Saturday, August 28, 2010


Why do I have such a hard time accepting this? Well, let’s see. There’s the fact that I spent most of my life having everyone around me DENY my very real medical problems. From the time I was 14 and told my mom I’d kill myself if she didn’t send me to therapy (to which she replied, “Stop being so melodramatic”) to my broken right ankle at 23 (she let church friends pray for me rather than lending me money to get it set by a doctor, despite the fact she no longer believed in faith healing and went to doctors for her OWN needs at this point) my pain has never been real.

No one’s pain was real to my grandmother. In the entire book “Born in Zion” detailing over a dozen birth stories, she never once admits to a laboring woman being in pain, always merely “some discomfort.” Of course my pain was never real.

Then there’s the fact that you can’t SEE a mental illness by looking at my body. I’m 27 and in fairly good shape. I have really healthy hair and four working limbs. I am not disfigured or maimed physically, just psychologically and that… no one else can see unless you let them. And I spent my whole life practicing hiding my pain.

Because of course, sometimes I refused to let them deny me. I went through with my suicide attempts and I got sporadic brief periods of time with therapists (though always with the complaints of how much time it took out of her day to drive me, how much money it cost her for me to not be making real progress, and of course, a quiz for everything I discussed in my private session that she had paid for.) If I had to, I’d make them see my pain, but there was always a price to pay for forcing my mother out of neglectful denial, her preferred mode of parenting.

I want to pretend that I can get better anytime I want to, and that I just enjoy spending all my time in my apartment on the computer. I want to pretend that I’m just “quirky” not actually “disabled.” I want to be able to write this without soaking my kitchen table with tears, buut I can’t.

It hurts so much to speak this truth. You Anteaters, before anyone else, know how much I share and how willingly. But this is one for some reason, one I can’t seem to forgive myself of. PTSD following abuse? Sure that makes sense. Anxiety & depression? Easily understood, and common enough to be sympathetic to a broad audience. The eating disorder? Well, that’s not nearly as hush-hush as it used to be,w ith several memoirs out (the most haunting and riveting of those being Marya Herschberg’s “Wasted”.) Divorce? Drug use in my teens? Skipping school? Hardly noteworthy in the 21st century unless you’re a repressed religious prick. Abortion? Well, even if it isn’t talked about I know 1/3 of the women out there have had one also so even if the news decided to treat it like an anamoly, I know how common it really is.

But Social Anxiety Disorder? How the hell does that work? As someone recently said, “If someone with 9,000 YouTube subscribers has social anxiety, what the hell do you consider a social butterfly?”

I used to be so extroverted. I performed my first solo at age 3, with the Lake Carol Baptist preschool choir (“Jesus Loves the Little Children.”) I was a musical theater major in high school, and a Middle East studies major in college – in the hopes of going into diplomatic work, of all things. And now I can’t leave a very, very small space without feeling overwhelmed and assaulted by everyday sights and sounds. Every person is a visible threat. Every motion kicks in my fight or flight instinct. I can’t bear the onslaught of advertising, speeding cars, loud music, sudden noises… It is all simply too much for me.

The thought of ever driving a car again makes me jump in my chair and cry out, a particularly annoying symptom that’s been happening quite often lately. These symptoms of terrific fear at the slightest movement from my boyfriend are hard for him to bear, as well. He does not want me to be afraid when he picks up a book. Neither do I.

But even just the thought of leaving the apartment to meet with a therapist fills me with dread and heart-racing anxiety. My neighbors, with their noisy children and loud slamming of the door, the assholes downstairs with the mini-bike, and the drunk guy who got arrested a few weeks ago (with two patrol cars directly beneath my window for over an hour! Fun unless you've ever been arrested!)

How did I let myself get so scared? Of everything?

I wish I could wish myself well.

I wish faith healing worked, and homeopathy, too. I wish anti-depressants did something other than make me hallucinate and feel like killing myself, but they don’t. None of them. And it’s just really, really hard to admit to myself that I can’t fucking fix this with hope and optimism. And that just feels so self-defeating! And the only reason I’ve managed to survive so much is that I *don’t* just lie down and quit. No matter how bad the depression is, I DO get out of bed. I DO take care of my son. I TRY. But I am still neurotic and crazy and terrified of the world around me.

I don’t want this ugly truth to be part of me. All the other things were more manageable. As bad as the eating disorders were, they never kept me locked in a box, a prison of fucking fear. It’s humiliating to admit that. No one wants to be afraid, and I still have to fight the lie I was indoctrinated into, that fear is the ultimate sin – the biggest taboo.

I spent my life being groomed to deny reality, and this is one truth I do not want to have to face. I do not want this to be true. But it is. It sucks, but there’s the fucking truth. I hate it. I wish it wasn’t so.

I spend all my time on the internet, because I have nowhere else to GO.