The fire was a true thought, something that had never happened, yet I made it a big monster in my head. I remember this clearly on a night my parents went out and I stayed home with my grandma. I remember my mom saying “good-bye” and me wanting to scream “no don’t go, what if there’s a fire!” But nothing would come out, I just said “good-bye.” I was very young, maybe six or seven when this happened. I laid on my bed and planned the escape route and how I would get my dogs and my grandma out safely if a fire started. From a very early age my dark imagination took me places that I didn’t understand. I probably should’ve been named “Negative Nelly” because it was rare that good thoughts passed through my head.
I often worried and had anxiety, but learned very early to mask that with a smiley face. I became a daydreamer, this got me through my days at school. I had troubling focusing and sitting through class but no one would have known that. The teacher’s really loved me because I didn’t make a sound and was always pleasant. I was a good little athlete, participated in the Junior Olympics and I was on the school’s jump rope team which was always in first place. Anything I did, I did well. But, my desire to be liked consumed me and I probably tried way harder than I should have to make friends with certain kids. That was my biggest fear, not being liked. If I wasn’t liked then what good was I?
Fifth grade brought my first encounter with being shunned by other kids. It wasn’t really bullying, but rather I was all out blacklisted from my entire class? I didn’t want to go to school, I went from having friends to none of those “friends” talking to me. No one would have known unless my mom had figured it out. I never would’ve told anyone. I didn’t even know why they were doing this. By fifth grade I had already bubble wrapped my feelings to be shared only with myself and my diary. It wasn’t until my mom asked me to make a list of the girls I wanted to invite to my 10th birthday party, and most of the girls who were my “friends” were not on that list.
My fear grew into just plain fear of people and anything else. It’s taken many years to realize my fear was of people, places, and things!! All of it, like a scared little mouse. I feared making my own decisions because surely they’d be the wrong ones. I rarely said “you can do this.” My self talk was my worst enemy. Anxiety caused me to have a physical reaction to my way of thinking and I would shut down completely. This only got worse as I got older. The remorse I felt when these episodes would happen was great. These episodes caused me to walk off jobs and never go back, run away from home, skip school, and ultimately find my escape into the world of addiction.
“Recovery is not where we arrive, but rather a state of being”…….JeanIrvin