I’m addicted to being anxious.
Well, maybe addicted is not the right word..
But I think it helps convey the intensity of these feelings.
I cannot fathom not being anxious.
I was anxious as a child. Always feeling different but never able to find someone with a “different” like mine.
I was anxious as a young teen. Still not fitting in quite right. Different masks built and maintained, but the fear of those mask overlapping was terrifying.
And I needed a plan, a plan for what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
I didn’t even know who I was. How the hell was I supposed to know what to do?
Taking care of animals? I liked animals. I could do this right?
But now this choice cost money. My money. Money I didn’t have. Money I couldn’t guarantee I was going to make back.
Failure was not an option.
How could I not be anxious?
And then I failed.
How could I fail?? I failed.
What a failure I was…
But with help I got back up.
This time I COULD NOT FAIL.
So I never even took the time to think, “did I even want this?”
I was so incredibly anxious.
But I made it, I graduated.
During this time I had a taste of the 9-5 of regular practice and the highs and lows of emergency medicine.
I found regular practice boring.
But maybe it was because I wasn’t anxious there.
So I moved to the big city and got a job in emergency medicine.
And man, I was a mess. I made mistakes, had to learn on the fly, I could barely afford rent and I got myself into even more debt.
But I was making friends that were like me! I was beginning to find myself. I was learning and becoming good at this.
I was anxious, but there were good times.
Thus began this anxiety ridden dance of highs and lows. It wasn’t the anxiety that was the problem. I was used to that. I don’t remember not being anxious. The highs were great, the lows? Eh, they were just lows, and they were few and far between.
Until they weren’t.
So I left.
I moved to a different place, but the same type of job.
I mean I was good at it, so maybe this new place would have more highs than lows.
It did, and it didn’t. Again, I made mistakes, but I succeeded as well.
But I missed my community.
They were such a huge part of the highs in my life.
So I went back.
But the job was still the job, I was still anxious and my resilience was wearing thin.
But I had my friends, my community united through blood, sweat, and tears.
They were worth the lows.
But no one could have seen covid coming.
Now the world was anxious, untrusting of anything and everyone.
Isolation was necessary, logical, but at its very core isolating.
My community drifted further and further away. And I drifted even further away.
With nothing to counteract the lows and my anxiety magnified 10 fold by the happenings of the world.
I burned out.
I had nothing left, but my job needed more.
But maybe I could fight to make things better. I could fight for others couldn’t I?
And then it came down to it. Sitting in that office I realized I didn’t want to fight.
I didn’t want to be anxious.
It just wasn’t worth it anymore.
That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
7 years, ending with a piece of paper.
All the tape and glue I was holding myself together with, all undone by a piece of paper.
So here I am, broken, but still breathing.
My heart is still beating, though the hurt still twinges in my chest with reckless abandon.
But I am still here, and I am going to pick up the pieces.
I don’t know how I will put them back together, I honestly cannot imagine what that will look like.
All I know is, I am done with accepting being anxious. I am done being anxiolus.
My addiction to anxiety is at its end.