July 1, 2017. 12:02 a.m.- Day 1 of my secret blog. Hello nobody. 🙂

I’m a writer. I went to college to just to become one. I used to write for a living; now I teach writing to my students. I’ve never wanted to do anything more in life than write. But I don’t do it anymore (a long story that may be addressed some time within these posts). I really don’t like for others to read my writing AT ALL (ironic, because my writing used to be published frequently). This is going to be very challenging for me, but I have promised myself to write and post something everyday, even if I feel that what I have to say has no value (which is just about everything).

I have no idea where to actually begin with this so I’m just going to roll with it. I’ve never told anyone anything that will be addressed in these posts. This is simply a therapeutic process for me right now, but maybe one day my hidden words will come to light and can help someone who has ever experienced what I am feeling. Super cliché way to begin, but here we go….

I have anxiety. Not normal people anxiety; an extreme, hyped up version of the original thing. The type that leaves me thinking there is no other alternative than to just freak out in different situations, feeling like there is no escape and believing that there is no hope. I have panic attacks to the point where my lungs close up and I can’t breathe without having to gasp for air. I can’t move or talk to anyone until the feeling has passed, which can last for 5 minutes or drag on for hours. It can be triggered by the smallest thing and I have no control over my reactions.

I don’t tell people that I struggle with severe anxiety. First off, because it isn’t really a great conversation starter. Like “Tell me a little about yourself…” “Oh, you know, I have extreme anxiety and I’m currently trying to keep myself from exploding at this very moment.” Second of all, because it’s so downplayed by others and everyone expects you to have control of your life because YOU’RE AN ADULT FOR GOODNESS SAKE GET YOURSELF TOGETHER!

I’ve just never let anyone see anything other than a strong persona. I’ve always been a go-getter; I knew what I wanted at a young age and I achieved those goals. I’ve been successful from a young age and I have always felt that I needed to maintain that image, lest I let down my personal cheerleaders (family & friends). So I pretend to be tough. I pretend to be in control. I pretend that I am doing just fine.

The thing is, most people who have never suffered from anxiety or known someone who has don’t really understand the struggle. Or maybe they do, but don’t think of it to be that big of a deal. I mean, come on right? Get a hold of yourself! Take 5 deep breaths, remind yourself that you are in control of your own emotions, don’t let others’ opinions get to you, know your self-worth… blah, blah, blah, the list goes on. I’m here to say from personal, every-single-day-of-my-life experience, it’s not that simple. There is no clear solution. This is just something that is and the escape door is on the other side of the world.

To address this on day one, yes I have full faith in God. Yes I believe that God will help me handle all things that life throws at me. He has always helped me through life, and even though I have my moments (as we all do), I completely trust God. I know that I will be okay. My faith is first and foremost the most important thing to me and I define myself by my love of God.

Sure, people ask “But if you really trust God, how can you still have anxiety?” Or offer advice such as, “You have to let go of your worries and let God handle it. You just aren’t trusting him enough!” Or my personal favorite, “If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it.”

My response: I don’t have one. I usually agree. I wonder all the time if I am trusting enough, if I’m putting enough effort into my own work, if I am living life right or if I’m just bringing this upon myself. Maybe everyone is right; maybe if I am a little nicer, a little more patient, a little more forgiving, then this anxiety will go away! But I know for a fact that isn’t it.

You don’t understand the internal struggles I deal with every single day. I can’t even check my phone without mentally preparing myself. It’s hard for me to make plans with friends or family without coming up with a random excuse last minute on why I can’t attend. 99% of the time I don’t even have a real reason to cancel; I simply cannot get myself to leave my house because of the mental roadblock I suffer from. And these are the people closest to me, the people who should understand and accept my reasons and excuses. But they can’t because they don’t know how my mind suffers. I promise I always have the best intentions to hang out. Who wouldn’t want to be around their best friends?! Just give me about 3 hours to prep and remind myself not to break down and cry in front of others for no reason. Not exaggerating- it takes a minimum of 3 hours to get my mind right.

Honestly, I think that’s what hurts me the most about having this anxiety. Not that my chest gets constricted and I can’t breathe, or feeling like nothing I ever do is right. No. What hurts the most is the fact that my own best friends think I am a “flake” and bail all the time. Especially the times when I am the one to come up with the plans.

“I should start charging you for every time you cancel.”

“I already made plans for that night because I figured you weren’t going to want to do anything.”

“If you say yes to hanging out and make a commitment, then you should actually follow through and show up.”

Everyone thinks I’m a jerk who doesn’t care about making others feel bad or wasting their time when they could’ve been out doing something else. They think that it’s easy for me to cancel plans and feel no remorse. But instead of saying, “Hey! This is why I can’t meet today…” or “I have these issues that prevent me from doing everything I want.” I don’t bother to explain at all because I don’t think they will get it.

Nobody ever does.