Trigger warning: anxiety, separation anxiety, family, school, marijuana
My anxiety started when I was 6 years old. It was the summer of 1992 right before my 7th birthday. My parents bought a house in Sacramento, CA. We lived in Daly City, CA and my grandparents were my neighbors. How cool is that? I was excited to move because I wanted my own room, my brother and I had to share a room in a 2 bedroom apartment. Once we moved it hit me that my grandparents would not be my neighbors anymore. My grandma wouldn’t be walking with me to school or picking me up.
That’s when the feelings of terror came to play. The fear of starting over at a new school. No more walking to the local bodega after school with my brother and my grandma. No more watching Golden Girls with her and translating for her, laughing and eating snacks.
It got terribly worse when my grandparents came a week after we had moved in . I was excited to show them my room. I was fine. But later in the day they had to drive back to Daly City. That’s when the waterworks started. I can still feel that anxiety now as I write this. I clenched my hands around parts of my grandmother’s skirt. I did not want to let go. I remember burying my face into her side. I remember hearing family members tell me to stop crying and to let go of her and if I did not let go she would not come back to visit me. I remember looking up at her still crying and hyperventilating and her telling me it was going to be ok. She told me not to worry but that I should not cry. I could see she wanted to cry too. So I buried it. I stopped crying. I gave her a big hug and watched them drive off. I was so sad.
I would get anxious and sometimes I would call her. Other times I would wander into my backyard and get lost looking at bugs and flowers. I would really just go into my own world.
But when the anxiety would show up it was the rapid heart beat, that pounding in my chest that let me know that something was wrong. The shallow breaths.. the racing thoughts.
Then one day it became almost non-existent. . I think it was the fact that I was very much into reading and kept myself very busy that I did not have to deal with it that much. I got really good grades and was in clubs. I went to three different elementary schools and still kept it together.
My anxiety went dormant and then one day in junior high it hit me like a ton of bricks before school. I remember feeling like I was having a heart attack. I was laying on my parents bed and called my dad at work. He told me I was ok. I handed the phone to my mom’s friend who gave me a ride to school. She told my dad I looked fine. So I had to go to school.
Honestly, I hated school. I always felt like I had to meet new people. I did not really have long term friendships like everyone else did, because I went to so many schools. I did so good in elementary school but junior high and high school was lame to me. I was teased from not having expensive clothes to not being able to go to school events. It just gave me anxiety trying to fit in. I was bullied. (but I will save that for another blog post). I started smoking pot in high school and honestly it helped. It quieted my brain. High school was just a bunch of anxiety too. I was in an unhealthy relationship that gave me major anxiety, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. I had parents who had these high expectations. I spent most of high school ditching and surprisingly managed to get ok grades and graduate. I needed guidance and someone who could understand my feelings. Then there was the anxiety on what to do in the next stage of my life..
In part 2 you will read about how intense my anxiety became after high school. With this blog style there will be multiple parts to certain topics so that you the reader can see how the small steps, little changes, and just going through the motions created some big results!
Thank you for stopping by and reading my first blog post about Anxiety.
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