“a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
I got my first panic attack that I can remember in the 9th grade during P.E and I think it was after something happened with my friends. I can’t really remember but that’s the thing about anxiety something so small can make you crumble in seconds. I was getting embarrassed because I could feel my stomach dropping and twisting. I could feel my heart racing with a lump in my throat. I felt hands start trembling and my eyes were becoming clouded with tears. I was starting to panic because I was around so many people and I couldn’t just leave. A girl that I had P.E with that semester told me to put my head between my knees to stop the panic attack before it got to bad. I did and it worked but I still feel pure embarrassment every time I think about it. How could I have allowed myself to be so weak?
So I started pretending….
“speak and act so as to make it appear that something is the case when in fact it is not”
I began to write about the perfect girl and the perfect life. She had friends, a fine boyfriend, a fire wardrobe, and a great career. I desperately wanted my character to mirror my life so I began plotting on how I could imitate that. All this was with the pretense that I would never feel weak again. I started negating my feelings if I was hurt, sad, or depressed I would pretend that I was fine. I couldn’t be a “depressed girl” and I couldn’t be a crazy cry baby. I was the pro-black, strong, social justice warrior and how would it look if deep down I was in an internal battle about if I was good enough for anything. I pretended that I was proud of my accomplishments but only after I spent time in the bathroom crying my eyes out having a panic attack because my accomplishments weren’t good enough for me. I pretended I was in love with myself when there were days when I couldn’t even look in the mirror without crying because I still felt like I wasn’t perfect enough.
I tried fixing my problem with a problem. It made me ten times worse because when I hit rock bottom and fell apart for real I was in agony and alone for days. It was second semester of my freshmen year of college and I was broke because I had no job, I hadn’t seen my family in a month, I felt like all of my friends were doing so much better than me, I gained weight and the list goes on. Remember that small thing I talked about well it happened, I lost my school I.D and I think I went insane. I cried and screamed because my life was not what I thought it should have been. My life damn sure wasn’t perfect and I couldn’t pretend anymore. A little while later I wrote a blog post about finding joy. I wrote it right after I had a panic attack. That’s when I took my pretending to another level. How could tell any of you about finding joy when I was struggling just to be happy in day to day life.
The truth about all of this is…
I still struggle with pretending and I know I don’t give myself enough credit. But there is one thing I can say that has helped me and that is telling someone. My mom knows how I am in her eyes I will always be her softhearted little girl and that’s how most of my family knows me. My friends know that I struggle with this and they still view me the same. My point is the road to growth maybe bumpy and may not have any real signs but if you have people in the car with you on that road it’ll make it so much easier. When I finally opened up about my problems I felt like I could stop pretending. This is me telling all my readers from 14-year-old ones to my grandma’s church friends….I am done pretending. The joy that is slowly beginning to enter my soul isn’t for pretend anymore.
This vulnerability doesn’t make me feel weak anymore. My vulnerability is in my strength and I will overcome my anxiety and so will you. You will get back your control and all you have to do is be patient. Ride out the bad moments and when they are over pick yourself up and get help from yourself and from the people around you.