It’s been a year since I’ve
known accepted that I have anxiety. I don’t know if it’s been a full 365 days. But I remember it was March-April of last year.
To be honest, the progression it took to figure out I had anxiety was scary and “complete” in a sense.
I figured out I had anxiety during my sophomore year of high school.
Let me not sugarcoat it: I hated sophomore year. I was never happy and I didn’t have real friends.
Almost all of my friends were fake, or I thought they were real… when they just turned out to be fake.
Example? During the first semester of sophomore year my best friend and I didn’t have the same lunch. So I sat with our friend who I actually thought was a real friend. But throughout that semester she just left me alone at lunch. Some days I even sat alone with nothing but my phone.
During that time I was having sort of an identity crisis.
I was lost. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know why I was the way I was. I think I’ve had anxiety for a few years before I even knew what it really was. I never liked talking loud, I always got panicky whenever I had to be social. I just… I was lost and confused.
People actually asked me “What’s wrong with you?” when I couldn’t socialize. And I didn’t know. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I guess I needed to figure out what was wrong.
I started writing this blog post before I realized what I had:
“No one seems to care.
That’s what my mind perceives.
The worries and fear keep telling me that I don’t belong here.
Maybe my mind is wrong.
But I don’t like this.
I don’t like being in a whole room full of people and feeling all alone.
Is it ironic that when I’m by myself I don’t feel alone at all?”
The main reason I didn’t like sophomore year was because it was the year of my deepest darkness.
I remember almost every week that year I used to have these regular moments of darkness. I just felt so down and depressed. I didn’t want to do anything. I felt like no one loved me.
Whenever the weekend came, I still felt depressed and unrelieved. Because ultimately the weekend wasn’t going to save me from my darkness. It was what, 2 days? Nothing was going to happen that would make me happy. Plus school wasn’t the only place I felt alone, I felt alone at church too- especially at Sabbath School, aka the place where the other teenagers of the church are. I had no friends and I knew I was never going to make friends because this was the one place I never felt safe.
During this period of my life, I wasn’t suicidal but I wouldn’t care if something happened to me to take away my life… that’s how bad it was. I once saw this thing that said:
“I’m not suicidal, but if a car came while I was crossing the street I don’t think I’d move and if someone held a gun to my head I wouldn’t exactly beg for my life in fact id laugh and tell them go for it. No I’m not suicidal but if I had the chance to die without killing myself I’d probably take it.”
I still remember that quote to this day. I still remember the moment I saw this quote. Have you ever had that moment where you resonate so much with something, whether it be a quote, a song, a book? That was this quote for me. And looking back on it, I can’t believe I used to be that deep.
The worst part is that the darkness was so common I barely noticed whenever I “went down on my roller coaster” -that’s what I called it.
Then I realized I had anxiety. It helped me in a sense, I don’t know how but it kind of fit the pieces of my life together.
Imagine if you always felt alone and… weird. But then you realize that people are actually going through the same things and feeling the same emotions as you. I thought that getting panicky and hiding in bathrooms just to breathe was lame and weak. But it’s just who I am and it showed me what I don’t like.
I remember the moment of looking up anxiety on my phone. My mom was picking me up after an after-school activity and I don’t know something happened that day that made me look up that word. It was a school day so of course, something anxiety-wise happened.
When I read what I saw, I couldn’t believe that what I was reading was me. I didn’t want to believe it.
My mom has depression, schizophrenia, and is bipolar. My grandpa has depression. Throughout my life, I’ve always seen people judge them. I’ve never seen one person understand them for
who they are what they have. No one ever sympathized with them.
Once I accepted that I would have a mental disorder, that once I was a label- I could never go back. I could never see myself as the same way again. I wasn’t only going to advocate mental health for my mom or my grandpa, I was going to advocate it for me too.
It obviously wasn’t a one-moment realization. That’s why I don’t know the exact date of the year of knowing that I have anxiety. It took me a few weeks to actually see that I actually have anxiety. I realized how I acted. I realized how social situations made me feel. I opened up my eyes.
I always hear people say you’re not your mental disorder. And I know that I am not anxiety.
But I don’t know how to explain it. Don’t get me wrong anxiety is hell. But, finding out I have anxiety kind of brought me out of the hole that I was in last year. I’ve found good people- good friends, hopefully, real friends. I’ve been loving myself more. I don’t feel lost anymore.
I don’t know what figuring out that I have anxiety did to me. Knowing that I have it just made the phrase “What’s wrong with you” make sense.
A month after figuring out that I have anxiety I remembered that phrase and I imagined myself talking to the people who have said that to me and saying this is what’s wrong with me.
But there’s nothing wrong with having anxiety or any mental disorder for that fact.
I think a mental disorder is just another way of our minds to telling us “I don’t like this,” or “I want to be different.”
People with mental disorders will always have a special place in my heart.
Because whether you notice it or not, we’re all warriors. We’ve all had that time of darkness before knowing who we were or what we had. But we’ve made it through.
Why are we so damn hard on ourselves?
Think of all you’ve been through.
All the grief, the darkness, the moments of being lost.
Yet, here you are.
You’ve made it.
Honestly, last year if you asked me if I thought I would be here today lasting through all that darkness- I wouldn’t believe you.
The journey was definitely not easy, but here I am, and here you are with me too.
It’s been a year of knowing that I have anxiety.
It’s been a hard year, but I’m glad to say that I’m still standing here.
Still sitting here writing this out to you.
Hope isn’t hopeless.
If you’re going through a dark moment in your life, don’t let go. Keep holding on. I’m not exactly out of the darkness today. But there’s a difference from last year than this year. And it isn’t entirely figuring out that I have anxiety.
Last year I hated myself. Last year I didn’t put my faith in God. Last year I submitted to pain.
Your journey will be different from mine. You believe different things, you’re going through different circumstances. But I hope… yes, hope that you believe that something will bring you out of this darkness. That you’ll be able to make it through.
Because the rain can’t last forever.