What am I afraid of? What am I NOT afraid of would be a better question. Ever since I was a small child, I had this monster in my brain, telling me evil things, causing me to fear just about everything. I would get to school and suddenly get “sick” (which I now know was a panic attack). My mom would rush me to the doctor… “This is three times this week. There’s GOT to be something wrong with her!” But the doctor laughed it off, said he couldn’t find anything and suggested that maybe I just liked coming to his office. So, they both had a good a laugh at my expense. Glad I could make someone’s day, meanwhile, I’m dying from the inside out and no one sees it but me.
After YEARS of intense therapy, I have been diagnosed with just about every anxiety disorder you can name; PTSD; Bi-Polar disorder, Major Depressive Disorder; Premenstrual Disphoric Disorder; Social anxiety disorder; panic disorder, and insomnia, just to name a few…
My biggest fear (aside from raising my son right and not letting these fears get the best of me) is the simple act of leaving my house. Oh… did I mention agoraphobia? Yea… That’s a tough one. But I also know that in order to get over these illogical fears, I have to do what’s called exposure therapy. So everyday, whether it’s to the local coffee shop, or grocery shopping, maybe I bring my boyfriend lunch, I force myself to leave the comfort of my own home, exposing myself to whatever my brain is telling me to be afraid of.
It has taken years to learn about all of these disorders, and years to learn to live with them swimming around in my brain. I can’t say that I’ve won the battle just yet, but I’m on my way. Now I see symptoms of anxiety in my son and know that my job as his mother is truly just beginning. No one will know how to help him better than one who has already been through it. We work on it daily. He sees a therapist once a week. I, too, am in therapy on a regular basis, but no one can get these monsters out. We just have to learn to live with them. Anyone out there have any of the above? Have you tried explaining this to friends and family? Was the reaction you got similar to the reaction that I ALWAYS get? “It’s all in your head Kate. Jesus Christ, just put your coat on and let’s go.” Nobody gets it. That is, nobody who has ever dealt with these issues. I wish there was a local organization where we could all meet and just vent our anger and frustration at the fact that we do not, in any way, fit into society at all. We are a group amongst ourselves, trapped in our own minds, directed by our fears. We are not like you. We are not like our family members. And when your family is as simple minded as mine, it makes life even more difficult. I dare you to try to live ONE day (24 hours) in MY head. I’d bet my life you wouldn’t last. I’ve had years of practice. It is something that those closest to me will never understand, even as I spell it out for them in the moment… “I’ve got to go. It’s getting too crowded in here and I can’t breathe. My body is starting to shake, I’m sweating, my heart is going to beat right out of my chest…” They still think I’m being a drama queen. So, for my own sanity, I just stay away from people in general. I call my mom and dad everyday just to make sure they’re okay. I get word through friends that my brother’s doing fine and my sister and I don’t talk at all. So, to answer your initial question; What Are You Afraid Of? EVERYTHING would be my answer. If I run too fast I scare myself. Thunder and lightning? Forget it. I’m in hiding. Boyfriend going away for a week? Doors and windows will be locked until he returns. Life isn’t evil. I’m not evil. The monsters in my head causing me to be afraid of everything… THEY are evil.