I am beginning to realize that over the course of my life, I have missed out on many of the normal experiences that take place as you become an adult. I didn't really notice or care much about missing those things at the time. It is only now that the realization of what I have missed is beginning to hit me. It does make me sad. I have not created the life that I want. I have been fighting this for about five years, before that I was trying to cope with it, survive I should say. That in itself was a feat. But once I began learning how to not only live with the anxiety, but gain some control over it, I became the master for once instead of the scared animal shivering in the corner waiting to see what abuse would next be thrown at it. This is when I grew. The problem is that I was already in my late twenties when I began to make these changes, and that was after a very low point in my life, so making those changes wasn't easy or quick.
I ramble, but the point is that my whole life. I. was. so. slow. to. do. anything. I would first hide from the natural changes in life, this would put me at my first disadvantage. I didn't have the skills to deal with the social interaction and intricacies of high school, and so I don't really blame myself too much for how far I fell behind. I tried my best. I went to the doctor and got medication, and tried to make good choices, but it wasn't enough. I would go out with "friends" maybe once a month. I sat alone at lunch, never dated, went to about one party a year. Often, I would stay in the house the whole weekend. Bad, bad times. Hiding was the only thing I knew how to do. College was a little different, I made some good friends and participated in activities every weekend. I started to not hide, but when I was with these groups I was only a friendship beginner, learning for the first time how to form connections that were real. I was a stage behind, most people had real friends in high school. This caused me to be a follower a lot of the time, taking cues from other people on how to flow through a conversation, or what was worth talking about. I hid my personality a bit, already feeling a bit of a weird one and scared to be considered even more of an oddity. So, I made progress but was still frightened and unsure of my social interactions, afraid I would lose these friends.
Out of college, I only worked part time at first. Did not know what I wanted to do with my life, really rather lost but happy at the same time for what I had accomplished, and for at least on the surface appearing more normal. But I got into a bad relationship and the weak structure that I had built could not hold up, my whole internal world began to crumble as I took this more experienced person's word for everything. How could I trust myself when I was so sheltered, and this person had been normal for his whole life. If only I could go back to this point and undo some of the choices I made. Instead I had to spend the next many years fixing the messes that my bad choices left behind them.
The point of this, now I am older, but still young enough to create something that I want of my life. Internally I am much stronger. I am still fearful and feel like I will live this life forever. But I know that change can be made. However, just like my life up to this point, I must make an active effort to create that life, or my life will be created for me by the passage of time, the motion of those around me, and the inactivity of myself. That is so sad and frightening to me. Now, less energy than I once had, less optimism, the shrinking of opportunities, and the realization that everything is passing, I still must trudge on through this and create the life that I want. I don't feel the lightness and exuberance that I felt when I was in college and looked forward, but I have an awareness at this moment that I will just become more and more depressed and despondent if I just sit as I have been, and do not dream or love anything.
I need to make a change. That is what I know. To go on as I am is sentencing myself to a fate that I do not deserve. I didn't ask for this disorder, and although I am tired and don't know what exactly I am fighting my way out of to find on the other side, I must fight. I feel kind of an explorer who knows only that they must go in search of something. I may end up disappointed or lost from the travails of my voyage, but yet I cannot allow myself to stay trapped as I am. I want to search until I find myself at a point where I can once again feel appreciation for things and people, and where beauty and nature regain the power to touch my soul. Find myself in a place where I can breathe and actually have an awareness that I am breathing air and not simply doing something that I need to do in order to survive.
Good luck to anyone else looking to see life with open and unsick eyes.