Bubba asked me to write a blog post on what it’s like living with anxiety and what it’s like being in a relationship when you have anxiety.
In the last 24 hours I have heavily debated on quitting blogging; something that has been ME, my LIFE since I was 5. I haven’t been blogging since I was 5 but I started keeping a journal since I was 5. I wasn’t introduced to blogging itself until I was 14. And I’ve been blogging, or trying to, ever since.
The reason for the debate was… is… a trigger. A trigger that causes me a great deal of anxiety and pain. Emotionally and physically. And a pretty heavy type of depression that sometimes likes to stay around… for weeks. Or months. Do you know how hard it is to tell depression to get the fuck out?
People will tell you that you’re not your mental illness. But if you ask me, I AM my mental illness.
I’ve struggled with some sort of anxiety/OCD since I was 2. I have vivid memories of a “game” I use to play with myself. A game I thought angels played with me and a game I thought that if I did it enough could keep me out of hell.
Oh, to raise your child in Roman Catholicism. Sometimes it does more harm than good. The anxiety of these “games” weren’t bad enough that it would haunt me all day though, just for the time frame I played these games. And it was always by myself in an empty room. This is literally my earliest memory of my life. I can’t tell you where it came from or how it started, it was just there.
As I got older I was placed in my brother’s shadow. And as a kid you don’t exactly realize it, or believe it I suppose until it starts to become insanely obvious.
I’ll try to write this as honest and as transparent as I can.
If being placed in my brother’s shadow wasn’t enough, I was constantly being told I was the black sheep of the family. I was always messing up. I wasn’t good enough to be as good as my brother at anything. I wasn’t good enough to achieve my dream job. My writing wasn’t worth reading. My writing… my writing.
Writing has been my escape since I could read. Reading had been my escape since I learned how to read when I was 4. I always loved colors and descriptive words and I loved technology and pretty things. In the 1st grade we had to write a book and they were going to print it and bind it so we could give it to our parents. I worked so hard on my book. I wanted it to be perfect. It was overly descriptive. But I was so proud of it. They invited our parents to the school to hear us read our books and present it to them. My mom literally said “oh, that’s good.” and paid it no mind beyond that. She didn’t look excited or happy or proud. Nothing. I remember going home wondering if my book was good enough or if it sucked. She never read it after that and I never bothered reading it myself after that either, I felt like I had failed.
As I got older my brother started getting abusive. He never held back when he would tell me I ruin everything. Or I ruined the family (bold statement since I WAS HERE FIRST). That I was stupid. That no one liked me. That I was ugly. That if I got into a fight at school he’d jump in and beat my ass with them. That I didn’t deserve to live. That if he could he would shoot me in the head. The older we got the worse it got. He started punching me or pushing me into walls or choking me with bats.
By the time I was 13 I was struggling with suicide. I didn’t know what depression was. I just knew I hated my life. I hated everything and everyone. I hated being alive. I didn’t know what that was or meant but I knew it was bad. I knew I couldn’t tell anyone. But I knew I was constantly thinking of the quickest way I could kill myself. Maybe then my family would be “fixed”. Maybe all this time my brother was right. Maybe my mom was right. Maybe I was nothing but a fucked up failure that deserved to die anyway.
From 13 to 19 I struggled with depression. I was depressed, A LOT. I kid you not, I was NEVER happy. NEVER. There was never a time I was “happy”. I knew that if I had even a slightly good day. If I was SLIGHTLY ever in a good mood that my brother and my mom would be QUICK to ruin it for me. I hated being home SO MUCH that when I got my first job at 16 I only wanted Saturday off. My manager though I was crazy. But I worked every day from 4-9pm with Saturdays off. On Saturday I spent the day in San Francisco with my friends. I was literally almost never home. Not to mention on Thursdays I had another job grading papers. THATS how much I hated being home.
At 17 I was kicked out of my high school for skipping too many classes the year before. They sent me to a continuation high school which I LOVED. But because I was being transferred to another school my mom would CONSTANTLY remind me of how much of a fuck up I was. Of how much of a failure I truly was. It didn’t matter that I was there to get my grades back up or that I had been working 2 jobs and had 8 classes. It didn’t matter that I never missed a day of school or work. Or that I was on the school paper or I was in Leadership; it didn’t matter. I was STILL a fuck up. So I kept pushing, I kept pushing to graduate because she would NOT FUCKIN STOP telling me that I WASNT going to graduate. She wouldn’t fuckin stop telling me I WOULD NEVER GO TO COLLEGE (surprise, the only child of yours who had some kind of college graduation). She wouldn’t stop telling me I WOULD BE NOTHING (I worked at DISNEY WORLD for FOUR YEARS and I got there ON MY FUCKIN OWN).
Later in that year I started dating a boy who was abusive. I mean, really really fuckin abusive. He did everything from put me down to pin me to the bed to scream at me, to rape me, to PLAY WITH KNIVES WHEN HE WAS MAD AT ME. And he was mad at me, a lot. For some very stupid reasons. I was just thinking about this asshole yesterday; there was this one time he told me Dawson’s Creek was on — I was doing homework and lost track of time. I remember saying “I knew I loved you for a reason!” and he took that and SPUN IT INTO A TWELVE FUCKIN HOUR FIGHT. If we faught all night and it was like fuckin 3am and I was done and tired of it and hung up he would call the MAIN HOUSE line. And if no one picked up he would call MY MOMS CELL PHONE then MY DADS. He would call non fuckin stop. It got to the point where my parents turned off all cell phones and unplugged the phones. This went on for 6 long months. Every time I tried to break up with him he would threaten me or say he was going to kill me and then my brother would get mad at he’d slap me and punch me and tell me to never ask him for help (AS IF I WAS EVER STUPID ENOUGH TO IN THE FIRST PLACE). So imagine being abused by your boyfriend all weekend cause he would ON PURPOSE make you miss the ferry/bus home then GETTING HOME and being beat by your brother.
HOW I DIDNT KILL MYSELF THEN IS FUCKIN A MIRACLE.
By the time I FINALLY fuckin managed to break up with him; that’s when everything went down hill.
He was throwing out threats online. He was getting “mutual friends” to deliver his messages of threats. My parents told me to change all my emails, all my screen names, they changed my cell phone number. We got Caller ID and we unplugged all the phones for a month. That’s how bad it was. It was flipping awful.
There was this one day I was out with Jeanette and M and my parents came and got me from her house frantic asking if I had heard from my ex, which I hadn’t. My phone had been off and he didn’t know the number. This was before smartphones so I had no internet on my phone (OH THOSE WERE THE DAYS). I don’t know what happened or what he said but I remember that was the day we got Caller ID and they had unplugged the phones.
I was checking my email when I got home. My brother came in the room pretending to look for something in the bookshelf next to me. The next thing I knew his hands were squeezing my throat and he said “next time he threatens us, I’m taking it out on you. This is your fault and you’re going to pay for it.” I was THISCLOSE to blacking out and he let go and left the room then slammed his door.
That was literally the last time I ever even bothered to consider my brother a human fuckin being and this was in 2003. It’s been 15 years since I got rid of the idea that I even had a brother. And tbh, I’ve been a shit ton happier since.
I’m going to break this up into sections, but this is pretty much the beginning of it all. Mostly because I still have a shit ton of laundry to do and I have some other chores I need to get done today. I might come back and write more after I’m done with everything but I’m going to stop here for now.