made me get a job again. Cashiering at IKEA. Nbd, done that before. But the thing is that is was great. I was doing something. I could be proud of how fast I was getting things done, how quickly I learned, how everyone there liked me, how they liked me enough to start putting me in more advanced positions way before anyone in the group they hired with me/just before me/just after me. I got to talk to lots of people- my coworkers were great, most of the customers were nice enough, and I always had something to do.

But then the anxiety started coming back. I'd occasionally get so frustrated I'd cry, and then I'd be anxious about crying in front of people, which would make me cry more easily and it's a ****ing vicious cycle, honey. I started looking for new jobs on-and-off; I'm not very good at it, because change is scary. People are scary. I was becoming afraid of the world again. I was still lonely, because my schedule included all weekends. And since I couldn't drive without shaking and crying, I had to bus. On average, 1.5 hours each way. That's a lot of time down the drain.

I felt like an NPC. Just a drone. Living for nothing but to sell cheap Swedish furniture to snobby middle-class people. I felt like my life was going nowhere and I wasn't getting anything out of life and maybe I wasn't worth it anyway. Maybe I'm a waste of a life. There are so many more people who deserve what I have and would have taken the opportunities I missed. So many people who could have led a better life in my shoes. I didn't deserve any of what I had. It's not fair to my parents; they should have had someone successful and kind. It's not fair to my friends; they shouldn't have to put up with this ****. It's not fair to me... it's not fair that I have to be this person.

I got a new job. Suddenly my workweek went from randomly scheduled 20 hours a week to a rigid 40 hours, no weekends. That's a plus, but a hell of a jump. I cried within two weeks. I cried at least once a week. I can't handle pressure or stress very well. I went from a company with a well-structured, large support network to one with like four people I could possibly turn to who were usually nowhere to be found with no way to contact them. And those four drop down to one halfway through my workday. I am literally by myself for twenty hours a week. No music, nothing to distract me from how my life is still ****** and going absolutely nowhere. I'm 20 years old with a full time job as a barista and I hate it so much. And I glance at Facebook once in a while and see that all the people I knew are halfway through four-year degrees or graduated two-year programs. And I'm sitting here worthless. Worthless to employers, worthless to colleges, worthless to family, friends, myself.

I found a friend. She works in the building, but not the café. She told me how she's tried a ton of antidepressants for years and found one that works well for her. She's happy now. And she told me I should get some meds. I'm not a fan of artificially induced mental alteration, but I mean... Mom's been telling me for years. And I didn't want to cry at work anymore. And I wanted to drive, because we'll be moving even farther from my friends. And I wanted to be done with all the ****** parts of my life, and I guess that's one part of it.

I barely spoke to my doctor. I mean, you're supposed to explain how you're feeling and such, and that's hard. But she gave me a checklist, and that's much easier. You just check boxes saying how often you felt certain ways over like two weeks. And she didn't need to question me much because she'd seen me get shots before. ****ing bawling like a baby. She put me on some anti-anxiety meds on the lowest possible dose. And holy **** these things help. I only cried at work once in the month I've been on them. She's increased the dosage now that my body is doing fine with them. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to drive soon. And that'll be better. My dad lives like 90 miles away, so I don't see him often. I haven't seen my grandparents in like six months. I really wish I was free to go see them.

Maybe I will be.

It's kind of the start, isn't it? The start of me figuring out how to live. Because living like I was, that wasn't really living at all. I wish it was easier. I wish none of this had been an issue in the first place. If I had opened up or taken this option a little sooner, maybe I wouldn't have missed so much. Maybe I would be two years into a degree. Maybe I would be on my way to becoming someone useful to the world. But for now, I'll settle for functional.

So I mean, when you do your best and feel like you're getting nowhere... try a new approach. Use what resources you have available. You can always say "no, I don't like that" and back out of it. You can always stop your medications, stop seeing your therapist, stop interacting with whoever is trying to help you. But look at you. Look at your future. You can not be anyone other than you. Do you think you're useless? Do you think you're not worthy of living? Then make yourself someone useful. Make yourself worthy. If the way you are now isn't satisfactory, change to your liking. Don't change for anyone but yourself. Start with the little things. Because that little start can make all the difference.
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  1. Old Comment
    derozio's Avatar
    You know, someone who actually has gone through the **** times does make a lot more sense than someone who hasn't. I'm glad you're doing better now, anna. And I'm glad you shared your experience with pala. Maybe now she knows that she isn't all alone in this.
    Posted November 3rd, 2013 at 9:54 PM by derozio derozio is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Kirby's Avatar
    Oh my god Anna. <33 I just want to hug you so bad right now. We need an anxiety support network on PC where like-maladjusted peoples can talk about their struggles and recovery.

    Your story, as much as it broke my heart for you, gives me hope. I sincerely hope you continue on the road to recovery and find balance in your life. Above all, I'm always here for you. <33
    Posted November 4th, 2013 at 12:38 PM by Kirby Kirby is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Fairy Tale~'s Avatar
    Originally Posted by Alexial View Comment
    Oh my god Anna. <33 I just want to hug you so bad right now. We need an anxiety support network on PC where like-maladjusted peoples can talk about their struggles and recovery.

    Your story, as much as it broke my heart for you, gives me hope. I sincerely hope you continue on the road to recovery and find balance in your life. Above all, I'm always here for you. <33
    i agree that was butiful i dont care if i did not spell thay right you are amazing you toched my heart with that story and i cant believe how i feel right now i dont have the words to put in my mouth right now
    Posted November 4th, 2013 at 8:53 PM by Fairy Tale~ Fairy Tale~ is offline

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