Where does my anxiety come from? That's a question I've been asking my self over the past few years and I may have an answer. In order to find it though, I need to go back to the 80s when I was a kid. Let's retrace some steps.
I was born in 1982 and back then, we waited on new TV show episodes for a whole week, I vividly remember anxiously waiting for the new Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes only to have it be an episode I didn't enjoy and then have to wait another six whole days until the next one aired! I would wish, why can't I just have the whole season right now?
When I was older, I would have to walk over to my wall and pull down the 1989 encyclopedia and look up facts about the world. But either it wasn't there at all or the country didn't exist. Why was Russia called the Soviet Union? Why were there two Germany's? How old was this book anyway?
There were cables on phones, no TV remote controls, paper maps, black and green screen computers, and the only way you were able to know a recipe was asking your mom or grandma for their secrets. We wanted it faster and we KNEW that when we grew up, it was going to be better. And you know what? It was.
By the turn of the century, computers had the internet but it was slow. I could find things...eventually. I could download music...illegally AND slowly. I could chat with my friends in AOL messenger if I could ever get their screen name from them. Why couldn't everyone be on the same program? Why couldn't the record labels just get with the time and let me download my music? Why can't the internet be faster? What's a laptop and and why can't I afford any of this? We were so close...
We wanted everything and we wanted it now. The difference between my generation and my kids generation, is that we got exactly what we wanted. We didn't just demand or wish for things, we demanded things and then saw them all come true. Within just a few short years from that day in 2000 when my screename was banned from Napster by my favorite band, Metallica, we had everything we had ever wanted and I wasn't even 25.
TV shows with the entire season at once? Netflix. Faster internet whenever we wanted? iPhone with 3G. Nearly everyone you knew in the same place online? Facebook. Maps that were always upto date and not on paper? Google Maps. By the time I was 25 I had all the above and more. Married? Yes. Kid? Yes. Good job? Yep, I was working for Apple Computers with Steve Jobs.
I Had EVERYTHING! But despite all that had come into existence and everything that I had, why was depression and anxiety the calling card of my life?
Panic attacks, anxiety, meds, looking for spiritual relief. Panic attacks, anxiety, meds, looking for spiritual relief. It was a cycle and I couldn't find my way out of it. No amount of Twitter, more children being born, more Facebook groups, or more sex could fix whatever it was that felt broken. From 30 years of Christianity to atheism and back again, it still wasn't satisfying enough. My entire life I had wished for my dreams to come true and when they all did I came up short. The crash was hard.
By 37 I was feeling it was pretty over. I had a testicular cancer scare and had one removed only to find out it wasn't caner, but did relieve the pain I was in. We had been through a few years of polyamory and swinging but that seemed to exacerbate my anxiety. Eventually, after two additional years, my hearing gave out. The ringing. The never ending high pitched screech. It permeated through my life. It kept me from sleeping, it kept me from enjoying my partners, my music, and most of all it kept me from enjoying a lot of the time with my kids.
So why am I still here? Perseverance.
You see, I was born with a physical disability. My thy bones are too short on both legs. Most doctors didn't think I would walk, but I did. They didn't think I could march in high school marching band, but I did. I even had a palm reader on the streets of New Orleans tell me I wouldn't have kids, but I had three just to prove her wrong. Actually I had 3 kids because of all the normal, less exotic, reasons.
I don't know when to surrender. Maybe it's because I'm so used to always getting what I want eventually that I'm so good at it? I went to college and graduated with a BA in Communication. I can argue in circules until the other person is blue in the face and I use it as a weapon. Posture, verbal queues, eye movement, and phrases are all fair game when you enter into a discussion with me. That's my job as a customer support manager.
A wise man once said; You can win, or you can be happy, but not both. For better or worse, I need to win. I persevere above all else.
So I look at my life and think where did all the sadness come from? Why is it so hard? After 40 years, I was finally able to say, this is my life. You win. You get sad. You move on.
You get sad.
You move on.
Currently, it's the season of moving on.
Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed my essay!
If you would like to support my writing or any of the other work I do (running a mastodon instance thetaoist.online, which is open to registrations and the Tao-Zen Exchange discord server) I've set up a Patreon, or you can simply Buy Me a Coffee!
I'm also running a fundraiser for my 9-year-old daughter's Elementary School art teacher! You can use the shop link at the top to buy some of my daughter's artwork, or donate directly to her Art teacher by Buying Her A Coffee!
I hope you'll help spread the word, and please donate whatever you can. I will forever be grateful, and you'll get some awesome patron perks if you become a patron!
You can find my other links on my Linktree!