IGBOK*

This past weekend a family friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in awhile said, “So it looks like San Francisco is one big party from all of your photos!” That statement is both true and false. True: yes, San Francisco is very fun. There’s so many reasons I love living here but one of them is because of all of the random days of the year that I get to dress up, wear a wig, and hit the streets dressed like a fool. False: I don’t really like to actually party.

It made me think about the person you see online and who I really am. And I like to think that I’m not all that different from what people see and how I act in real life: I’m weird and crazy, I love to talk to strangers, I am obsessed with mostly all dogs/puppies, I eat Taco Bell on the reg, I make out with boys on the street, I normally am asleep before 11pm, I spend my weekends waking up early and cooking breakfast, and I really DO love Justin Bieber.

But there’s a lot I still want people to know about this person they see online and how I act with people I’m close to. I’ve spent the last few years of my life figuring out who I want to be and how to connect with people I meet and I finally feel like I’ve got it down. It can still take me awhile to really open up to people I don’t know very well, but I guess that’s normal for everyone.

Sometimes I just want to be “normal.” My friend gave me a bracelet for my birthday last year to remind me that “Normal Sux.” I want to be normal so I don’t feel this anxiety I have had for the last couple of years.

I started to notice my anxiety as I watched my uncle Jeremy get sicker with cancer, and I started to link his health and my own together, something irrational and bizarre that I can’t exactly explain. It’s been hard to manage and I frequently find myself frustrated when I’m in moments of darkness because I so badly want to slap myself out of it but can’t. I know how hard it’s been for my family and friends who also want to help me but don’t know how – and there’s not much really anyone can do. The only way for me to really explain an anxiety attack is imagining the one thing you’re afraid of dying from most all of a sudden taking hold of your body and making you believe that that’s exactly how you’re going to die in the next five minutes. For example, if you were deathly afraid of a fork stabbing you and you killing you, you might suddenly experience sharp pains that cause you to believe that you are in fact dying. Or at least I know that’s what happens to me (although I’m not afraid of forks).

My anxiety has become something I have to deal with, and I’ve had to change a lot about myself in order to help minimize it. I’m not sure it will ever go away, but I try and work hard to find new ways of keeping the anxiety attacks at bay so I can still enjoy my life. There have been times when I’ve had to opt-out of plans or fun activities simply because I couldn’t function with my anxiety. I’ve had to cut back on drinking a lot, since that fuels it. It’s hard not to drink, especially at this age when people always want to “get drinks” or dates involve “dinner and drinks.” My life doesn’t revolve around alcohol, but I do enjoy it. (So, in reference to the “party” comment above, no, I can’t really do that frequently).

I have had a hard time telling people about my anxiety because I am ashamed of it. I’m ashamed at how irrational it is and how I have to do things differently than other people. Sometimes, I’ve felt like I need an excuse as to why I can’t do what everyone else is doing. It’s hard for me to say “no.” But I’m learning every day.

So this is me, for real and true, and I’m putting it all over the world wide web for everyone to read, just in case you didn’t believe my Facebook persona. I’m still the same Crazysash, just taking life one day at a time.

*IGBOK stands for It’s Gonna Be OK. A sticker my best friend gave me awhile ago to put on my mirror to remind myself that it really IS gonna be ok.

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