• Amanda M. Pericles

Do I Have Anxiety?


I've been to therapy before. Twice in my life, if my memory serves me correctly.

The first time was when I was younger, around 5th or 6th grade maybe, and I remember going to some woman's house a few times. I remember sitting at a table in between play. I was there because it was around that time when I began pulling out my eyebrow hair and eyelashes (aka "trichotillomania", which I didn't even know was a thing until two years ago, maybe). I regularly saw a doctor who gave me this disgusting liquid medicine I had to take every day.

My mom usually blames this whole emergence of anxiety thing on brujería done on me by an ex family friend (my mom found a chunk of hair missing from my head once) because of jealousy.

The second time was more into adulthood, not even five years ago, when my mother decided that therapy would be beneficial for my sister and I, given our family dynamic, at the time. With only three or four visits, I was finally freed from whatever was holding me down. Btw, this particular experience is what always makes me recommend therapy. I'd say it was quite successful.

My husband and best friends have always joked about my habits, saying I should probably get tested for OCD or ADD, a professor even told me I might want to consider getting tested for test anxiety once, while I cried in her office, begging for a grade.

While trying to describe how I feel about all of this, I find it really difficult to find the right words to say. I feel like any description I make doesn't accurately represent how I feel and it's very frustrating to not be able to express it accurately. It's like there's a stigma surrounding it in my head, but there's not. I want to get to the bottom of this. I'd be so content if a doctor told me I am officially diagnosed with anxiety. All the wondering about whether or not this is in my head, or not "serious" enough to be recognized or acknowledged as an "issue" ... it would be gone. But then there's also the realization that I have this obstacle in my way ... a lot of the time, keeping me from doing things successfully. Keeping me from doing things, at all.

I worry about lots of things a lot of the time. I can't focus on things I need to do because I'm worrying about doing those exact things. I'm on edge and become irritable because I'm stressed and worrying about finishing a task when I know I'm stressed and irritable. My husband and I talk about the possibility of going to therapy, and literally ... as he's talking, I zone out because "we're going to lose an entire income, and we already won't have enough money, and therapy costs money, and I don't want us to dig ourselves into money issues we've never had, and ..." Like, whyyyyyyyy? Why do I do this? Why can't I be "normal"? And yes, I know that normal isn't a thing.

As I prepare to enter school in the fall, one of my priorities is to talk to someone about this. If it happens that I do have anxiety, I can in no way afford to let it get the best of me as I enter this new academic phase of life. I have worked too hard to get here, and I do not want anything to get in the way of this. My only priority will be school, so I am not allowed to fail. I refuse. In college, I was one of those students who'd do well on all homework and assignments and bomb the exams, bringing my grades down (hence the comment by the professor). If I can find a way to actually address my problem, instead of telling myself I'm okay while I'm actually dying inside of stress and fear and anxiety, I think it would be a step in the right direction, right?

In the meantime, I'll be here trying not to think myself into a dark abyss of worry via a domino effect of horrible scenarios only I could think of.

Take care of yourself,

YAA

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