Hard to say, really. I can actually remember not
being anxious. Growing up in pretty dysfunctional family, nothing changed to this day. Bullied at school due being mixed race, so I stood out from the crowd. Family argued most of time, particularly my older sisters. My mother neglected me emotionally and has been quite cold and distant towards me over the years. Aside from school, I was bullied at home by my cousins and sisters. Being the youngest, I had little choice but to tolerate since my saying, “That’s no funny” was to get a sense of humour.
From ages 14 to 18, the recurring “joke”
from my mother and sister was: “All men are useless, aren’t they Graeme?”
Except my mother actually genuinely believed that first part of that question. As I found out when I made the mistake of telling my mother about this girl, who was just in the year below me at my secondary school and had a crush on me. Natively thinking this would get the usual, “Awww.... someone got a girlfriend”
teasing reaction you’d expect from a parent of a teenager. But, no, this triggered a f__kin’ tsunami of hatred and bitterness. And lengthy tangent about how relationships were pointless, and how my mother was glad to not have a man in life — the irony.
. Not exactly the normal reaction one would expect, but then my family is hardly what ye would call normal...
As well as that, during this 4 year period, my mother also told me to, “Trust naebuddy, except yer family! Naebuddy!”
. My oldest sibling made the same joke about my appearance, as apparently me saying:
“Aye, very funny”
in a clearly sarcastic, deadpan tone o’ voice was taken to mean I approved of having to hear the same joke every time my beard got to a certain length.
And it just got worse from there, really. The depression, insecurity, the loneliness, anxiety... the fear of how people will react. Since I’d gotten so used to being snapped at by my family whenever I asked a simple question. Then, of course, when I finally opened up to my family, age 16, my older sister said I was just faking for attention, and my mother said that I should just kill myself if I was feeling so depressed.
And I haven’t opened up to a family member about my depression and anxiety struggles since that day. As I don’t know if they’re asking how I am from a place of genuine concern or just want something to gossip about behind my back. In fact, I haven’t really felt at ease enough to socialise with my family. Weirdly enough, my earliest childhood memory just so happens to be me watching my sisters arguing with each other on the last day of a family holiday we all went on with our mum.