I have a long history with anxiety. Unfortunately, we go way back. I can vividly remember in 4th grade being in the nurse’s office in tears; I was crying and not exactly sure why. I just had a bad feeling about something. From then on that feeling grew and got more and more confusing.
Now, at twenty, that feeling is probably at its most confusing, even though I can identify what it is.
Things can make anxiety worse. Circumstances can make anxiety worse. Death makes anxiety worse. Of course, it makes sense that my mom dying would lead to anxiety. I was only eighteen, and I had my whole life ahead of me. At eighteen, I have a lot to be anxious about with my mom around, let alone without her.
I knew that losing her would lead to an increase in my anxiety, but even before that I knew that my anxiety was already a problem that needed to be addressed. However, there’s no way I could have anticipated the debilitating toll that my anxiety would have on me in the two years following her death.
I felt numb for a while. I felt numb from every emotion. Then, I started to feel sad all the time. Slowly my anxiety found its place back into my life. There were days when I couldn’t physically leave my bed. I knew that I needed to talk to someone about my anxiety. I knew that it was getting worse.
So I started on a journey that would lead me to medications, doctors, four different counselors, and a lot of tears. The thing is that as the years go by without my mom I kind of hoped that my anxiety would start to go back to “normal.” I thought that time would help with this deep wound, but things have only gotten worse.
All of a sudden I am in the middle of an ocean drowning in my fears.
Anxiety is a very, very real thing. It is terrifying. Especially when you feel like you are making no progress.
I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who believe in me far more than I believe in myself. Those are the people I get out of bed for in the morning. Those are the people that inspire me to keep fighting the fight that never seems to end.
But, there are days where the fight leaves me so tired and worn out and all I can do is cry because I miss my mom. The fears hang over me like a dream catcher. The reality of my situation is that it is hard and I have to work every day to get better, even when I am too tired to move.
I wish that my mom were here to talk through things with me. I wish she were here to encourage me when I feel like I am failing. Nothing will ever replace the feeling of a hug from her or her voice telling me that everything is going to be okay. But as I continue to fight, I remember her and I remember who she raised me to be. I hold on to that, and fight on.