**Spoilers ahead **
I’m taking a giant leap away from my normal topics. I’m probably going to get real serious 😱. ( I didn’t want to do this, being serious is lame). Unless it is for a good reason. There is little to no humor ahead (oh great this is going to suck) and you might cringe as how deep we are about to dive into Autumn….(also happy first day of Autumn).
*snaps fingers* Let’s do this.
Panic floods in and blocks out all rational thought in my brain. My pulse quickens, my heart thunders in my chest and the telltale shaking of my hands, warn me that an anxiety attack is on the horizon. If I do not push down the feeling and concentrate on deep breathing then a full-blown meltdown will take over. ( Not fun). Anxiety is a real thing.
Throughout the years I have found ways to avoid anxiety episodes but it isn’t easy. No one likes to talk about it because it is technically classified as a mental disorder. If someone admits that they have anxiety, anxiety attacks, or panic attacks (which are completely different but no less scary), then they are weak and less of a person. I know because I am 100% guilty of this. I hide my anxiety like a gifted illusionist, weaving my magic trick with smiles and silence. (Expecto–Anxiety) (Harry Potter Joke) (ok, that probably wasn’t funny….. Anyway… ) When I can feel myself creeping closer toward anxiety, I find ways to distract myself, be that showering or sleeping. When I’m asleep the thoughts calm, the raging waters of my over active imagination settle into a serene pool and the anxiety ebbs away. But then I have my concerned family telling me that I sleep too much and this is a sign of depression. (which it is but that is for another post.)
This is what my anxiety looks like:
Anxiety isn’t ugly crying under the bed covers. (insert Kim K. gif). It isn’t anger or screaming. It isn’t sadness or depression. It is strength. Anxiety is when everything inside my brain is threatening to overcome me and keep me from living my life. I lock it up securely hidden behind a smirk or a sarcastic phrase. So no one notices that I’m slowly being gripped up by my arch nemesis. (My anxiety has a first name, it’s D-A-R-T-H….my anxiety has a last name, it’s V-A-D-E-R)(obviously a Star Wars joke and an Oscar Meyer wiener joke but again probably not funny). Continuing on. 😏
I don’t think that I am weak. I just have weak moments. I don’t think anyone with anxiety is weak. We are just a different kind of strong. 🤘 We fight our demons every day. We fight against our own wayward brains. Our imaginations force worry into our subconscious. It starts with a tingle then develops into a feeling of losing control in specific situations. I believe myself to have a rational brain which completely contradicts the irrational fears that overwhelm me. I can process information quickly and I absorb it like a sponge with water. I have a need to know as much as I can about a slew of different subjects. I have read medical studies about anxiety and many suggest that intelligent people suffer the most from anxiety. So I guess that’s reassuring… 😎
I try to avoid certain triggers that set me off. For example, I would rather drive my car than let someone else drive for me. The feeling of losing control over a situation sucks me in. If I have to ride with anyone I am smothered with anxiety until the ride ends. If I have to go onto a bridge or high over pass my knuckles grip the steering wheel until they turn white and lose all color. My fingers will throb and hurt, screaming for me to relax. I will even drive out of my way to avoid one of those bridges on my path from point A to point B. Now imagine how bad my hands hurt when I drove over the Hoover Dam on my way to Vegas a few years back. Yikes.
The worst trigger for my anxiety is “the end of the world hoaxes”. The first anxiety attack I had, was in 9th grade Spanish class 2001. My teacher (who by the way totally tricked me into learning spanish… Just to find out SHE NEVER KNEW HOW TO SPEAK SPANISH IN THE FIRST PLACE)(this is why I have trust issues) (I’m calling you out Mrs. DeSilvas)🤔
Back to the story Mrs. I-Dont-Really-Speak-Spanish, had just shown an “interesting” video about the Mayans in Latin America. I was so bored I remember staring out the window at the leaves rustling in the wind. I’m positive the only thing I heard out of the entire movie was that the Maya calendar was set to end in 2012 and that “experts” warned this was the end of the world. I snapped to attention. Panic gripped my throat. I couldn’t breathe. There I was, 14-year-old Autumn, gasping for breath not knowing what to do.
