Medication

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I am now taking anti-anxiety medication.

Part of me feels relief. The doctor prescribing me this medication somehow validated what I’ve been feeling, letting me know that this anxiety is real. That I’m not crazy. That all these symptoms had a cause.

Part of me feels embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that I could not handle this on my own. I mean, everyone has some anxiety. Why couldn’t I handle mine?

Part of me feels afraid. What if I can never handle it on my own? What if I am crazy? What if the medicine makes it worse?

Really, I haven’t figured out how I feel about my medication yet. They say it will take a few weeks to be effective, so I am anxiously awaiting the time when I can tell a difference. I want some relief. I need some relief. I cannot continue to live my life with it being overwhelmed by anxiety. Maybe this medicine will help that. I guess we will see.

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Vulnerability

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Vulnerability is not my strong suit. In fact, I avoid vulnerability and the accompanying negative emotions and feelings of weakness at all costs. Even at the cost of my mental health.

A lack of vulnerability has allowed my past to get a firm grip on my life and to settle in for the long haul. I have never told a single person what happened within those four walls. Not a single person. In seven years I have never spoken the truth aloud. This has allowed it to grow and fester within me, affecting the most basic things about myself.

It has affected how I see myself, I how present myself to those around me, and how I behave. I lack the most basic feeling of belongingness. I wonder where I could belong if it was not in my family. I wonder who could love me if my own father didn’t. I wonder who I am supposed to be.

Everyone always told me how strong I was. How my mom needed me to be strong. How my siblings looked up to me because of how strong I was. I took that to heart. I knew I had to be strong to have value. My value was based in my ability to put on a smile and keep going. To keep living life when I had no desire to do anything. I learned to conceal my emotions and to show people what they wanted.

I found that people didn’t want to hear what happened. In fact, I found that people couldn’t even bring themselves to say domestic violence. I saw how uncomfortable it made them. I saw that they only wanted to ask me how I was as long as the answer was that I was good, fine, perfect, never better. They only wanted to see the side of me was okay.

They didn’t want to see a girl who cried herself to sleep every night. They didn’t want to see the girl who fell deeply into feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. They didn’t want to see a girl who questioned love and felt that she didn’t belong. They didn’t want to see a girl who fought with her mother and stopped talking to her father. That’s not what they wanted to see, so they didn’t.

So, I never told anyone. I let those around me hold on to the ideas of me that they wanted to had, and really, that’s how I wanted them to see me. I didn’t want to shatter that perception.

Now, I need someone to know. I need to tell someone what it was like. I need someone to know how it affected me. I just need to be vulnerable, but I don’t know how.

Introspection

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Lately, the smallest bit of introspection completely tears me apart. I am haunted by images and emotions of the past, and I cannot seem to shake them. Everywhere I turn, they are there. Waiting, haunting, wrecking.

On those days, I feel so many emotions at once that I cannot even determine what they are. I can only hold on and hope that it will pass. The only way that I can express what I am feeling in that moment is through tears. Those tears have more to say than they let on. They tell my story one by one. I cry for my family. I cry for myself. I cry for what could have been. I cry for what was not. I cry because I never can figure out how to say it. I can never express what has happened and what is happening inside of me.

I also cry because I am frustrated that this still has a hold on me. How can this still bring tears to my eyes after all of this time? When, really, I am lucky that was the worst that I had to endure. It could have been much worse, and others do have it much worse. Yet, here I am being concerned by this thing that happened years ago. YEARS AGO. It still tears me apart. I still hurt and cry and feel angry and betrayed. Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I shake this? Why can’t I talk about it?

I continue to hold on fiercely to my secrets. I am afraid I will never tell another soul what my life has been. It is much easier to say that my dad was abusive. If only it had been that simple. Maybe then I could explain. Maybe.

As it is, I continue to mourn for the family that we could have been. I mourn for the person I could have been. But, I celebrate who I am and how far I have come. I celebrate my life for what it has been and for the ways in which I will use it for good.

Am I who you thought I would be?

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As I consider who I am, I can’t help but wonder who you thought I would be. When you decided you wanted to have a child, who did you imagine I would be? Do I look anything like her– the daughter you imagined?

Did you imagine that I would be an architect or a nurse? Or maybe a teacher or a business woman?

Did you imagine that you would see me graduate from college? Did you imagine that I would be successful? Did you imagine celebrating with me on my graduation day?

Did you imagine walking me down the aisle at my wedding? Did you imagine dancing with me? Did you imagine that you would sing Butterfly Kisses to me on my wedding day?

Did you imagine me starting a family of my own? Did you imagine having grandchildren? Did you imagine giving them ice cream for dinner?

Did you imagine that I would be outgoing or shy? Did you imagine that I would be loving and kind? Did you imagine that I would have a sense of humor?

Did you imagine that I would be like you?

Really, I would like to know, did you imagine that you would be abusive? Did you imagine that you would make me feel worthless? Did you imagine that I would be afraid of you? Did you imagine that we would not have a relationship? Did you imagine that you would be the one to know me the least?

I wonder who you wanted me to be. I wonder what that girl looked like. Who did you imagine me to be before I was born?

You will never know if I turned out to be who you thought I would be. You will never know who I am. Do you realize that you have missed nearly 7 years of my life? Do you?

A lot can happen in 7 years. You missed seeing me learn to drive. You missed walking me out for senior homecoming. You missed my high school graduation. You missed me moving away to school. You missed celebrating with me when I got my job.

You’re going to miss my college graduation. You’re going to miss sending me off to grad school. You’re going to miss walking me down the aisle. You’re going to miss knowing your grandchildren. You’re going to miss seeing me make a way for myself in this world. You’re going to miss seeing me succeed.

You’re going to miss knowing your daughter.

Then again, maybe you don’t miss me at all.

Either way, I am afraid.

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I often find myself contemplating just how much I want to tell you. I trust you. I really do. And, to be honest, that scares the hell out of me.

I’ve thought of telling you everything. In fact, I’ve dreamed that I could. But, I’m not sure that I know how. I don’t even know how to tell one person so much about me. How do I even begin? How do I tell you what I want to tell you? How do I approach you? How do I form the words? How would you react?

I’ve always been very careful to only share small bits of myself with any one person, ensuring that no one person knew too much. And ensuring that I didn’t get hurt. I have lived this way out of fear.

I am afraid of what you will think. Of what you will say. Of how you will react. Of the possibility that you won’t keep it confidential. Of how you will come to see me. Of the possibility that you will not see it as I do.

I am afraid that I will become less in your eyes. That you might come to view me as weak. That you wouldn’t understand.

Because I really just need someone to understand what my life has been and how it has affected me. Without considering where I have come from, there is really no way to know why I am who I am today. I have been so affected, for better and for worse.

Even if I could conquer my fears, I don’t want to burden you with all of this. I can’t imagine passing the burden of being the only one to know on to you. Because, right now, I am the only person that knows me. No one else really knows me. It hasn’t been easy for me to cope with that, so how can I ask someone else to cope with all my shit?

I’m afraid I can’t. I afraid that I will never be able to tell you everything. I’m afraid that it is too large of a risk. I am too afraid to tell you and I am too afraid not to. There is a battle within myself, and I am unsure of what side will win out.