Some people deal with skeletons in the closet. Others are haunted by ghosts. But for us, the ones suffering from anxiety, we need to battle with monsters. This is what anxiety is, a monster that you try to defeat everyday but instead, you end up feeding, nurturing and contemplating thus making him stronger and scarier.
I have had Triggerion for quite a while. Yes I named it. Not because it’s a pet, but because I realized that for now he is not going anywhere and instead of trying to defeat him and making him disappear, what I need to do is try to make him a friend so I can once and for all stop fearing him. Because that is the real issue. The more you fear the monster the bigger it gets. I also name it because as a fantasy writer, by making him a character of my story it can help me to become the hero I need to be in my life.
As I understand my journey and why this is happening to me, I came to the realization that I had suffered from anxiety all my life. When I was a kid I had the same dizziness spells and even fainted sometimes, and the doctors couldn’t find anything physical affecting me. I grew up and those dizziness spells disappeared like magic. Later while I was in college I got insomnia and I struggled with that for years. Then a few years after I first came to the U.S. I started with the dizziness spells again, and I was diagnosed with anxiety. And I though I defeated the monster 10 years ago when after months of treatment I felt perfectly fine for years, until Triggerion appeared again out of nowhere.
Now he follows me wherever I go. The majority of times he is invisible, but suddenly decides to appear no matter what I am doing. I can be taking a shower, driving, working out or even sleeping. And since it seems that for now I can’t make him go away, I realized I need to find a way to deal with his presence. Also, it’s so difficult to find a therapist with availability and that my insurance covers, until I can find one I am trying everything: exercise, oils, herbal medicine, meditation, books… no pills though (I will address this point in a future post.)
However, I had very bad days, like yesterday… I was driving with my 6yo daughter, on my way to pick up my other child from school. Apparently, I have now an issue with crossing bridges, and if you know Jacksonville, FL, this can be a really big problem because most likely if you drive you HAVE to cross a bridge. I got so dizzy while I was driving over an inter coastal bridge and I don’t know how I got the strength to drive and pass it over and stopped in a gas station. When I was about to pass out I told my daughter she should ask for help and she did, but the poor thing was so scared it broke my heart into million pieces. Paramedics came and of course, same story as always: this is nothing, just a very powerful and scary anxiety attack. However they were very kind, as so were the people that helped my daughter in the gas station. I couldn’t be more grateful for such kindness and gives me hope. They stayed with me until I recovered and then I managed to pick my son up and went home safe and sound with my two kids. But inside I was broken, because I caused this stress on my daughter. She is only 6. I felt so powerless and guilty, so out of control. At the same time, this little resilient girl managed to calm down in seconds, ask for help and even got to comfort me. That made me proud as hell. She is teaching me courage. So I will have to get courage to stop fearing Triggerion.
Aside from continuing treatment, when he appears I will have to flip him off. Yes, that’s right. I am going to tell him go ahead, you can hit me but fuck off. I am not going to stop living because of you. Follow me however you want, I am not going anywhere. By me refusing to hide, or completely stop doing the things that I love the most just for the fear of my anxiety monster, I am taking his powers away. If I know one thing FOR SURE is that he CAN’T KILL ME. So I will continue running even if I get dizzy. I will continue crossing bridges and enjoying being with my kids, and if I faint what the hell, I will recover. If I have to call the paramedics back, I will! There is no shame in that. I can’t feel ashamed for asking help. I will continue watching movies with my husband, hanging out with friends and family, I need to stop fearing his presence, and one day Triggerion will stop scaring the shit out of me. He will be there, for sure as he always had been, but he will not bother me. I will turn him into my own Jiminy Cricket. Jimmy Triggerion.
I realized I have to face him and it’s a lonely battle. Even though I need sometimes somebody to talk to when I have these episodes, in the end I am my only superhero. Nobody is going to rescue me. I can have sidekicks, you know, a Robin, a Chewbacca, or I can have my prince charming kissing me at the end of the day, but none of them are going to defeat Triggerion for me. Yes, my family gives me the most motivation to recover. But I know they can’t make my monster disappear.
So hear me up Triggerion, you can come back as many times you want. I am getting stronger everyday and I will find a way to make you my friend. I am not here to defeat you but to defeat the fear of you. And I can and I will, you’ll see…
P.S. I want to give special thanks to the people in the Anxiety Support Group on Facebook. Thanks for all the kind words.