For the next ten years my morbid curiosity had me hungry for information. Book after book. Article after article. I learned Spanish fluently, married a man and got my regal Latino last name. I was obsessed. I couldn’t get over this theory that I had heard in a 45 minute Spanish class. I had my son in November 2006. Suddenly, I had a child to worry about as well. The anxiety swallowed me. 2012 came and went by without a hiccup. Phew. 😓 I was okay, my son was okay. My husband was okay. Parents, siblings, etc. I moved on.
Then came the next “end of the world” rapture. This one hit home because they used the name of God to advertise their theory. I believe in God even if it is an unpopular ideology in today’s day and age. (Judge away… Jesus is cool). Was my belief enough? That too came and went. Everyone I love still trudged along.
Now it is almost 5:30 am, on September 23rd, 2017. I only just found out about this so-called end of the world because like I said, I avoid my triggers. #ImSmart. This last week has been torture, someone shared a post on Facebook WITHOUT A TRIGGER WARNING!
The rapture and a planet are supposedly hurtling toward us and theoretically will strike us. I can’t recall how many times I have looked toward the sky today, nor how many times I have sent prayers to God. Irrationally, I worry that I can hear something outside (over my husband’s snoring). I have checked on my son countless times. I even debated sleeping in his room. Scientists have debunked this theory calling it a hoax, NASA has said countless times there is no scientific proof. Yet, I’m sleepless. I tried to talk to my husband about my fears and he laughs, because it is a laughable situation for someone who has never experienced the sheer panic that comes with anxiety. My mind is my enemy tonight. Poisoning me.
Excuse my language, but it pisses me off that people could pray on the minds of others for notoriety or fame. I imagine there are countless people across the globe that are laying awake experiencing the same panic that I am and I wish there was something I could do to ease their minds. When October comes, we will collectively draw a deep breath and relax until the next round. The next declaration of the end.
I envy the people laying down tonight that are able to sleep without anxiety clawing at their throats and blurring their eyes. (You guys are assholes). I envy the people who are innocent and have no idea that this rumor has virtually tainted the minds of the anxious. (ahh what it would be like if I threw my phone away). The fear is thick in my house tonight. I hide my anxiety and fear from my child because I could not bear to see him suffer like I do. I do not want my anxiety to ever shadow his existence, so I smiled and laughed today. I hugged him and told him how much I loved him. I cuddled and watched movies with him just like I do on any other given day. For him, I bottle down my panic. I ignore the turbulent emotions swirling in my head threatening to wrap its fingers around my neck and choke the air from my lungs. #GoodMom
Anxiety is real. It doesn’t matter what triggers you. It doesn’t matter what other people think about your fears. People are judgemental and anything that isn’t dubbed “society normative” clearly has to be fearsome, which is ridiculous. I’m sure there are people out there that have the same smirk on their faces that I wear, battling their anxiety in silence because someone laughed or poked fun at their fears. You aren’t alone. We don’t talk about anxiety disorders because it isn’t pretty. There isn’t sunshine and rainbows or sparkly unicorn farts. It is gritty. It is painful. It is silent.
The first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. It’s estimated that 40 million American citizens are affected by some form of anxiety and those numbers are probably higher due to the stigma our society has created surrounding any type of labeled weakness. (again you guys are assholes). I’m not asking for overnight acceptance for the anxiety driven but I am asking that caution is used when dealing with someone who suffers from any mental disorder. It isn’t like they woke up one morning and declared, “Hmm, today I’m going to let my imagination make me feel like I’m bat shit crazy, sounds fun.” #PartyTime.
I’m sure that many on my friends list will be shocked to learn about the extent I have opened up about this subject. (while uncomfortably lacing failed humor throughout because I’m socially awkward and can’t just be vulnerable without a joke to ease the tension). I’m not a sharer of my personal life. I’m a strong supporter of using social media to share memes and funny videos. I try to keep my personal life, personal. However, if this in any way changes how you see me then, I apologize.
I apologize that you are a close-minded tool that can only expand their mind with the tide of society. 🖕
I urge everyone who believes that they suffer from anxiety or any other mental health issue, to seek help, build up your support system to include only people who are positive for your life. Negativity is a disease. Reach out to your loved ones, speak about your feelings, you never know who feels the same, or has a trick to keep the anxiety at bay. (Or they blank stare you until the subject changes. In that case, I have compiled a very short list of acceptable odd ball topics that aren’t used frequently.)
- A baby spider is called a spiderling.
- You cannot dream and snore at the same time (I must not dream often).
- Los Angeles real name is *El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula. * say that three times fast.. 😂
Until the dawn arrives, humans.