So. Here it is. The anxiety post. I write this as I stew in the aftermath of my second major break down since moving to Seattle. The word itself is actually quite pretty to me. Anxiety. I first started experiencing anxiety in my sophomore year of college. It wasn’t a concern for me then. Sweaty palms and an overactive mind are kind of my thing. After graduation though, my anxiety took a turn for the worst. I wouldn’t normally call myself weak but that is exactly how anxiety makes me feel. I feel weak, sad, angry, lost, confused, unmotivated and most of all, scared. Everyone has that thing that tips them over the edge. That trigger that launches them into unfamiliar emotional and mental territory. At first, my anxiety stemmed from this really deep place of needing love. I know that doesn’t sound all that great. Let me explain. I am loved. I am loved unconditionally, but when my anxiety started it was out of fear of being left behind. I had just gotten out of my first real relationship during sophomore year and while it didn’t launch me into a deep depression, the breakup caused me to wonder why people left me (deep mommy issues here, peeps. We’ll save that for another time). I started feeling like I wasn’t worthy of love and that if I ever experienced it again, it would be fleeting. Around that time, I had also started working for a top company and while I was making great money for a college student, I couldn’t help my family. It wasn’t enough to help me with school and take care of my family so my anxiety grew into full blown panic attacks by the time I was twenty-two. They are awful. Eyes streaming with tears, chasing breaths that I can never seem to catch, my body convulsing, mental fatigue, self loathing because I can’t find similarities in the woman I believe I am and the one my anxiety makes me become. It all happens so quickly too.
These days, my anxiety seems to solely be fueled by my finances. The feeling of not being able to take care of my father, sister and nephew drives me nuts but whenever I start to fall behind financially or I’m held back from accomplishing my dreams because of money, I lose it. Composure, self-love, excitement, creativity…all of the things that make me me, fall to the wayside and I literally feel like a bystander as this thing consumes me.
The last few days were pretty bad. I stayed in bed for almost 12 hours last weekend. I called my boyfriend in a state of panic and tried to be present as he soothed me and reminded me of how great I’m doing. Of how much I am accomplishing. A few days later, during another attack, I spent 2 hours on the phone with my dad blubbering like fool. I cried and he listened and he told me the same things. That I was okay. That I’m doing my best. That I will be stronger after this. We reminisced and I told him my dreams, what I want for the next chapter of my life. He was my therapist and sometimes just saying your emotions aloud, with no real format or too much thinking about it is the easiest way for me to release the anxious energy.
This post may not help anyone. I’m not all that sure why I’m writing it but whenever I read posts from other bloggers or friends about their own experiences, it makes the world feel a little smaller. It reminds me that I’m not alone. That alone is a brief but welcomed reprieve for my ever-racing mind. Anxiety and other mental health issues have such weird stigmas associated with them. Especially in my Caribbean background. If reading this brings comfort or understanding to just one person, it will have been worth it. Also, I won’t hide my anxiety because it’s all part of this journey to defining Devonnie and I won’t hide the not-so-beautiful parts of this process.
Let me know if you guys want any other posts about how I deal with my anxiety or some suggestions that work for you that I should try.