My life has transformed completely only thanks to that little bit of initial support, after years of suffering in silence.
For as long and as far back as I can remember, I have suffered from anxiety. Ever since I was in middle school I have been very nervous and constantly overthinks everything. I remember skipping school because I was afraid of what would happen when my teacher asked for the homework. This continued all the way through high school and into my adult life.
I would often not bother to do anything just so that I could sit at home overthinking everything. In the space of about 4 years, I had been hired and fired by 8 – 12 different companies. It wasn’t because I was lazy or I was not good at the job. I would inevitably wake up one day and dread the thought of getting to work and facing my colleagues. As hard as I tried to fight it, the feeling would always win.
There have been a few times where I would force myself to go to work. But once I’m in the parking lot I would just sit there, sweating and shaking nervously for no reason with thoughts of how I would choose to die over getting out of the car and walking into the building to start my day.
At the time I just believed that it was normal and that I just hated my job. Looking back now, I actually loved every one of those jobs and I had no reason to hate it. This carried on for years and it would happen often. Not only with my jobs but from drinks with friends to birthday parties, family gatherings and even funerals.
It was around the time of my 23rd birthday that I decided to open up to my family about it. At first, my dad just gave me the old “ugh, don’t worry about it, it’s just a phase” speech. My mom died from cancer when I was small, so my dad was the only person I could talk to.
A few months had passed since I had had that”talk” with my dad and things were starting to look positive. I was still overthinking almost everything and missing out on a lot of experiences but it was getting better. I’ve been able to keep a job for almost a year until one morning, I woke up with that dreaded feeling again.
I lay in bed with the pillow over my head, checking my alarm clock every 10 seconds and just wishing that I could close my eyes and die peacefully in my sleep. After some time, I heard a knock at my door.
I was quite surprised as I never had any friends that cared enough to visit. I thought it was either a beggar or the cops. After a minute or 2 of knocking, I heard my dad’s voice from the front door. I got a cold shiver as I got up to open up for him, wondering what he will say when he sees that I am not even dressed for the job that he organized for me.
After letting him in and trying to explain that I wasn’t at work because I had stomach pains, he told me to sit down. As he speaks, I felt a warm feeling come over my whole body, something that I hadn’t felt in years. It was at that moment that my entire life took a turn for the better.
He told me that ever since the day that I told him that I have a problem, he had been going 10 kilometres out of his way every single morning, just to drive past my apartment building to see if I had gone to work that day. If my car was there on a day that I was supposed to be at work, he would phone my boss to make sure that I had contacted him, letting him know that I was sick or that I had swapped my day off with a colleague.
I had never felt such support before that day. It was enough to make me call my boss, to let him know that I was on my way.
It has been about 4 years since that day. I am still working for the same company and moving up the ranks faster than I ever thought I could. I am in a relationship for longer than I have ever been with the most supportive woman that I have ever met, and I have more great friends than I can mention here. My life has transformed completely only thanks to that little bit of initial support, after years of suffering in silence.
Yes, I do still suffer from anxiety and there are many days where all I want to do is throw in the towel and call it a day, but on those days, help is just a phone call or text message away. No amount of medication could ever substitute the support that you can get from family and friends if you just open up about your disorder and embrace it for what it is, learn to live with it and use it to your advantage rather than allowing it to control your life.