I was 7 years old when I had my first panic attack. My mom assumed it was me just having car sickness as we were driving at the time. They have been with me on a daily basis ever since. Seven is unusual for panic attacks to present themselves, as they usually show up in the late teen years. However, I was also 7 years old when the boy down the street sexually abused me on a pretty regular basis as well. So, I can see the correlation.
I had conversations with my mom about the way I felt (my anxiety) and she said everyone has anxiety. So, in my 7 year old mind, everyone felt the way I did. Add to that the thought that the sexual abuse was my fault too. That’s a pretty big burden for a 7 year old to be carrying around.
No one ever mentioned anxiety, I wasn’t taken to a doctor. I don’t even think there was such a diagnosis at the time. So, I grew up alone inside and very afraid. Not much has changed. I could be in a room full of people, and because of all my diagnoses, still feel very much alone. It’s only others who suffer from mental illness that I can really relate to. And my boyfriend. He’s the first person in my life (aside from my parents) to educate himself on all that’s wrong with me, and he accepts me for who I am.
Anger and hatred are learned behaviors. I learned them early on when I got made fun of for being different. When I hear of people snapping and going on a killing spree, I get it. Others sit back and say “How could they?” Are you really that blind? Obviously the person doing the killing was in need of help. Help he or she wasn’t being offered. I snapped too… I didn’t kill anyone, but we all react differently. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve contemplated taking my own life, because my ex’s had me convinced I was nothing but a burden to my family.
Then I changed my perception. I started reading books on the power of positive thinking, being optimistic, etc. and I’m so grateful that I never followed through. I have so much life inside of me! There are places I want to go and things I want to do. They kicked me while I was down, and I believed them. Now? Now I look at them and know they both need mental help. But, since I’m not a doctor, there’s not much I can do. I will not call them names. I will not make fun of them or their mental illness. I will however stand my ground and defend myself. If you have to hide behind a fake email account and leave me anonymous hate mail, I have no use for you. I ignore you. I don’t absorb your words or your negativity at all. You see, it’s because of your taunting and name calling that I’m so much stronger, so I guess a thanks to you both are in order. My determination is far stronger than your attempts to break me. Yup. I may be mentally ill, but I’m mentally stronger than the two of you combined.
I am exhausted. I would love to write more, but this past week has been very trying. I’m going to take a nap now, but possibly be back later. I’ll pick up right where I left off. I’d like you all to get a sense of what living inside of my mind on a daily basis is like. I would like this to be a real experience for all of you, so that you are in fact educated. Maybe you don’t realize how much damage YOU are doing by calling someone crazy, or making fun of someone who is severely depressed. If this blog helps ONE person, whether through education or because they can relate, my job here is done.
Until then, for those of you suffering, please know that daily positive affirmations do in fact work, and you should start practicing them RIGHT NOW. A diagnosis does not define you unless you allow it to. What is your passion in life? Start focusing on THAT and remove any and all negativity from your life. You are here for a reason. There’s a plan in place for you. You just have to figure out what that is.