A person close to me told me I was allowing myself to become a victim? That there was really nothing wrong with me that could not be fixed by just moving on, and that I was being overly dramatic. The comments made me really angry. What did he know? How did he know what it was like to be in this miserable state? How did anyone know, who had not been here, what it was like to live with anxiety day in and day out and feel totally out of control?
I thought I was trying everything I could think of to “get better.” However, the comments coming to me reinforced my perception of shame and stigma that I associated with this “illness.” I knew if I had told people that I had breast cancer their reactions would have been quite different. But an anxiety disorder? In my mind, they were saying, “Hey, that’s just bullshit.” What did they know?
There was no way to explain to people what the pain felt like. It was not the pain of having a broken arm, burned skin, surgical stitches, any of which people could readily understand and relate. But it was real pain. For me, it started with debilitating back pains, for which I could find no relief. Then came nausea, fatigue, and it continued with the worse pain of fear, paralyzing immobility, constant tears out of nowhere, the shakes, nervous tension, loss of appetite, extreme weight loss (there is an upside to everything), and inability to concentrate. It was such an intangible set of conditions. Then there was the pain of not understanding the cause. Why me? Why now? And of course, the pain of not understanding that there was a road to health. A road at the end of which there would be, once again, strength and happiness.
4 thoughts on “What did they know?”
Thank you for your comment. It has taken me a long time to get to this point. My blog today speaks to that issue.
It is so hard to acknowledge what seems like such an intimate problem without opening yourself up to “public” scrutiny. Your blog is honest and moving.
thank you for your comment. i hope that this blog site can reduce the stigma of mental illness, and encourage people to get the help they need. the sooner the better.
Pain appears in so many different ways. So many of us try to ignore it at first hoping it will go away. But that doesn’t always work, does it? So why not learn to acknowledge it and deal with it earlier?