Anxiety

Dear Child(ren),

Your Dad and Mom suffer from anxiety. Though mine hasn’t been diagnosed yet I can assure you that my assumption is not based on simply reading Web MD and saying “oh I probably have that!” Instead, my assumption is based on the cultivation of years of supporting evidence. Through the inexplicable difficulty I put on simple social interactions to the obsessive physical traits such as tapping my feet at an obnoxiously quick pace it has been clear for a long time that there has been some level of anxiety in my life.

Why then, if I have had these symptoms for years, am I only acknowledging it now? Why am I only now planning to see a doctor in hopes of helping me? I’m afraid. I’m afraid that this is just a stepping stone into further mental issues like my mother, I’m afraid of being on pills and having everything that I am nothing but the product of medication, I’m afraid of not being strong enough to control my own health. Most of all I am afraid that it won’t help.

For years in my childhood and teen years I associated any feelings of stress and depression I had on feeling alone and feeling trapped. I associated my loneliness with my unhappiness because I thought love would fix me. I thought having a partner would fix me. I understand this a little bit better now. I did not feel loved. Not for myself, not for the person I really was because the person I really was was not accepted. I felt alone because I felt like nobody could possibly understand me (a common theme amongst teenagers) and because I was born in a home where there were rules for who you could be and who you couldn’t.

I may not have been hiding anything as overwhelming as my orientation but feeling like you have to hide any part of your true identity is damaging. Feeling like the love you are receiving is conditional is torture. I believed fully that falling in love with someone who would see me as I was, the diamond in the rough, would fix absolutely everything.

So I met your mom. Let me tell you, it seemed that I was right. For a very, very long time so much of my life changed for the better. It wasn’t just falling in love, I started to grow and make choices for myself cutting out the poisonous parts of my life that had been a source of pain for years. I started to become an adult in the sense of having independence and having freedom. Your mom was a large part of this equation, make no mistake about it. She accepted me more thoroughly than anyone ever had before and made me understand, for possibly the first time in my life, that I was actually worth a lot and that I was a great person. I was happier than I had ever been.

What changed then? Let me tell you something I’ve only recently realized about depression and anxiety; it isn’t until you have nothing left to point any fingers at, when you have everything you need to be happy but you still struggle so much so regularly that you finally realize how much help you really need.

Sure, there were lots of instances where it was clear that I had some unresolved issues and I even attempted counselling (online) a few times. The problem was that I always had something to point a finger at. There was always something wrong for me to be unhappy about that I could associate my current problems with.

Until one day there wasn’t anymore. Your mother and I, we were happy. Really happy, thoroughly happy without any real issues in our life anymore and I was still struggling with both happiness and anxiety.

It hit me hard today kid(s). It hit me like a brick that I needed help; that there is something very real wrong with me. The world gets too loud, too bright and too overwhelming sometimes and I can’t calm it down. I can’t focus. I can’t stay happy for a full day. There are things I know in my life that I need to change and, yes, they will contribute to any situational depression/anxiety I may have and that will be a great weight off of my shoulders, but as for anything clinical…I can’t deny anymore that I need help and I can’t let fear stop me from helping myself.

I hope so dearly that I am able to right the ship before you come into the picture and I hope even more that you don’t suffer from the same problems, but you may. Just know that if it ever happens, you have two parents that will understand and will be ready to support you in whatever way you need to help you get through it.

Love you always,

Dad

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