Personal Stories

What is Wrong with Me?

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I snap out of this? How can I be so weak?

I’ve always viewed myself as someone with a large amount of strength and perseverance. I was a young, single mother who raised a well-rounded child on her own. I’ve held a prosperous job since age 18.

I’m now 25, own my own house and am married to a man so wonderful I would have never dreamed him up in my head.

On the outside looking in, everything is utterly perfect. On the inside, striving for perfection is one of many things that fuels the ugly three-headed monster that swallows up everything happy in my mind.

That monster is anxiety.

The anxiety monster laughs at me the harder I try to fight it off. It still rears its ugly head despite the daily dose of medication. It’s the instigator to take on more and more at work while simultaneously feeling like I’m too anxious to sit at my desk. It’s the panic attacks that have landed me in the ER three times because they feel like heart attacks, only to be released with a sedative and an appointment with my PCP who will also tell me that “I’m ok, it’s just anxiety.”

It’s the dark cloud over the tropical island where I was married, that prevented me from enjoying what should have been one of the happiest days of my life and the reason I can’t take my son on water slides no matter how much he begs. It’s the pain I feel when my husband has to pick up all the slack around the house and with my son because I’ve spent every ounce of my energy battling the anxiety monster and the fear that I will push him so far that he will leave. It’s feeling like you’re missing out or neglecting your family—the thing you love most—and instead of being able to fix it, you’re just fueling the anxiety monster more.

The worst part of the suffering is that I try to hide it, or downplay it. Most people have no idea about it, and the people who do think I have it under control when I’m not sure that there is such a thing. Some days are good and some are so bad. I’m now watching my baby sister begin her own struggle with the anxiety monster. Genetics to thank, I’m sure. I try to tell her that she need not be embarrassed, that she is not flawed, in fact she is the opposite! That she is not alone and that she is so strong for getting through every day. Why do I feel so defective myself?

For some reason, I can look at my situation objectively and tell myself that this is ludicrous, but that means nothing when you’re in hand-to-hand combat with a monster named anxiety.


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