impending birthday dread.

Up until 2013, I loved my birthday, and everything about it. I would make everything a huge birthday bash, and usually would have a pretty good turn out. Since 2013, I still stay very busy around my birthday.. but unfortunately, since then, the birthday excitement is also accompanied by impending birthday dread.

It’s not just the getting older. That’s life, and it kinda sucks, and I do feel a little closer to dying alone every year… but it really boils down to my mom. I’ve written about this before, but my mom made a big fuss about everything holiday and birthday related. She always went over the top for any kinds of celebrations. It was annoying sometimes, but it also made things special. Especially birthdays. It felt like someone was always celebrating you.

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I’ve mentioned my anxiety maybe once or twice already on this blog… I think. Over the past year or so, my anxiety has peaked, but this has caused me to come to terms with it and recognize where it comes from. Now, when I say “anxiety,” I am not talking about that normal, anxious feeling that everyone gets when they’re stressed out. I’m talking about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It’s a thing, people!

I was only recently diagnosed with GAD after a series of really bad panic attacks. By the way, if you haven’t had a panic attack before, that shit is terrifying. Heart racing, sweating, blacking out and running halfway across your house before you realize what’s going on.. it’s scary. After talking to a counselor and finally a doctor, they confirmed that what I’ve always thought of as a high strung, super Type-A personality was in fact signs of having GAD. A LOT of things finally clicked.

Since then, I’ve worked really hard to recognize what causes my anxiety to peak, and deal with it however I can. I am often attacked by what I call the “Anxiety Monster.” This is when my brain decides, “Know what? Fuck reason, we are going this way today!” And I decide that the person who hasn’t responded lately has probably been abducted. That pain in my side is clearly a deadly condition. And, yeah, my curling iron was probably left on and will inevitably burn the house down.

Also a note here, it is extremely hard to have strong interpersonal relationships when you struggle every day with anxiety. Listen up: if you have anyone in your life that wrestles with this, understand that is really something that is hard to overcome, and while it may be almost impossible for people without anxiety to understand… try. It means the world when you do. I’ve tried to start showing people I care about that I appreciate when they try to understand, or make concessions when they know the monster is rearing it’s ugly head.

While I don’t think that this is ever something that can be “beaten,” I do think I am making some progress. I’m trying to be better at communicating how my brain works (which, even I don’t understand half the time) with the people I care about to maintain friendships and relationships. I’ll keep working at it and make sure I keep the people in my life that are willing to understand and meet me somewhere in between.

Until next time, please excuse me while I make sure my flat iron is unplugged.

xoxo, Tempest.