Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I'm An Imperfect Success Story


"I look at Becca and I see such a success story," my aunt said. I blushed and tears streamed down my cheeks. She's seen me at my most anxious and she's seen me thrive. I guess she would know.

But I never thought I'd be a success story. Some days, I don't even feel like one, even though I was Selectively Mute and came out on the other side.

I remember sitting in a patch of grass at summer camp, anxiously scratching at my own skin so hard that it bled. It was almost time for singing camp songs, and I knew they'd ask me why I wasn't singing. I never sang. I never told them why I couldn't. But they always asked.

I wanted to sing along. I knew all the words. I'd sing at the top of my lungs, alone at home with my mom.

But as soon as I got to camp, surrounded by kids and expected to talk to them, the words got stuck in my throat. I couldn't talk. I couldn't even whisper. How could I sing?

A decade and a half later, I'm in my mid-twenties, running a mental health coaching business with my mom. My inner child is shouting with glee. In her wildest dreams she couldn't have imagined finding her voice and helping other little girls and boys find theirs.

I'm still anxious sometimes. Officially, I have Panic Disorder and OCD. They're largely under control, but some days I wonder, who am I to tell parents how to help their kids? I'm no expert. I'm still a terrified little girl, deep down.

But then I remember the number one thing I learned as that anxious little girl with bloody knees: Persistence. Some days will be hard. Really hard. So hard you'll think you won't survive. But then you will. You'll go home and hug your mom and your hamster, and read a funny book, and think about all the brave things you've done before. And you'll remember that you have all these great things in your life, and all these accomplishments, and you'll think, maybe I really can do this. Maybe I am courageous. I am kicking anxiety's butt. It's not kicking mine.

1 comment:

  1. My social anxiety still remains after my SM. I have obsessive compulsive tendencies but I dont think i may have the actual condition. I dont see negativity as part of my anxiety but I see stuff how it is.
    I was selectively mute 'til junior yr with the help of medications, i came out slowly bit by bit. I told myself i was gonna try and talk but i had to change school's because i didn't want anyone who knew me to know my plan. It would probably be embarrassing. So in my new small school, they still said i was quiet. But i felt like i did change a bit deep inside and to me that was progress. I wasnt talkative either. I talked low. I began to participate.. finally! Medication lowered my anxiety and i began to feel like others. Life isnt easy for us though because i still struggle just to get out of my house because my heart would start racing rapidly. Breathing helps temporarily. I stopped my medications now because i felt like it was damaging my organs for some reason.

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