Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cleaning Out My Closet


It's Wednesday and therefore - it's I'm Cleaning Out My Closet Day over at FTLOB

I have a few things I need to throw out...

This blog is still new but I want to share with you something that I have been needing to get out for quite some time. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with depression and anxiety. I recall my first panic attack - it was in the 8th grade. In band class when I had to recite the scales on my saxophone in front of the entire 8th grade band. I had been first chair saxophonist the entire year but I lost it that day. It wasn't that I didn't know the scales. I'm not sure what it was - but I ran out of the room crying. I freaked. 

My next major panic attack came in high school gym class - 9th grade. I'm not sure what we were doing - or supposed to be doing. It's all a bit of a blur now. But whatever it was we were doing, we hadn't even started it yet. I was sitting in the bleachers listening to the gym teacher explain the activity to us and my chest began to tighten. I couldn't breathe, I thought I was having a heart attack. I went home from school and slept for the remainder of the day. I'm sure many factors contributed to this. I was fatter than all my peers, I've hated to exercise since day 1, I'm sure she was going to have us do something one at a time in front of the entire class and I HATE being the center of attention. I avoid it like the plague. It invites criticism. I already know my faults. I don't need to hear everyone else tell me what they are. 

There were days - especially after traumatic events such as the gym & band class incident - that I simply wouldn't get up and go to school. I ended up quitting high school after the 10th grade when the panic attacks in Algebra class started getting out of hand. I didn't feel like I fit in. I didn't feel like anyone related to me. I was overweight - but I don't really think that had much to do with my decision. I had plenty of friends. No one was ever cruel to me. At least not my face. I loved my friends. But I had no interest in hanging out with them. I lost the will to care. What do you do when you no longer have the ability to care anymore? 

After this my mother sent me to my doctor - who put me on anti-depressants. We were hard core Mormons you see - and Mormons must live up to ridiculous expectations forced upon them by the religion. If you don't, well then you aren't a good Mormon. You've "gone astray". You become their "outreach attempts" because they want to "bring you back into the fold". And being labeled a bad Mormon might quite possibly be the worst thing EVER for a devout Mormon woman. No one would want to marry you. As teenagers we used to giggle about those poor 25 year old women who couldn't find a man to marry them. Bless their poor souls...  But Mormonism is a completely different subject I'll share with you another day. For now, suffice it to say that I'm out of Mormonism and working on fixing the damage they did to my head.

Back to the happy pills... They worked for a short period of time. During that time I worked at a local farm back home in Georgia. I was a grunt basically and shoveling shit was the last straw. What am I shoveling shit for? So I quit that job and went to work at a Veterinarian's office. This was my first lesson in the "real world" as I was fired a few months in for telling some lady that the doctor didn't know what was wrong with her cat yet. Well.... he didn't! So then I found myself 16 years old, fired and heartbroken.

As a child and teenager I'd spent a lot of time riding and showing horses. I loved it - though I was flaky about it and would drift between being a hardcore work til the sun goes down horse person, to not wanting to do it at all. As my life has progressed I've noticed that I do this with other things as well. I am hardcore into a hobby for a while - so much so that it consumes my entire life. Then I want nothing to do with it anymore. I thought that I wanted to be a horse trainer so I moved to South Florida and got a great job with a ritzy Arabian horse farm. Dream come true right? I'd do anything to be there & I was.

But with a verbally abusive slave driver of a boss - who constantly told me I was never going to succeed in the business - the panic attacks quickly started returning in full force. I worked from 6 am to sometimes 11pm. I came home at night and fell asleep on the couch with my boots on - literally - on several occasions. I love training Arabian horses. I was passionate about it. But I left South Florida at 18 because I couldn't see spending the remainder of my days working my ass off from dawn until dusk and then crashing on the couch with my boots on because I literally didn't have the energy to walk any further. Then I'd wake up the next morning and have to do it all over again, still sore from the day before. My feet were constantly hurting and no amount of gel inserts made any kind of difference. 

I still deeply love riding, training and showing Arabian horses. I just won't do it. The epic-ness of that past failure still weighs heavily on my mind. I made a conscious decision to quit. It was a decision that I struggled with for a while before I made it. I wanted to have a family (the Mormon mentality still telling me that I was inadequate if I did not have one), that life would never allow me to have a family. Here I am at 31 years old and I still have no family. So.... yah. That's one aspect of the Mormon religion that I haven't been able to shake. Do I REALLY want to get married and have children, or is it because I was told that was what I wanted from day one? I'd love to be somebody's mommy. I don't know if it will ever happen. When it comes to romantic relationships my failures are of even more epic proportions. I have no interest at this point in making myself vulnerable to another person. Perhaps that why I wanted to start this blog - I need to give that up. 

So from there I started my foray into college life. I started at Tech School back in Georgia - then I decided I must need to move to Utah to find a husband. Heaven forbid, I was 19 years old and I still hadn't even had a "real date". So out to Utah I go... enrolled for a semester at a community college not far from where my sister was attending BYU. Lived in the Mormon bubble for a while. But I was still miserable. I still wanted to sleep all day. I still had to fake my way through everything. I went back home to Georgia. I enrolled in community college there. I was always a good student. Always made straight A's. But I still haven't finished my Bachelor's degree. I'm working on it. That was when I quit church completely. I don't regret that decision. I quit school again and worked as a nanny for several years. Then I went back to school. I enrolled at the local University, Albany State University. I majored in Psychology. Not so much to help people, I'm not so proud to admit... But to figure out what the FUCK is wrong with me. I still don't know... My experience there was... interesting. My mindset is so completely different from everyone else's - I just don't understand how other people do and say the things they do and say... That's hard for me to explain... 

Then I moved to Arizona. I have to say that things have improved since I came here - in some areas. Opportunities mostly...( that I fail to make the best out of anyway) I didn't intend to stay here but what the hell... The only thing back there were my friends. Not that I don't miss them - I do.

I was still trying to get this person out who stays so hidden. Something is holding her in. Something is stopping her. I know who I want to be - but its almost as if I have a debilitating disease that is keeping me from achieving the goals I want to achieve in life. The past two years have been the peak of my anxiety issues. I'm not really depressed... but if I had to choose between sitting at home alone and going out with my best friends - people whom I adore... I'd rather stay at home in bed. I could sleep all day long. I avoid people at all costs. I'm on depression and anxiety meds. But I still want no contact with the outside world. When I am with other people I don't feel normal. I feel like I'm being a fake. I'm sick all the time. Sick to my stomach, migraines, excessive fatigue, cough, muscle aches, heel spurs, you name it. If I spend a day shopping I won't have the energy to do anything the next day. I've been doing some research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I must say... if I don't have that, then my name is Sally. And my name ain't Sally...


  1. Wow - what an interesting story. I'm so sorry that you feel this way, and glad things have improved since your move to Arizona. I hope that you can find a way to let the real you out and achieve all the things you want to achieve.

    Thank for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  2. really loved the honesty in ur writing.. u truly r a belle of the desert :)


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