Happy Shiny People

When I was a little girl my family went on a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We were there for about 7 days, and during those 7 days I got the stomach flu (basically the worst possible time to be sick as a child). It was also the very first time I had an anxiety attack on a bus a few days later.

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Since that day I avoided public places at all costs and surprisingly without much effort, it almost became second nature to avoid situations that I feared would bring on another attack. School was a nightmare, school events or field trips were even worse, busses became an enemy and I can’t even being to tell you how many restaurant bathrooms I’ve laid down on trying to breathe properly while my amazing parents told me “it’s fine we can leave now, the food wasn’t that great anyway”. It was simply easier to avoid things that made me uncomfortable. Which is why I’m sure it surprised the hell outta a lot of people when I decided to pack up and move to New Zealand.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I changed my outlook on my life. Maybe I just woke up one day and clued in to the fact that I’m the one who decides how my life is spent, and that I desperately needed to do more of what made me happy regardless of how ‘uncomfortable’ it made me. And the thought of never leaving simply because my mind was telling me that if I did something horrible would happen, was a terribly claustrophobic thought.

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When I moved to New Zealand I expected it to be hard. I was literally moving to the other side of the world, starting a new job and moving in with a guy I had met 4 months ago (thankfully that last part worked out). And I was right, it was a terrifying experience, just in a way I wasn’t really expecting. Over the last year I had spent the majority of it in a deep anxiety spiral that I thought I would never get out of. It came on so slowly that I didn’t even realised that I had started avoiding things again. I felt like I had no way of controlling it, I had left everything back in Canada. All my safe places were there. I was literally terrified to leave the house most days and would over analyse everything anyone said to me (generally between the hours of 1-4am).

Thankfully, I can say now that things are getting better. I’m dealing with things in a more er, productive way (instead of just avoiding the problem and waiting for it to go away, which for the most part hasn’t worked too well). But I still have the thought in the back of my mind wondering when it’s going to come back again, and when it does how bad it will be then? And even though things are getting better by my standards it certainly doesn’t mean it’s gone.

This post is something I started working on a little over a year ago and never could find it in me to publish it. To be honest I didn’t think anyone would really be interested in knowing how rough the last year was for me. And it wasn’t until I went home for a month in July and people started saying how “awesome” it is to move to another country that I realised they had no idea how horribly lonely and terrifying it was everyday. Over the last year I spent everyday battling my mind telling me I should just stay in bed because the world out there is terrifying and if I leave the house I’m going to die. It wasn’t something I talked very openly about, and that made me feel like I was lying to friends and family about a big part of my life. So here it is. The dark and twisty part of me that’s hard to see over the ‘happy Canadian’ persona I put out into the world.

 

 

9 thoughts on “Happy Shiny People

  1. you are the bravest person I know – I love you and I am so sorry that you have to battle this every day, breaks this mama’s heart, but I know you’ve got this and when you don’t you know how to reach out.
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  2. Hi Laura. I love what your Mom said. Facing this and writing about will help you so much. I’m awed by how much courage you’ve shown. I’ve battled anxiety for about 30 years and seldom go past my comfort zone but when I do, I feel so glad that I’ve done it.( I really should push myself more. ) I have found it to get easier over the years. I still avoid many things most people don’t even have to consider and learned some coping strategies. I, also, go easy on myself and don’t beat myself up over it.
    Love you
    xxxxxxxxxxxxoooooooooooo
    Wanda

  3. Laura, thank you for stepping out your comfort zone with this post. I honour your courage in putting it out in public but mainly your courage in taking on your world every day. Anxiety is that bad roommate that is so difficult to evict. Keep pushing yourself when you can and take care when you need too. Remember that we need to define our own individual boundaries and limits and not measure ourselves against the arbitrary expectations society puts on how we should feel, think and act. Love ❤️ Lesley

  4. Laura, I knew something about your anxiety issues but did not know how bad it truly was. I have suffered with depression (medication thankfully has been doing its job for the most part for the past 3 years) and I know it is hard to tell anyone what you are going through. You are very brave, even on bad days, you’ve got this. Sending you a great big hug and lots of love from your auntie Carol.

  5. Laura you are wise beyond your years, facing your fears shows great strength and determination on your part to be the best “you” you can be . Clearly an inspiration to all who know you and wish you a wonderful life…….hugs

  6. Truly inspiring Laura and every little obstacle gives you strength to overcome the bigger ones. You are blessed in many ways and hopefully that outweighs your fears. Enjoy every day and when we talk about our fears, somehow they become smaller.

  7. Thank you for the beautiful insight into your world. From the outside looking in, you do manage your anxiety well. You are a strong woman, whose willingness to adventure is inspiring.

  8. :You are amazing! Not many young women have the courage to forge ahead when everything inside you screams HIDE! Sharing with my daughter who just moved 900 miles away from us for college! She is brave too, like you! But I know it is a struggle! Thank you for sharing this Laura! Your story will touch many!

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