I came across an article today that brought out a very deep emotional reaction from me. I will include a link at the end of this blog post, but it made me want to write about my experience on the subject.
As a kid, I missed a LOT of school.
I always had a belly ache.
I worried about everything.
I was often dismissed with a, “You’re a kid! You have nothing to worry about!”
Yet I continued to worry. And my belly continued to hurt.
My pediatrician ran tests.
I had more upper GI tests done than any 7-9 year old should ever have to.
By the time I was 9, all I wanted to do was die!
I thought that was the only way to stop the pain.
To stop the worries and fears that caused the pain.
So I tried to kill myself.
I ended up in an adult psychiatric ward.
I was not treated well or kept safe and it was not a good experience.
Those adults should be locked up for the things they did to me.
But my Mom got me out and told me to straighten up so I would never have to go back.
So I pushed it all DEEP!
I tried to BE “normal”.
I still worried.
I still had the belly ache.
I still wanted to die.
I started looking for SOMETHING to take away the pain.
Working hard to get approval from others became a big part, but it never felt like enough.
So the belly pain stayed.
As I got into my teen years, I started looking for love.
I thought from my past the the only way a man would ever love me in a special way was through sex.
Result=Pregnant at 17.
Scared, but totally elated that I would finally have someone who would love me unconditionally.
Early labor at 25 1/2 weeks and a deceased daughter the day after my 18th birthday.
MORE searching for love.
MORE anxiety, depression, and belly aches.
Finding new self-mutilation ways to dull the pain deep in my belly.
Burns and cuts became my self punishment of choice for not being “normal”.
I eventually graduated to drugs and alcohol.
Then came just not caring what happened next.
To be honest, my life filled with fear and self-loathing never really stopped after going through childhood anxiety.
Because of the constant effort of TRYING to smile so I never had to go back to a place like I had ended up when I was 9, most people in my life have no idea that my anxiety never really went away. And that I STILL have belly aches often.
Burying those feelings. Thinking they made me NOT normal. Not talking about them for fear of someone calling me out as the FREAK that I am.
TODAY, I honestly don’t give a shit what anyone thinks, so will talk about ALMOST all of it with anyone who is struggling with feeling like they are the only one dealing with something that they will never be in control of.
TODAY, I have a small but loving circle of people I trust with my fragile soul, have a decent job, own a business, am physically healthy, help others get healthy through fitness classes and online coaching, and can usually find my smile. And some days, they are often even REAL!
So, what does childhood anxiety look like all grown up?
A CONSTANT WORK IN PROGRESS! ❤