October 25th, 2019

blue butterfly

LJI S10:4 - Impossible

I have had anxiety since before I knew what anxiety was.

My stuffed koala was my best friend when I was little. She had black eyes, medium-brown fur, and a little half-smile on her face. I named her Jenny.

And whenever it was bedtime and I couldn't find her, the inevitable panic was spurred. I'd rummage desperately through my toys as I tried to locate my bear. Inevitably one of my parents would come in, find her, and tell me that since I was overreacting, Jenny would sleep with them tonight.

And that's when anxiety coiled it's tendrils into me and refused to let go.

I didn't know why I was so terrified of missing the bus in kindergarten.

I didn't know what was wrong with me when I was, at one minute, contentedly watching TV with my parents, then hysterically realizing I didn't know where my She-Ra action figures were.

I didn't know why I was frantically yelling at my friends in second grade to help me find my mittens because I was afraid I had lost them.

As a teenager, if I babysat on a Friday night and Mom had to work, I'd make sure to call home before she left to tell her I love her *just in case* something happened.

When I was dating my first husband, he once hung up on me without saying he loved me and I was convinced he didn't.

I've picked at the skin on my lips for years and years.

I bite my nails, although less than I used to.

The skin around my thumb nails is usually red and angry looking from where I've picked at it.

In the summer time, I peel the skin off of my feet.

I randomly pull out my eyebrows. Not all the time, and not enough for anyone to really notice.

My parents used "anxious" as a synonym for "eager". Neither of them had anxiety.

None of my brothers did.

They enjoyed their happy go lucky lives full of friends and sports, college football, horseback riding and cross country skiing.

I have been forty-one for almost a month. My anxiety is as much a part of me at this point as my high cheekbones and my strabismus. Or
my love for cooking. Perhaps as much as my Tina Belcher tattoo on my right shoulder, a lasting memory of my sister's visit last November.

It is impossible for me to live without anxiety. I can't do it.

The medication makes it manageable, for which I am thankful. I don't have a panic attack when my dearly loved (yet still an asshole) dog gets out of the yard, or when the sun is directly in my eyes when I'm trying to drive.

It is a part of who I am, as much as my blue eyes and rosacea speckled cheeks.

And I'm okay with that.