*This post was written in 2017.
Anxiety can completely consume you. It can make you sick to your stomach. It can make you feel so alone. The crazy thing is that so many of us deal with it regularly, but everyone deals with it differently and for different reasons.
I'm not a specialist on this in any way so my words will strictly be from my own personal experience.
I decided to write this post because I wanted to share more of my personal journey and experience. I wanted to particularly share my experience with anxiety. Thanks to anxiety, my tough times seemed even worse at times.
Throughout my life I have dealt mostly with social anxiety. If you knew me 10 plus years ago during my high school years, you probably knew me as a very quiet kid who barely spoke to anyone. I was afraid of making new friends and I was afraid of being judged.
Ultimately, I was afraid of who I really was. Throughout high school I knew I was gay, but the thought of anyone else knowing was unimaginable.
I lived in complete fear. I was constantly worried about the "what ifs." I always thought about what if they could tell, what if they found out, and worse, what if they already knew.
Being silent became normal to me. Towards the end of high school I actually didn't have much anxiety. I adjusted to the fact that I didn't socialize and everyone around me had accepted the fact that I wasn't going to talk to them. I was going through life on autopilot. I was emotionless and numb.
By college I had become so detached from who I really was that I almost forgot who I really was. If that makes any sense. I started to live my life as if I was straight. Throughout college I actually thought about my sexuality rarely. It was in the far back of my mind.
After college, I thought about my future with my then personality and the idea was terrifying. There was nothing.
I soon realized that I needed to make drastic changes in my life. As a result, my anxiety became a thousand times worse than before. Coming to the realization that you need to make necessary changes in your life is tough enough, but actually acting on it is something else entirely.
Over the past several years I have taken necessary steps to get back on my journey and path in life. I've come out as gay, started chasing my dreams and started using every day to better myself.
This all sounds great, and it is, but this all hasn't come without some serious anxiety. I've had anxiety attacks that have almost caused me to blacked out. I've had sleepless nights. I've cried by myself at 2 o'clock in the morning. I've paced back and forth stewing about everything and anything. My overthinking has interfered in my life so many times now that I have lost count.
For me, the struggle is real and the truth is that it will always be there. The trick is being ok with that and just fighting through it knowing that everything will be ok.
Anxiety will always be apart of my life. The reward for fighting through it and facing my fears is far greater than anything that anxiety will bring me. I fully recognize that I'm a work in progress and that one day I will get to where I want to be. I'm still very awkward and shy around people I don't know. I still close up in large crowds. But I'm better than I was and I will continue to get better.
As I continue to tear down walls in my life, I continue to grow and become stronger as a person. I know everyone has a different journey and I know that not everyone's journey is easy. My journey definitely has not been. I've been knocked down many times, but I get back up every time even stronger than before. It has become a part of who I am.
I know life can be tough. I know life can throw you some real curve balls, but if you keep fighting anything is possible. If you want to change your life, you can. If you want to be happy, you can. Just believe in yourself and take a deep breath because everything will work out better than ok.
Kevin Gatti - 08.02.2017
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