I have dealt with anxiety since I was a teenager. Having panic attacks in the courtyard of my middle school. Everyone staring at me, what’s wrong with her? I wasn’t medicated at the time. My anxiety and stress, which provoked the attacks, came more from what I was going through at home, before and after school.
Anxiety is future prone, I know that now that I’m in my late thirty’s. Never before could I pinpoint exactly the origin of my anxiety. I always blamed it on school so as not to anger my mom even more. My mom was stressed out most of the time. A single mom of 3 kids, one income household, work, clean, laundry, kids, the works…
Mom always elicited a superwoman attitude, often times annoyed and left best alone. She just always kept going. There was zero room for complaining. Mom made it clear that, in life, no one does shit for you so figure it out. Be independent. Depend on no man. Those were her words of inspiration.
While it sounds badass, as it did to me hearing it as a teen, it’s not reality. Courtesy of repetition and mentality reform, I am now under therapy to essentially retrain my brain. There isn’t anything wrong about what my mom did because she didn’t know any better. The problem is, reality doesn’t work like that.
For example, my marriage has lasted 14 years so far. If I were to think like my mom did, I’d be single raising my boys on my own working multiple jobs. There is nothing wrong with that, but I love my husband. I’m okay sharing multiple income, I’m okay admitting when I’m wrong, I’m okay with not getting everything done in one day, I don’t need to yell every five seconds to feel productive, I don’t need three jobs, do you see where I’m going?
Anxiety is future prone. I get anxious because I am used to doing things one way, the way my mom taught me. I don’t have to though. This creates problems in real life for me. A natural defensive demeanor, assumption city girl, and don’t get me started on my RBF!
Retraining your brain isn’t bad. It has helped me cool off and accept that I just have to relearn some stuff. Instead of jumping into fight or flight all the time, I need to better at chilling out first and assessing every situation. Learning because I don’t want to hand down the same traits to my kids. We can’t live in survival mode 24/7.
My mental health is something I struggle with daily. Grateful for my gift of writing, I plan to find ways to share pro tips with you, maybe with those who grew up the same way or maybe just find it worthy.
Just breathe… wait breath or breathe… whatever.