A Touch of Anxiety

A lot of people deal with anxiety and depression and I'm not going to try to pretend that my case is any more extreme or unique than anyone else's. However, I think a lot of people can agree that even though they know these are common disorders, they often feel alone with them. I know I feel alone. Anyone from the outside would ask me how I can possibly feel like that? I have a great support system. I have a family and a best friend that try to comfort me on a daily basis. I'm even on medication and have been talking to a therapist once a week. So why aren't I getting better? I can't speak for anyone else's struggles except mine so I can only say I'm not getting better because I fixate on things. I obsess over physical aspects of myself until I literally make myself sick. The problem with me is that I'm obsessed with my appearance. I pick apart every section of my body and convince myself that my flaws make me unworthy. Somehow I got it into my thick head that the only thing I can offer to the word is my looks. If I don't look perfect I feel like no one will want me. And if no one wants me then that would prove that I am worth nothing. Because of this reasoning, I always needed to have a boyfriend. I needed to have constant validation and even when I got it it wasn't enough. I figured out years later that it was never enough because the only validation I needed and wanted was my own and I could never give that to myself. Even now, my latest obsession has been my hair. I have convinced myself that I'm balding. Everyone I talk to says I'm crazy and that it's in my head but it feels so real to me. You're probably thinking to yourself right now that losing hair isn't the worst thing in the world but for me, I couldn't focus on anything else. I would feel this iciness spread through my body and it felt like a fist was clenching around my stomach. My heart wouldn't stop racing and I would gag on everything I would try to eat and soon I stopped trying. My worst parts of my day would be taking a shower because I dreaded any strands of hair that would fall out and my anxiety sky rocketed when I looked at a mirror with my wet hair. A lot of times I would sprint downstairs in a towel, sobbing my eyes out and yelling at my mom to look at the proof of my balding head. At first, she tried to talk me down but when she realized I wasn't listening to anything she was saying she would lose her temper. “You're acting like a crazy person Stephanie!” Her outbursts weren't what scared me. What scared me were her tears when she knew she couldn't help me no matter how much she wanted to. Her pain was what hurt the most. I felt like such a burden and I wanted to take that pain away so bad. I started thinking that maybe she would be better off if I didn't exist but I knew that I would never be brave enough to take my own life. I also knew that would be the most selfish thing I could do to the people that loved me. Even though I knew I wouldn't do myself any physical harm, I really began to understand why people committed suicide. All they felt was pain. Every time they breathed it was there. Every time they looked in the mirror it was there. The only time they could escape it was when they slept but anxiety barely ever let them sleep so there was no where else to run. Sleeping forever was starting to feel like their best option, their only option. I was in the same boat. Nothing comforted me. Nothing gave me relief. The trick to avoiding all of this is finding help in your family, close friends and professionals. Sometimes I still feel like I'm more of a hassle than I'm worth but I can no longer ignore that there are people rooting for me and if I can't get better for myself then I will try my hardest for them. Do I still fixate on my hair? Absolutely. However, I know deep down that if I wasn't fixating on my hair then it would be on a different part of my body. I also have to admit to myself that my anxiety stems from being a perfectionist and it will never go away until I learn to accept and love myself, flaws and all. No one I know is perfect and I recognize that and don't love them any less. In fact, I love them more because their flaws are what make them unique. I should be able to have that same mindset for myself. I shouldn't be hold myself to a higher standard. Even after years of working on myself, I would be lying if I said I am cured. There are still a lot of days that I have a hard time getting out of my bed but the people I love keep pushing me to fight and I will even if I have to for the rest of my life. I want to live and I will overcome this. So will you.

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