I once owned trauma and became so attached to it as my identity. Even referred to it as my trauma and intentionally pushed away healing or anyone who would tell me otherwise. As long as I held on to my trauma and anxiety attacks, I was free to be whatever. Who wouldn’t want that? My greatest fear was that people would tell me the truth and reality would steal this new world where people let me be me without any judgment because of my mental health.
Specific things, symbols, people, etc… would awaken thoughts of my trauma and bring bouts of anxiety… and I loved it. At the time, I was totally unaware of this because it was somewhat controlled by the unconscious self. So I kept vigil for the slightest triggers and blew them out of proportion just to get a kick out of it. That feeling of pain and helplessness was all I wanted – almost craved for. Like how we remember something sad so that we may cry.
Anxiety become my refuge. Just like a drug, I would run to it as an excuse when confronted by discomfort. This actually reminds me of the black card that we pull out as if to protest racism when we actually want preferential treatment. I became addicted to that pain and to make it worse, people supported my addiction. This made me afraid of healing.
The anxiety attacks and trauma were so much a part of my life that I had no idea who I was outside them… the unknown was scarier than my trauma so I choose to relive it over and over again. I was like a child who has urinated on the bed and enjoyed lying in the warm filth because I was afraid of the cold reality of stepping out of my mess, owning up, and cleaning up it. It needed courage and courage is too much work.
People were celebrating me for being weak, the way we give participation trophies to kids who come last. So I continued being weak enough just to barely stay alive because that kept the sympathy coming. My sub-conscience loved it. At the time, I was fully unaware of all this but now I know that my sub-conscience was getting a secret pleasure kick from my pain. Like a weird fetish only that I couldn’t see or experience it because I was blinded. So I kept playing along and used the victim card as an easy way out to build remorse and continue gaining sympathy.
Interestingly, I never understood why I thought the anxiety was good for me. It felt all great within me, that I didn’t realise the slow fade until it had already turned into depression and stopped me from working or sleeping or leaving the house. Wish there was an anxiety attack scale to measure and define the levels of danger I was about to reach, because I started becoming restless and couldn’t sit still but also didn’t want to leave the house.
I don’t know how exactly the anxiety attacks started coming without any triggers. Ironically, at the same time, close friends would walk into my house unannounced for no reason. Just to check up on me but their visit, just like my anxiety was not welcome and so I pushed them away. They gave up but my anxiety didn’t.
Sometimes, I would even think of anxiety reduction techniques that involved tricking my mind and that’s when my anxiety attacks would fight back the hardest looking like a raging ball angry fire, taking over my mind and causing intrusive thoughts that wiped out anything positive.
Each time I tried fighting back with my inner will, it caused dizziness and made me feel tired – like I was in an actual fight. My anxiety attacks started causing physical pain and making me feel sick and tired. I thought I was about to die and the thought of taking away my life was a common part of my day.
If you ask me to either take back my anxiety or get infected with coronavirus, guess what? I will even eat a bat to get the worst strain possible, because it will still be better than what I went through. Anxiety is real. It can lead to depression, make you bed-sick and can even kill you but if I am still here today sharing this, just know that anxiety can also be cured.
We need compulsory lessons in school like anxiety for beginners or anxiety for dummies because going thought that without being prepared has been described as a near death experience. For me I would say it is worse than death itself but with the right support system you won’t sink into it.
Until today, I don’t know how I left that prison but I am glad I finally did. Mental health is a very serious issue and everyone goes through a different experience. Feeling anxious or overwhelmed? Check out this resource from BetterHelp to learn some stress management strategies on how we can help ourselves or other people trapped in that cycle.