Skip to main content


Obedience School Dropout

I was a weird kid. When girls my age were playing with dolls and listening to Mariah Carey, I was playing basement hockey and listening to Nirvana. They wore floral prints and bows; I wore black and begged my mom for JNCOs.  As they began experimenting with makeup, I was covered in dirt and still rocking backwards hats.   I've never been afraid of being different.  My parents taught me from a young age to do what I want to do and resist peer pressure to fit in.  Fitting in is overrated.  You can fall in with a group who doesn't like you for who you really are.  You can lose your true self.  You don't get a chance to find what you truly enjoy.  Basically, you waste time, and time is the most precious resource that we have.  You don't get time back.  So why in the hell would you spend that precious, rare time with people who don't know or appreciate you?  Or waste it doing things that you don't enjoy?  We get so little free time because of all the responsibilities

Anxiety is my superpower.

It first became a thing in kindergarten.  

I cried every morning when my mom would drop me off at school.  Big, ugly crying.  The headmaster (private school's version of a principal) started taking me on his morning rounds as a way to distract me from my mom leaving.  It gave me a "job" to do and immediately took my mind off how sad I was - a tool that I have continued using to this day. (If I am feeling sad/anxious/upset, then I lift weights/run/go for a walk/run errands - anything to distract myself.) 

Back then, we didn't know that I had anxiety and panic attacks.

It wasn't until high school that I was diagnosed.  

It was the summer after my freshman year.  During the first couple of months after school started, it became obvious that I didn't fit in well.  I wasn't girly enough for the girly girl groups.  I wasn't a jock, so I couldn't hang with the athletes.  I wasn't nerdy enough for the smart kids.  I wasn't funny enough to be with the class clowns.  I fell in with the other outcasts - the ones who made fun of everything and everyone, who hated people before they could be hated, and who got into gaming as a way of socializing.  It wasn't a very nice group of people.  

We survived that first year of high school together, but everyone went their own way during the summer.  I tried calling everyone in the group to see if they wanted to hang out or at least meet up online to play Medal of Honor together, but no one answered.  No one called me back.  I was ghosted before ghosting became a thing.  

I spent the summer alone.  When it came time to go back to school in the fall, I experienced horrible anxiety and panic attacks to the point of throwing up and not being able to function.  I knew that everyone at school hated me.  I had no friends outside of the group that I fell in with the year before, and even they all ditched me over the summer.  Walking through those doors, I would have no one to talk to, and I couldn't face it.  I think I went to school maybe one day out of the first two weeks of sophomore year.

Mom took me to a counselor, and it was there that I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety, social anxiety, and panic.  I attended individual counseling sessions in addition to group therapy.  It helped a lot, and soon I was going to school like usual.  I even found a nicer crowd to hang with.  It turns out that people liked me once I learned to like myself.

It happened again in college.  When my liver issues first came up, I mentioned that all my friends ditched out because they couldn't handle the medical drama.  I was no fun to be around.  That was fine because I had way more important things to focus on than a social life.  Hello, I was literally fighting to survive.  After my liver surgery, I was so happy to be alive and well that I started going out a lot and making new friends and reconnecting with old friends.  I even got into a new, serious relationship. 

That relationship lasted about 9 months and ended badly.  He isolated me from all the friends I had made, so when the relationship was finished, I was left with nothing.  Again, feelings of anxiety and panic were threatening to take over.  This time, I proactively reached out to counseling services on my college campus and set myself up before my mind was completely wrecked.

My counselor talked me about separation anxiety and codependency.  It made sense that I would become codependent on someone after experiencing the rollercoaster that was my liver disease journey.  She basically told me that I need to become confident on my own before I could be confident with anyone else - friendship or relationship.  She encouraged me to find things I enjoy on my own, make friends outside of a relationship, try new things, have new experiences, and build a life for myself that I could have regardless of whether or not someone is hanging out with me. 

This was the first I had heard of me having separation anxiety or codependency issues.  I always thought of myself as being independent and fine on my own.  At that moment, I flipped a switch in my brain.  I decided that I wasn't doing this anymore.  I wasn't going to become "too" attached to anyone.  I decided that, if I wanted to go somewhere or do something, I would go and do it - whether or not anyone came with me.  I decided that I would be 100% my own person and not conform to what anyone expected of me.  I decided that, from then on, I was going to live my life on my terms because, HELLO, I was FREAKIN' ALIVE.  Why in the hell would I waste that on someone who didn't value me?  Or waste it doing something that I didn't want to do?  

It was a wake-up call.  

I'm not saying that I don't still deal with anxiety and panic.  Or even with separation anxiety.  I still do.  Anxiety and panic have caused so many problems and issues and pain and chaos in my life.  But I'm aware of it now.  I can feel it happening, and I know what is happening, and that helps me cope and pull myself out of those spirals.  

There's power in awareness and knowledge.  
There's power in asking for help. 
Never be afraid to learn or ask why or seek a professional or talk to someone you trust.
You will become a stronger person. 
If only because now you know.
Now you are aware.
And now you can deal with it.

xoxo BB 


Popular Posts