I Know I Should But I Can’t

I cannot drive to the mall. Well I could drive to the mall, there isn’t anything stopping me physically. But my brain halts me every time. This is the problem I face though, because people can’t physically see the issue, there is no issue.

See when I sit behind the wheel of a car I think I’m going to die, or worse kill someone else. So it’s already hard enough for me to drive on back roads. But after a traumatic experience when I was first learning to drive I am unable to change lanes without having a full on panic attack.

Even though my mom knows I cannot drive to the mall (because I need to change lanes) she still tells me every time without fail, “You can do it. You are capable and should be able to.”

To some this may seem like an encouragement. Like she is cheering me on and telling me I am equip to do something I’m not so sure about. But when she says that I hear, “Everyone else can do that. You should be able to so why can’t you?”

If I was blind I could show her, “I can’t see so I can’t drive.” But anxiety is different. People don’t understand that when I say, “I can’t.” I mean, “My brain won’t let me.”

Telling someone with anxiety or depression that they should be able to do things or pushing them to do more is harmful to their already fragile psyche. Imagine someone coming up to you and telling you how inadequate of a person you are. That wouldn’t feel so good.

What I crave is acceptance from my parents. I want them to tell me it is okay I can’t do what most can and to celebrate my little victories. Being isolated is the worst feeling and it just adds to my anxiety and depression. So next time someone tells you “I can’t.” Don’t question it.

How I Fell Face First Back into Anxiety and Depression

I have not posted anything in quite a long time, but today I decided I need to get back on the horse and write something.

There are two reasons I have not babbled on about my problems on here for 3 months. The first is simple, I haven’t had all that much time between choosing college and graduating high school. The second is not as simple, I relapsed into extreme depression at the end of March.

I haven’t talked much about my depression because I denied I was even depressed for a long time. I told myself I couldn’t be depressed just like I told myself for years I didn’t have an anxiety problem. In my mind I could not have another mental illness, I live in suburbia, I have a stable household,
I should not be this way. And yet I was.

In January before I started this blog I was at a point in my life that I wished I didn’t exist. If I died I didn’t think it would matter, actually I thought it would make everyone else’s life easier. The reason I didn’t just kill myself and get it all over with was my little sister. I didn’t want her to have to live the rest of her life embarrassed by the fact that her older sister couldn’t handle her mediocre life.

I don’t know how exactly, but suddenly I was feeling better. Like I pushed one last time, and I kicked myself into gear. All I knew was that I wanted to write and tell people that they weren’t alone. So I started this, with my first post after I was called ugly once again by a person who claimed to be my friend.

But then, as the titled indicates, things quickly got dark for me again. You see my anxiety hit me really hard, I couldn’t sit in class without the anxiety. The voices in my head started acting up, telling me how shitty I was.

Suddenly my 4 long months of recovery had been for nothing.
I hated myself for everything. For being born, for allowing people to treat me so badly, for being ugly. And once again I wondered how the hell I was supposed to survive the rest of my life if I couldn’t even sit in my bedroom without panicking.

What saved me this time was not my sister, but myself. I had to accept that anxiety is part of me, even if I really hate it. I had to tell myself everyday that as a human being I deserved better. I am not going to say I recovered from my depression, because I have not. I have learned to cope with the things that trigger it.

I was embarrassed about what had happened. But now I see I need to write and show that I will never be cured of this anxiety and I just have to cope. I am strong because I have been faced twice in six months with wanting to be dead and I pushed through. There is hope.

Drowning in Anxiety

(I wrote this 2/11 but never got around to posting it. Usually I would just delete something like this but I felt like it was important to get out because I was in such a bad place that day and I feel like my raw emotion is in here.)

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not be the way I am. Like tonight my sister came into my room to get my opinion on this oral presentation she is giving her class tomorrow. Granted she is 10 but I asked her if she was nervous and she looked at me like I was crazy. We are two extremes, she never gets nervous or feel self-conscious, while that’s all I ever do.

I’m only writing this to try and calm myself down. I’ve got this knot in my stomach and I feel like I can’t even breathe. I’m all tense and worried and I feel like the walls are literally closing in around my bed. What, you ask, made me feel this way? Thinking about having a shower.

