Anxiety Throwback

23 05 2014

In honor of throwback Thursday, I decided that I wanted to share something very dear to my heart and my struggle as a human being on this earth, and talk about my experiences with anxiety.  

My counselor would say (if I had a counselor at the moment) that my experiences with anxiety come from my mom.  Now, don’t get me wrong and think that I’ll blame everything on her.  She doesn’t have a voice in this scenario and cannot defend herself, and as a result, I won’t bash her or anything, I will just state the facts as I best remember them.  I remember my home life from when I was younger, to be very volatile, to the point of violence.  I can remember arguments that my parents had as early as like 5 or so.  I can remember her yelling and screaming at my dad.  And then when I got older, she did the same to me.  She yelled and screamed at me.  Sometimes I screamed back.  So, I had a very unstable, unsteady home life, and for the last few years of my parent’s marriage, I had a very tension-filled home life, in which I was afraid to do something or to say something, because it might be the wrong thing, and I might get yelled at.  I don’t know if any of the things she yelled at me were worth yelling for.  I was accused of things, I was bullied, lies were being poured into my ears…and in my own home.  

I guess that’s now why I consider the home to be very sacred territory.  And why I no longer yell or allow people to yell at me.  

Because of that undercurrent, I realize now that my anxiety started to develop around the middle high school era of my life.  I didn’t know and didn’t understand why I was feeling so stressed and anxious all the time, I attributed it to the stress of school and the type of life I was living.  It was in this time that I met theatre and essentially, devoted my life to it.  And I’m so glad I did, because it became a place of comfort, of regularity and stability, where I had none.  I met people who liked me and thought I was cool, even if I was a little stressed, all the time.  More importantly, it gave me a place to focus all of my energies, particularly my anxiety energies.  I’m so grateful that I was able to have that place as a bedrock to my soul.  So, I decided to go into theatre as a career, and I chose to become a teacher of theatre.  

My freshman year of college, I wasn’t too involved with the theatre department at my college, and my anxiety rose again and it fixated itself upon my freshman year roommate.  Unfortunately, that friend is no longer in my life.  We had problems, sure, but I completely wrecked it as she walked completely out of my life and her other friends’ lives.  There’s a part of me that wishes that I could go back to her and explain to her what I now know that I was going through, that I have a name for it, and that it’s not her fault.  But I can’t, to do so would drudge up the memories of the past that have been long-forgotten.  The next year, I began focusing further in school, and part of my degree requirements was that I had to have so many hours working in the scene shop, working on shows, and just being involved.  It was there that I had a safe place to focus my energies, and I needed that because I was about to undertake the task of being a very complicated double/triple major.  

When I left college, I left the world of theatre.  For two years, my anxiety shot through the roof.  I further developed OCD tendencies as a way to mask and manage the nervousness that I felt, and to prevent myself from driving me crazy.  

In the past few months, I have started to go back to that theatre, started to surround myself with other theatre actors, actresses and volunteers.  And I have found a home once again, and I have found a place where I can focus my energies.  I am so delighted today to tell you that I am the healthiest that I have ever been, hands down.  I am growing, Living Single blog is going great, my relationships and friendships are exactly where I want them to be.  Now while I am not yet living the dream, this is pretty close enough.  My anxiety is at its lowest point it’s ever been.  It’s been crazy, but it’s been truly great.  I am so truly thankful that I have found that one place where I can focus my energies and myself, and do so in a productive way.

Maybe this doesn’t mean much to you, but it means a whole lot to me.  I guess the arts really do heal.  


A Box

6 05 2014

My yesterdays, they sit in a box there.  On the shelf.  It’s contents that explode, explode visions of love and value, honor and memories.  Those yesterdays are there.  They’re part of my past, and even though some of the people are past, they’re always a part of my future.  Who I am, who I was and who I will become is wrapped up all in the lives and the character of the people that I’ve allowed to take space in my heart, for however long of a period of time.  And they are there.  Pictures, and stickers, envelopes and letters, ink-stained cards and colored pages ripped out.  Suckers and candy wrappers, that I really don’t understand why they’re kept.  Notes written during services, passed back and forth while listening to some preacher.  I’ve got pictures of people, a random hat from a trip.  I’ve got momentos from former lovers, notes and emotions that overwhelm me with memories from yesterdays gone by.  I’ve got cards that used to sparkle, and glitter that fell off of those handwritten notes.  And I’ve got things I’ve written, so that I’ll never forget them, dates of deaths.

The box is on a shelf.  It occasionally is opened, but mostly, it’s just there to remind me of the contents.  To remind me that the yesterdays are there.  Although I don’t look through it everyday, I know that the things of the past are still there.  And I see it everyday, like the past is a part of my life everyday.  

Sometimes, I wonder if it does more harm than good, to pull up the yesterdays.  Sometimes, I wonder if it does more harm than good to wonder if it could be better now.  Sometimes I wonder if I was a better person then.  However, I suddenly remember, the great events of my life that have occurred, those events that prepared me for this moment.  Losing loves, facing death, grieving deeply, falling in love, being important to somebody, and choosing to love someone anyways….all of these defining moments, they’re what made me who I am today.  

So I can’t ever get rid of the box, nor my past, because it’s always there, and it’ll always remind me of how far I have come.  

And it encourages me, because I have yet a ways to go.  The box isn’t full yet.