Welcome to Anxiety Anonymous

Hi.  My name is Rachel. (Hi Rachel).

I’m 20 years old, I’ve been a mental mess for approximately 11 years (although who can really say) and I’ve been actively trying to change that for the past 8 months.

I am a pessimist.  This is an actual state of your brain, you know.  This causes changes in your brain’s structure, like larger emotional regions and smaller regions associated with personality and decision-making.  This means that, after 14 years of conditioning my brain into a pessimist state, growing these regions back up to normal size, and learning to break negative thought patterns is quite the task.

I have abandonment issues.  I’m paranoid sometimes.  I’m sure I’m sometimes clingy, and (when that seems to vulnerable) entirely made of untouchable stone.  There are walls and barbed wire and fences and alarms all around my heart so you can’t touch it.  I have trust issues – lots of those.  Making friends is hard…and keeping friends is harder.  I’ve conditioned myself to believe that no one is going to stick around for the long haul (this kind thinking tends to self-fulfill).

I’m recovering from depression.  I’ve never not been riddled with anxiety.  I second guess everyone’s motives – I’m convinced that compliments are false, everyone’s playing me, and when people say they care it’s out of guilt or obligation.

(: – – -:)

This is why mental struggles suck.  Nobody can see them – they’re not like a wheelchair, or a hearing aid, or a cast.  Many people don’t believe in them (just wait – they’ll understand some day).  And even when you know that you’re being irrational, or that you should be nice, or that you can fix it….your brain is just an organ.  Your brain just follows the patterns that you’ve grown into it over years and years and years.  So even when you’re planning to ‘understand my parents just want the best for me’ or ‘be really nice and make a new friend during this group project’ or ‘cut your boyfriend some slack until after his big test’…..you can’t.  You can’t because that tiny logical part of your brain is completely overpowered by the emotional centers that only know how to do one thing: pick up on a negative possibility, obsess, blow it out of proportion, and then get you out of whatever social situation you’re in so that you can go back to bed.

Every day is a fight against my instincts.  Every day is carefully planned and takes so much effort and generally doesn’t appear (from the outside) to be especially productive or amazing.  But every day is one step closer.  Every day builds up new neuron connections, and strengthens weak ones, and every moment that I’m NOT obsessing negatively, I’m NOT building up those pathways.

That’s what this blog is for, after all.  Little ways for me to sort of the feelings and see things like they really are.  Little positive reminders that I can look back on when the darkness comes back.  Little ways to connect with a world I sometimes feel pretty alone in.  I usually try and keep it positive, but today I just really had to be real with you guys.  I just really had to put this out there.

So welcome!  Welcome to Anxiety Anonymous.  I’m sick of hiding.  This is what it’s like.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone – I just wish someone else would step up, be real with me, and stick around while things are what they are (for both of us).  Nobody is perfect, after all.

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