When I started writing this, I wanted to angrily scream, “Don’t assume I’m weak! Don’t assume you know what I can do, what I should do, or assume to know what’s best for me! YOU DON’T KNOW ME.”
Anger is a funny thing. And I am glad to be writing this now with a smile at my ridiculous anger. Get a grip, girl!
I’m getting better at taking a breath and a step back. So what if someone has assumed that I’m weak because I share my emotions? So what if they think my anxiety makes me unable to do things when they don’t really know?
I think it takes a great deal of strength to share one’s emotions. To show weakness, to admit to being flawed. Hiding behind anger, fear, and arrogance seems much more cowardly to me.
I speak about anxiety to acknowledge how I used to feel. To help me recognize and act before I let myself get to a point where I’m unable to function.
I talk about it because people need to know that they are not alone. That it’s okay to talk about that heart-thumping, cold-sweat causing, trembling, stomach-churning, horrible feeling.
Introverted, anxious people often feel isolated, alone, and unworthy. Through the internet and writing, we can reach out to one-another.
The internet has opened the world to me. I have found dear and beloved friends I may never meet in person, but I adore. People who I interact with through my phone while I’m out by myself, but I’m never really alone. It’s beautiful, it’s wonderful, and I’m so happy to have them.
Lately, I’ve had anxiety try to creep up on me.
I’ve felt the twinge of worry, and I stop it cold. I tell it to shut the fuck up and go away. And I sit there and marvel at how that cold, prickly sweat doesn’t start. How my heart doesn’t start racing. How the thoughts don’t twist and churn and cycle over the same things over and over again.
How did I reach this point, you might wonder. Those who are stuck in the cycle I know all too well might read this with disgust and disbelief.
It’s not easy to just STOP anxiety. I get it, I really do. But, right now, at this exact moment, I have it under control. It won’t last. This is a lucky phase in the way my body functions and the situation in my life.
It can come back with a vengeance when I forget my vitamins, when my hormones are out of whack, when I’m overstimulated and over tired.
But right now I’m okay.
How did I get here?
I don’t drink alcohol socially anymore. I don’t use it as a crutch, and I don’t use it to escape from my feelings, thoughts, and fears.
I also only go out when I want to. I attend only the events and outings I want to and feel comfortable at. I only spend time with people who don’t make me feel like I need to change for them. I don’t let people push me.
This was a serious problem for me recently. I had people presuming that I just needed to get out more. Because to them, being an extrovert was the only acceptable way to be. I don’t need that pressure.
I am an Autistic woman. I am a chameleon because that is how we learn to survive in the neurotypical world. We hide, we pretend, we try to be what others want us to be because we’ve been told time and time again that how we are naturally isn’t good enough.
My Autism diagnosis has helped me a great deal with my anxiety as well. I had someone confirm that yes, I am different. And that’s ok. I can be my special snowflake self, and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it. I’m not like most people and I don’t have to be.
I read writings by other people with Autism, and I know, I KNOW that I’m not alone. Other people think like me. The ways I think and do things are not strange, bizarre and wrong. They might be strange, bizarre and wrong to a majority of people, but to people like me, I make sense.
Knowing that I’m not bad, wrong, or need to be fixed is the most amazing feeling. I am okay. I’m not perfect. But I’m not broken, and I have a right to live in this world as I am.
There are other things that have helped me reach this place. My family, my husband, my son, and some kick ass people I get to spend time with. Oh, and my job playing with dogs. But I think a huge part is the confidence give to me by knowing that I don’t have to fit the mold.
It sounds cheesy as fuck but, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”