I truly believe that I was born anxious.
I had serious separation anxiety as a baby up through most of elementary school when I was away from my mom. This lasted for way longer than it should have for a normal child.
As a kid, at least in my experience, I didn’t have the brain capacity to understand my emotions. I couldn’t express my feelings plus I didn’t want to. I thought that what went on in my brain wasn’t normal therefore I didn’t want anybody to know.
I struggled in school socially because of anxiety. I hated being with people I didn’t know, I didn’t like the focus to ever be on me and I always wanted to keep to myself or to my couple friends.
If I was put into a situation that made me anxious, I would cry. At 6 years old I couldn’t explain why I cried so often in school. Saying, “I cried because I didn’t like how everyone was looking at me when the teacher made me stand in front of the class.” never crossed my mind. Also if I said it, I’m not sure anybody would have understood what I really meant.
I remember taking a quiz or I was doing a worksheet in first grade. For some reason it made me upset, maybe I didn’t understand how to complete the sheet, I don’t know. Whatever triggered me made me cry which inspired the girl across from me to announce to the whole class that I was crying. My nightmare of everybody looking at me became a reality which made me cry even more.
When I reflect on being little, I so often think about the struggles that went on in my own head. I try to think about the fun things like my brother and I playing with our Crazy Daisy, going to the beach, eating ice cream and playing Pokemon Blue Version on my Gameboy Color.
I found childhood to be difficult and I think a lot of it has to do with my mental illness. Reflecting as an adult I would describe myself as being uncomfortable in my own skin. I always felt like I was in an itchy sweater that I wished I could take off so I could be anybody else but me.
I think that constant awkwardness was a result of anxiety and depression, two words I didn’t know until I was a teenager.
My awkwardness has decreased as I’ve grown but only in the last couple years have I felt comfortable in my skin. It’s been one long road to accepting myself for who I am.
Fellow Bipolar Writer readers and writers, did you have signs of mental illness as a child? If so, did you understand what was going on in your mind? Did adults around you see that you were struggling?