I decided to do a little digging and wok on figuring out when my anxiety started to kick up, when I first started to feel like this. And I’ve started to pinpoint some of the earliest memories.
The earliest memories that I’ve got of feeling like this is from kindergarten. I went to school three days week for class and spent the other two hanging out with my mom who worked in the office. I was in a class of five and knew three of the four other girls because my brothers went to school with their older siblings. One of the other girls was around school for the morning with her mom. I asked her if she wanted to play with me that day. I told her she should ask her mom if I could come over. I don’t know if her mom just thought I should come hang out with her or if her mom overheard me telling my “friend” to ask her mom if I could come over. But her mom asked my mom if I could go over to their house and I did. But she literally cried at the thought of my coming over. She wanted nothing to do with me. She begged her mom not to let me come over. That’s the first time I remember feeling totally unwanted.
I remember the next year or two the kids in my class just didn’t really like me. Sure they tolerated me, but I pretty quickly learned that’s all it was,
I remember when the kids in my Sunday School class started hanging out with the kids they went to school with instead of me. I didn’t take being homeschooled when I was eight very well because even with not really having friends, I did well with other people around.
But the next year I went to a new school, one that several of the kids from church went to, the one a couple of the kids I had gone to school with went to. I didn’t realize it right away, but once again no one was a big fan of this girl. I was too outspoken, too smart, too… me. I got a lot of crap for it. And my brothers were getting a little older and were mean because I was their little sister and they could. But the kids at school got to be cruel, bad enough that my parents pulled me out halfway through the year. So I transferred schools. It was okay at the new school. People were okay. Nothing great, nothing bad.
Fifth and sixth grade was rough. Again people decided that I was too much me. I was the butt of a lot of jokes. Once again people that I thought were friends thought it was hilarious when some kid pulled my chair out from under me in the middle of class. It’s also when I realized that adults aren’t so brilliant. None of the kids ever got in trouble.
Until I did something about it. Unfortunately I got in trouble for it. But I at least figured out that I could defend myself. But then I figured out that separating myself from them entirely seemed to help more than anything. They can’t hurt you if you don’t let them in. People can’t hurt you if you don’t let them.
From my 13th to 18th birthday I went to a small school where I never bothered to really make friends. I tried but no one was interested. By the time I figured out that I was better just not trying, they helped make sure I understood I wasn’t wanted.
I went to college and thought things had started to change. I thought they were getting better. I became friends with several people. But I made the mistake of trusting them. And once again they let me down.
I don’t write this to feel bad for myself or to get people to feel bad for me. I write this to let you know that while yes, my anxiety is partially genetic, it runs in the family, but there’s more to it than that. Life does it to you. No, none of these instances single-handedly caused the anxiety. It has definitely been a product of both genetics and circumstances. No single thing causes anxiety or depression. And I think we forget that. We want to blame someone or something. We want to understand why we feel this way, why our life has lead to this. We want to know what started this. But the truth is, there is not one thing that causes anxiety or depression. Which also means there is not one thing that fixes it. But there are plenty of things that make it better or worse. So focus on what makes it better. Try to avoid what makes it worse. And as much as possible, trust yourself. Love yourself. Learn to be okay with yourself. Life happens. And sometimes life sucks. But there is always hope. There are always better things to come. There has to be. Just give it time.