Me, Myself, and Ed:  transitioning to me, myself, and i

 

Anxiety has been no stranger to my life; in fact, I would go so far as to say it was the way of life I was brought into.  I place no blame.  It's just the way things were.

I was born the second daughter of three.  Children aside, my parents would never be defined as calm people.  Throw three daughters to the mix, and I guess there is a naturally heightened sense of anxiety.  Give the oldest and youngest daughters chronic metabolic conditions that leave them both mentally and physically disabled with seizure disorders, and a predisposition to frequent potentially fatal hospitalizations, and a family in perpetual crisis is born.

In retrospect, I certainly would say I was an anxious child.  I didn't eat often and I was (eh-hem, still am) a nail biter.  Growing up however, I don't think I really became aware of my anxiety until I had my first panic attack at 17.  And even then, I still was unable to associate the source of my triggers.  While I understood I grew up in an atypical family--my sisters just scratching the surface--I never linked that to my own anxiety.  I thought I had adapted to my home environment and that the source of my anxiousness lay elsewhere.

At this point in my life, as a licensed social worker, I am almost embarrassed to write this.  In painting this most vague outline of my family's anxiety-ridden backbone, the source of my own anxiousness seems so clear.  But from family drama, to teenage hormones, to battling personal psychosocial crisis, the straightforwardness of my anxious tendencies was really very blurred.  And it wasn't until my early twenties, when my anxiety presented itself as an eating disorder, that I really began to understand my nervous roots and the very large part that they play, and will continue to play, in my life.

Fortunately, anxiety is just a state; and states can be altered.