I looked across the street, and she was there, talking with a neighbour about nothing important, and I felt nothing. I went back into the house, grabbed some more plants for the boot of my car and went back, to see the conversation had ended and she was walking into the house. I had 1 second to make a decision or it would be too late…
A big part of my anxiety, not only recently but when growing up, was partly fuelled by the instability and dis functional relationship I had with my father and his side of the family. They’re not bad people, in fact in many ways they’re good people, but in the heart of most of them is a need for drama, an urge to belittle and a desire to hurt people, and over the years this grew more personal and branched into my close family – my mum and my sister.
At the point my anxiety came to the surface and became life changing, they were very much involved. My sister became the focus of their attention, spewing bile in Facebook, calling her awful names about both her personality and physical appearance. I didn’t fully disconnect with the family but took a step back and informed them why, showing solidarity with my sister (my mum on the other hand was going crazy with rage and wanted to fight all of them, which we managed to calm her out of…). My grandma, the ‘head’ of the family if you like, took the decision to cut off all contact with me – and I’ll be honest, it was quite a relief.
Since then there had been no contact. They live across the road from my mum, but defiantly we stood up for ourselves, heads raised and went about or lives knowing they didn’t have a clue what was happening – and it was beautiful. 2 years rolled by and my girlfriend and I bought a house, meaning I could move away from it once and for all. It was so freeing, I felt elated and weight had lifted. I was free.
Since then I’ve worked on my anxiety and me as a person.
As a child I was a pushover. Although my stubborn nature has always been at the surface, I would ‘keep the peace’ and brush things aside, keeping myself guarded and focusing on things that didn’t really matter. I would be defensive about things that didn’t matter, and compete to meet their requirements of success. This all changed, however, when anxiety decided to play a part in my life.
I find it incredible how, when anxiety stripped everything back and reduced me to my bare minimum, how important, and unimportant, things become.
I no longer care, materialistically, what I have. I don’t care what money I earn. I don’t focus my energy around negative people because it’s what I should do.
What matters is my happiness, life experiences, time with people who enrich my life, doing things that make me happy such as cooling beautiful food, going incredible places and seeing stunning sights.
This new person that I appear to be, no longer worries about family that cause me pain. I no longer worry whether they’ll try and find out where I live because I don’t have to tell them. I don’t care if they think I earn a lot of money or not. I live comfortable, in a lovely house with my beautiful girlfriend and we live within our means, and that’s enough. I don’t care what they’ll write on Facebook, or how they’ll try to embarrass me with stories from my childhood, I just don’t care anymore. That anxiety has gone, it’s moved to other things, and in its place is the same stubborn guy with more toys and empathy towards the things that matter.
Most recently we’ve communicated on Facebook at her request, it’s been light and not too intense which is a start. She recently asked us to visit after our holiday and I agreed.
So as I looked across the street, at my old grandma that I haven’t spoken to in 4 years, I had 1 second to decide whether I was prepared to do it. I had a decision, I can either talk to her or continue my life wondering. ‘Hi Nana!’ Left my mouth. No anxiety. No fear.
I am finally at peace. They can’t hurt me anymore, because I won’t let them.
She’s still the same, still negative, still materialistic, still bragging about my dad (that’s another story). But I didn’t care. I nodded, smiled, and realised how different I am. I’m not the same person anymore.
Life is positive, I’m content, I’m stronger, I’m moving forward. Whether they’re a part of my life or not doesn’t really matter to me. It feels incredible.