I've lived with anxiety for as long as I can remember, even as a child. I didn't know that not everyone felt this worrisome all the time. I didn't know how to explain it or even who to explain it to. I was painfully shy as a child due to generalized anxiety and the lack of self-confidence that comes along with it.
The anxiety symptoms seemed to increase with the birth of my second son, and then they intensified tenfold after my daughter was born a little over a year ago. I'm still working every day on recovery, on maintaining as much calm as I can muster on any given day. Every day is a battle with my own head. That voice that tells me I'll never be enough, do enough, or be worth enough to even bother trying... but I try anyway. I give it hell every single day. Some days it overpowers me and I end the day emotionally exhausted, ready to throw in the towel and just be done with it all. Other days, there's a fierce fighter in me that knows I'm tougher than the anxious thoughts and feelings of overwhelm.
I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to speak of one main source of this long-held anxiety, but another source that I can talk about is also the source of my perfectionist tendencies. Growing up, I received the message loud and clear (whether it was consciously intended that way or not) that I was only lovable if I was perfect. When I did all the right things, got the good grades, was nice to my siblings all the time, knew all the right things to do. Then, and only then, would I be worthy of love. That's the distinct message I got from more than one family member. It's just like the Alanis Morrissette song:
I now refer to myself as a recovering perfectionist, knowing now that their expectations of me weren't achievable anyway, and that I'm my own person, worthy of UNconditional love and respect from those closest to me, no matter what. I continue to work on improving my self-confidence and sense of self worth. And I blast this song in my car any chance I get, singing it at the top of my lungs... it's cathartic, healing, empowering.
One of my biggest wishes is to feel what it's like to be completely confident and self-assured, without a pang of worry, fear, doubt, or panic. Simply flowing with my intuition, knowing that I can trust myself to choose the right path ahead. I'd love to know what it feels like to live completely withOUT anxiety...
In the meantime, we've got a hoppin', happenin' little group going on over on Facebook. The Anxiety Support Group is our gathering place to vent, chat, offer and receive support, and discuss all things related to anxiety and methods to lessen its impact on our lives. If you're not already a member, stop by and join us!
Let me know if you can relate to the song lyrics or to having anxiety in general. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!
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