How the fear I thought would kill me made me strong

I’ve been afraid most of my life. Afraid of getting in trouble. Afraid of authority figures. Afraid of standing up for myself. That’s what depression and anxiety do. Later I began to be afraid of being afraid, and was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder. At that point, something inside snapped, because now I alternate between being afraid of going to Walmart and feeling like a superhero – sometimes in the same day.

I remember eight years ago, when I lay curled up in a fetal position on my bedroom floor, trying to speak – to make some kind of noise. At first, nothing would come out. Years of self-loathing, depression, and anxiety had convinced me I had no right to a voice. No right to opinions or feelings. No right to even a self.

But I kept trying, and eventually I could say words. Words turned into sentences. Over several years, I convinced myself that every human had a right to survive, and once the dam broke, I started running up to my friends with a goofy smile on my face and yelling “I’m allowed have feelings!” Read More