Even though I have only known to call the thing that has always set me apart from this world as ANXIETY for about three years now, I remember feeling the overcasting shadow of fear creeping over my life, easing its way into my mind. Anxiety planted its seeds deep in my mind only to find it setting its roots deeper and deeper, and soon those mortifying thoughts instilled in my head began to evolve into physical weight pressed upon my neck as if I were forced to carry the weight of the world upon my shoulders. It left me trembling at times, sending paralyzing shockwaves throughout my body with exceeding pressure on my chest and throat. I felt as though my lungs were utterly constricted by the invisible lingering pressure of the fear that anxiety instilled on my life. I just never knew what to call it or what it was.
I felt like an alien trying to figure out how to act human, as I always second guessed every step I took, every word I would say, the way I would breath or sat in a room as if everyone’s eyes were always on me. I remember writing about it in my journals and researching of ways to act more normal as if there was some sort of Special formula or recipe.
Breathe (Most of the time?)…✓
Img. By Vanessa Casas
The more I remember the more I realize how far back in my life my anxiety began.
The first day of Kindergarten was the first day of many years of little V crying every morning before school for many years. I remember my mom crying with me out of frustration because she didn’t understand why I cried so much. I didn’t understand either; all I knew was that I always felt this massive weight pulling me down, and I could only unwind and felt at ease next to my mom.
I remember sleepless nights from stomachaches. Many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners uneaten, out of the fear or pressure asserted by others to eat. This resulted in me eating in separate rooms, or at a different time than everyone else.
I remember not knowing how to begin a conversation with other kids my age, which alienated me and made it that much harder to make friends.
To be honest, I remember my parents having many hardships with me, but they just always thought I was just a shy/nervous girl. And yet to the day, for those who don’t comprehend my anxiety, it is what everyone still thinks of me—Vanessa is a SHY GIRL.
That’s who I became—I’m a shy girl became my excuse for the way I was, and my shyness became my diagnosis for most of my life.
1. Nervous or timid in the company of other people.
‘I was pretty shy at school.’
1.1. Shy of/about Slow or reluctant to do (something)
‘the wealthy have become less shy of displaying their privilege’
1.2. in combination Having a dislike of or aversion to a specified thing.
‘he was very car shy when he came here’
1.3. (of a wi
ld mammal or bird) reluctant to remain in sight of humans.
‘otters are very shy animals’
Sourced from: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/shy
Of the latter, I coincided the most with the last definition: (of a wild mammal or bird) reluctant to remain in sight of humans.
And I’m not a mammal or a bird, so what was wrong with me? Why was I reluctant to hide from others?
I fell into every category of the definition of Shy, yet I still didn’t understand it. Why was I shy even if I didn’t want to? What was this fear holding me back?
Even though my way of being was under Shy in the definition, one thing that I still couldn’t figure out was the feeling of feeling intimidated, pressured, judged, but most of all, the fear of what EVERYONE thought of me.
I felt incomplete and dismantled, yet I somehow managed to live an acting role in my own life as the shy girl, smiling as much as I could, answering questions with the upmost respect and professionalism as to not give anyone suspicion that I am in anyway weird or different. To be honest I believed myself to be the best Shy girl out there, and that kept me content (mostly).
To My son Leo,
You are already braver than your mama
for you jump from higher places
and run at faster paces.
Your are already stronger than your mama
for you lift things higher,
and get up faster,
You are already better than your mama
for you are everything your mama wants to be.
A Shy mama
Shy | Definition of shy in English by Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/shy