Anxiety Was My Way of Life
To help relieve my anxiety, depression, and PTSS, I participated in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy about 2 years ago. Now, I look back and clearly see the anxiety I lived with on a daily basis throughout my life and therefore, how anxiety ruled my life. I remember early on, in my twenties, when I met new people for the first time, that I froze and didn’t know what to say or do. It was uncomfortable, but for all I knew, everyone experienced the same thing.
The Progression of Anxiety
Then, in my thirties, I started to notice that when I had to meet new people for the first time, I actually felt like I was weightless, and the ground underneath me was moving. It felt very similar to a small earthquake going off under my feet. Even though I moved forward, shook the hand and politely said what needed to be said, I was in a full blown anxiety attack.
People have teased me throughout my life for walking with my head down. I always thought that I walked with my head down because I was afraid of tripping when in reality, I didn’t want to look at anyone or anything. I missed a lot. Because of the trauma I experienced, I lived in fear of those around me physically hurting me or worse, emotionally hurting me. This was anxiety in action.
Now, I understand why I did that. It wasn’t me – it was what happened to me. This is why “PTSD” changed to “PTSS” by the mental health community. The “D” for “Disorder” is replaced by “S” for “Syndrome” because “Post Traumatic Stress” is “EVENT” related.
How I Compensate
Even now that I am acutely aware of these behaviors within me, I still get nervous when speaking to a new mechanic or a hairdresser over the phone for the first time. If I don’t give it enough forethought, I experience anxiety, stumble over my words and appear, in my mind, very foolish. So, my life is one of pre-thinking and planning to avoid these very uncomfortable feelings of ‘less-than’, ‘fear of reprisal’, ‘appearing stupid’, etc.
Is there a resolution to my story? Yes. Some days are very good days but I have to stay balanced in everything that I do. If I don’t, the wonderful thing for me now is that I can see my unbalance and patiently take steps to re-balance myself.
I’m not a doctor nor a therapist. I derive my thoughts and feelings from my own experience, what I read, and the world that evolves in front of me. For this reason, it is very important to me to know what other people think and feel. If you identify with my experience or if you have comments or questions – whatever – let me know.
Cover Image: Ivana Cajina