My therapist says I shouldn’t call my emotions dumb, but how can I not call that dumb? I’m not afraid to have a shower, its everything else. Like what if I slip and fall and my parents have to rescue me naked or what if I stay in the shower to long and don’t have time to do my homework or what if my hair isn’t dry before I go to bed and I wake up tomorrow with crazy weird out of place hair.

And then I get thinking about tomorrow. Because what if I wake up late, or what if I have a panic attack in school. What if I can’t take the pressure anymore? It’s all ‘what ifs’ and they run my life. I can literally control every single thing I just wrote, but that is my logical brain speaking not the loose cannon brain.
And that’s why I wish I was someone else. I mean, if I could spend a whole day at school without tensing up and feeling faint I would be over the moon. Hell I would be over the moon if I didn’t come home from school almost in tears for once.

I’m on this journey now, trying to get better, but I feel like I’m running in a race and they keep moving the finish line further and further and sometimes I’d rather just give up. I keep on running though, something inside of myself tells me to keep going, but it is hard.

The Stigma

People don’t seem to understand how I could have a real mental health problem. Yes, they say, you are quiet, and yes, you don’t always look happy, but you don’t look crazy.

Crazy, as if only people with blood shot eyes and talk to themselves could have mental problems. It really hurts me that people truly think that. If I’m going to be honest though, I used to think that too.

Hollywood portrays people with mental illness as crazy, villainous, unwanted and expendable parts of society. Hell when I started to really develop my anxiety I told myself not to say anything because I didn’t want people to think I was insane.

And yes, I am kind of insane, because in the true definition of the world I am not sane. I really have a lot of problems that I need to work through to become a functioning member of society. That does not mean that I am a nuisance who can’t hold my life together.

I haven’t been shy about going to see a therapist, actually I’ve really embraced the whole thing. I do notice though that if I talk to people about it they seem horrified. I’ve had experiences where I have started talking to a friend about therapy and further down the table people have stopped and stared at me as if I was some kind of circus freak (which doesn’t really help the social anxiety).

But why is going to therapy bad? If you have the flu don’t you go to the doctor? Why can’t I go to a doctor for my illness?
I think that awareness needs to be brought to the topic of anxiety because I know that if I didn’t tell anyone how I was feeling there are others that are the same. It shouldn’t be that we are pushed into the dark and feel more alone than what we already feel. We should be allowed the same courtesy to get help.

How School has added to my Anxiety

When I was five years old I decided I wanted to go to Harvard. It’s kind of weird, that I, a kid just starting kindergarten, already was thinking about college. But then I thought about it a little, and realized that maybe it’s not.

From a very early age kids from my generation were given a plan of what was expected of them for the future. You are supposed to spend 12 years in school, trying to figure out what you want to do in college so when you go to college you will do well and then start your life and be successful. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a kid.

But wait there’s more. You need to figure out what you want to do, while battling new hormones racing through your body all the time and having all these new emotions about things that you cant explain. Don’t forget the competition of being ranked every day of your life.

Do you know how guilty I still feel about messing up my first quarter grades freshman year because my grandma died? I still wonder what would have happened if I could have just bucked up and gotten over it so my grades wouldn’t have suffered so much, maybe then I would have been in the top of my class instead of the top of the second quartile.

As a person who suffers with extreme anxiety and self loathing school really is hard for me. I have piled so much pressure onto myself at this point that if I don’t preform up to my standards I hate myself all day long. I get anxious for almost every test. I don’t sleep very well because I wonder what is going to happen tomorrow. And it all becomes too much.

I know that I am an extreme example of what teenagers face in high school, but when I look around at the 1000 kids that attend my school I’d say 95% of them have the same unnecessary pressure on them. It just shouldn’t be that way. If this continues what I am is going to become to norm for children and that is something I really don’t want. My sister, who is 10, already puts this pressure on herself that I have on me, and I tell her that her grades don’t matter and that she is smart but it doesn’t help.

We are breeding children with goals that cant even compare to what they are capable of. And that really sucks.