I am a very private person. I always have been. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child. Maybe it’s because growing up it was just my mom and me from the age of 12 on. Sharing myself with others does not come naturally. Fear of commitment, fear of being judged, incsecurity. Mostly insecurity. I was always attracted to stoicism, especially when it comes to my problems.

Deny, deny, deny.

The funny thing is, I don’t judge my friends when they confide in me but it’s very hard for me to do the same. I want everything I say about my life to be positive so that maybe the negative doesn’t have to be real, you know?

I was 12 when my dad passed away and my personality and my priorities changed. My mom and dad were separated at the time. Me and my mom didn’t have any close relatives or family. It was basically just us. My grandparents and my mom had a difficult relationship. They didn’t even come for my father’s funeral. Even though my mom is amazing and handled the situation as best as she could and did everything she could for me, I still felt like I became an adult from that time on.

I didn’t do typical teenge stuff, I didn’t rebel, I didn’t even learn to drive. My mom was scared of driving and I had no one to teach me. I didn’t want to cause my mom any more pain. I think my anxiety really began then. I was scared that my mom could die at any moment. And, almost more so, I was scared that something could happen to me and my mom would be left all alone in the world.

Worst of all, aside from my mom, I have always kept my anxiety hidden from others.

Because, after all, talking about it would make it real right?

Well, now it’s time to admit that it is already real and something that is poisoning my thoughts recently.

But, going back to the years after my father died. I want to get this all down, I want to own up to my shit so that, maybe, I can let it go.

As a teen, I felt like I had to be my mom’s protector as well as my own. I didn’t spend a lot of time at my friend’s houses becase I felt guilty about leaving my mom home alone. I had a hard time making decisions about social plans. Should I stay or should I go? Where was I meant to be at that moment? I felt like I was missing some critical internal compass. I didn’t make my decisions confidently.

I also developed a really strong guard against boys. I went from being very outgoing to being extremely shy. I just wanted to be unnoticed. Some guys in my high school pretended to like me as a joke and bullied me. It made me distrust people. If I ever thought about doing something physical with a guy when I was my teens, I would hurt myself by cutting and bruising. I thought that my desires were disgusting, that I was disgusting. It wasn’t until I was 21 that I met my first boyfriend.

I am still very unkind to myself. I have never truly accepted myself. I don’t see myself as pretty or desirable.  I am always finding something beautiful in others. Even if it’s just their smile or their eyes or their laugh or their style, the way they carry themselves. But when it comes to myself, all I see is fear and doubts and ugliness. Beyond physical appearance, what I admire most in other women is the appearance of self-acceptance and confidence. This is my journey to find and foster those feelings in myself. I need to at this point in my life so that I can be a better person and a better girlfriend.

I had some really great years of growth and discovery from the ages of 21-27.  I became more outgoing again. I learned how to talk to boys. I learned how to be more confident and less critical at times. I could suspend my self-judgement for short periods of time and stop questioning my motives.

And then two years ago a lot of things changed. Firstly, I moved back to my home state after three years away. Secondly, I met the most amazing boy who is now my boyfriend. Thirdly, I was diagnosed with a chronic liver condition.

Number 3 was especially hard to accept. I can no longer drink alcohol or take any sort of drug. Not that I ever did before but I liked the idea that I was free to do whatever I wanted. And, for someone of a secretly anxious nature, having a drink now and then really can help loosen you up and make you see everything in the world as shiny and new instead of as fatalistic and hopeless. To this day I still have only told one of my friends about my condition because I am embarrassed and I also don’t want people to ask me about it all of the time.

I feel like this has also made me have to re-evaluate my life in a major way. Where I once felt limitless and empowered and like anything is possible now I worry I my only have 10-20 “good” years left before I may need a liver transplant. That also makes me worry about having kids and leaving them at a young age like my dad left me when he passed away suddenly. And there goes my mind racing ahead with cruel thoughts…

Almost two years later and my bf and I are living togther and just adopted a dog. I am at a stage in my life that I never thought I would reach and in a point in my relationship and in intimacy that is brand new to me. I feel like my anxiety has been spinning out of control recently, specifically my fear of commitment since my boyfriend and I moved in together three months ago.

My anxiety is making me question everything in my life. It’s making me feel a sense of hopelessness I have never felt before and I am worried that feeling will never go away. It’s making me want to do what I know how to do best: run away. I don’t know what I feel anymore and I don’t trust my own thoughts. Beyond anyting else, I’m scared it will ultimately destroy my relationship with my amazing, beautiful boyfriend who loves me better than anyone ever has and who accepts me completely.

This week I am receiving my inheritance from my father’s will.

Two weeks ago I quit my job to take some time for myself. I made this decision before I knew about the inheritance. And even though I am extremely frugal and always have supported myself I am planning on spending some of this money I never wanted to have on myself. And I am not going to feel guilty.

I just started seeing  therapist even though the idea of opening up to someone makes me very awful. I cried in our first two sessions so far. In fact, right now, I’m crying a lot over everything. It’s like some dam broke inside of me and all these old feelings that I thought I had in control are coming spilling out of me. Now that the flood gates have opened, I’m even starting to tell my friends that I am unhappy. That actually has been really liberating. They have been unhappy too. They are on meds. They have been feeling depressed the last two weeks. It feels so good to know that I am not alone in what I am feeling.

This is me right now. Ready to try anything. I’m in therapy which is cracking me open and exposing the things I have been avoiding for so long. I joined a gym again. I’m planning a long trip with my boyfriend. I’m going to spend some serious money over the next few months focusing only on me. And I’m going to forgive myself for it and someday and, I hope, even thank myself for it.

Can any of you relate?

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