When I was ten years old, I always wanted to buy fries and hamburgers from the local food truck near my school. Once I got the money from my mother, and with stuttering voice I asked for a plate of fries for take away. I instantly got a panic attack. My hands started to shake, my legs went jelly and I fled with a big ball of humiliation within me. I imagined that the handsome food truck guy (oh yes, he was handsome) shouted my name, when my fries were ready and nobody answered, because then I was on my way to reach the safety of my home (we lived in a small town, so it was five minutes away). I felt ashamed of it for years. Probably the food truck guy got over it pretty easily.
Anxiety comes with a huge amount of regret. When my anxiety got worse I constantly beat myself up with redundant questions as: Why can’t I be like everyone else? Why can’t I go shopping/flying/travelling without panic and anxiety? Why couldn’t I ask for fries when I was ten like my other classmates did?
In the last couple of months I have struggled with a huge amount of anxiety. As a result we skipped two holidays to Northern Ireland and Portugal. Obviously I felt really bad about the money we lost and the adventures we had to skip because of my fears. In spite of it I have decided to openly speak about my anxiety I felt ashamed of. I felt scared of what other people think about my issues. My husband’s coworkers, our friends here in the UK, my husband’s mother, my parents. I felt defeated again. Like the problematic girls is doing it again.
Of course I realize why I got my panic attacks back. Because we still have some things to do together. But I wanted to fight down this feeling, I wasn’t satisfied with my slow progress and I lost touch with gratefulness in my life.
So yes, I skipped two holidays. We lost money on it and it was because of my anxiety disorder. As my mother said nobody would ask about your decision if you just broke your leg. So she said I should think like that. Now I broke my leg again. But I started running around the block, I meditate more, I will write more about anxiety, I started to see my therapist again.
It is so easy to feel ashamed all the time. I always said sorry when I had a panic attack, when we had a huge fight with my husband/mother about my anxiety. I needed to say sorry because I felt abnormal. But my therapist said instead of saying sorry I just need to say thank you. So thank you for every bit of support and understanding from my family and friends. Be grateful, not ashamed. You’re not alone. Speak up and you’ll realize how many people suffer around you in silence.