In all honesty, 4therace was never going to include posts on films and television. Nor was it going to be riddled of short essays, stories, or the occasional screenplay excerpt. Originally 4therace was made to discuss two obstacles I have had to deal with in my life, the first is living in a single parent home and the second is my anxiety. I wanted to build a community of individuals who have endured the same struggles hoping that my blog could help them. Not only did I want to help others, but I thought that by writing and expressing my social situation to the world I could help myself. Unfortunately, when 4therace was officially completed I “chickened out” and grew increasingly scared about how people would receive my story. I questioned if people would undermine my struggle or tell me it was blown way out of proportion. Fear stricken, I decided to scratch the personal side of my blog and write whatever was on my head at the time (I spawned The Pessimist’s Optimistic Way to Obtain World Peace). But this blog is called 4therace and I want to connect with all people of different colours, creeds and backgrounds. Humbly, I can say I’ve done quite well thus far but there is still room to expand and connect to more social groups. I think it’s time to come out of my shell, and finally write about what I originally intended to do in the summer of 2015. My anxiety.
The Story of My Anxiety
You see, I’m not really sure when I developed my anxiety as it feels as if it has been apart of me for as long as I can remember. However, I fully realized its existence around 10th or 11th grade, so at about 15-16 years old. A couple years back, when I was a 9th grader, I recall being overwhelmed with balancing my academic and social life. School became more demanding, and with it, my social surroundings began to change. Some friends began doing things that I was uncomfortable with, that I wasn’t and still am not ready for. My situation at home changed and I had no way to help compensate with the quickly shifting environment. I internalized my feelings, which I now know is not the best idea, and assumed that my peers felt exactly as I did. I thought that everyone had trouble sleeping the night before a presentation, or had a rapid heart beat when brought into new social situations. I thought that everyone had difficulty breathing when they felt overwhelmed or out of place.
It was until my sister, who is 2 years younger than me, entered 9th grade that I realized that everyone was not me. One day I asked her if she had heart palpitations like I did (do) or had any sleepless nights before a presentation to which she calmly responded “no and no”. She didn’t even have a fast heart beat when standing in front of the class and she could breathe normally in new situations. Her grades were great, in fact higher than mine, and she never showed an ounce of struggle. It was then that I understood that having heart palpitations before going to the movies, or going to a party, or standing in front of the class, or simply asking someone “hey, where’s the bathroom?”, is no longer classified as being anxious but having anxiety disorder. Back then I pounded myself in my head, shouting internally “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!” and “WHY AM I SO DIFFERENT AND WEIRD?”- fortunately now I know nothing is wrong with me and I’m not weird or different , but more on that later. The reason why these thoughts remained so permanent has a lot to do with my school. I studied at an extremely small school. Everyone knew everyone. No one suffered from anxiety, or at least I think no one did. The “culture” in my town was very party heavy. Drugs and alcohol. At a certain age, nearly everyone assimilated to this “culture” and the statements “Why don’t you drink? Why don’t you smoke? Why don’t you go to parties? ?” were asked constantly for over six years of my life. I just simply did not want to, but for some people it wasn’t enough. The repetitiveness of these comments made me question if I myself were normal – I know I am now. On top of that, people would intentionally do small things to nag me which drove me over the edge. They were miniscule but when you hear hurtful words sprayed at you everyday, despite who’s mouth they are originating from, you begin to believe them. This somehow perpetuated my anxiety and I could no longer tell the difference if someone were joking or not. I couldn’t discern if there was malicious intent in what was a quickly dispersed “Shut the Fuck Up”. I would ruminate if people were actually my friends or pretended to be. If anyone actually liked me or cared if I was there. From this, on top of the academic stress I already had, my anxiety grew worse and worse. For the last two years of my life I thought I was alone and my existence was negligent.
I know now that I am not alone. I do matter. My anxiety still overwhelms me, but I’ve come a long way. I’ve helped myself and met some people who finally understand me…..
To any readers, new or old here at 4therace. Know that you are not alone or different.