Content Warning: anxiety, panic attacks
Someone mentioned something yesterday. They said, “it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.” This stuck out to me because there are many days when I wish for the day to be over because I cannot handle the amount of stress and anxiety that I have. There are weeks I cannot wait to get through because I know I have a lot of things that I am nervous about or not ready to do, but have to get done. I end up spending a lot of my time looking forward to the future, never being fully present in the current moment. Yes, there may be bad days, but just because one bad thing happens, the rest of the day is not ruined.
I find it hard trying to come to the realization that things will get better and that I have so much to be thankful for and proud of. Growing up in a Hispanic household, I never learned how to talk about my feelings, but I was always sensitive, and I knew how to express them. No one ever expressed their feelings around me, and I was always chastised when I cried or when I tried to mention something I was bothered by. This always led me to be upset or angry. I spent most of my childhood being alone and upset because I felt so misunderstood. I, at a young age, did not understand how people could be so rude or content with their lives when the same things were happening to them, or they were witnessing the same things I was.
Up until high school, the main emotion I felt strongly connected to was anger. This was very hard for me because rather than thinking and elaborating how I really felt about something, I would just get upset and cry out of frustration. Once I started high school, I was exposed to other people who experienced different emotions. This is where I learned about depression, and I think it suited me more than I would have admitted at the time. I do not have many fond childhood memories and looking back on it, I think it was because I was so angry, closed off, and isolated that I did not have many memories apart from going to school, coming home, and sleeping just to do it all over again.
Going into college, I became more comfortable expressing myself, and it felt more acceptable. I was also going through a lot of emotions with the big transition. One day when I went back home, I had so much anxiety because I felt lost, and I was unsure if I wanted to stay in college. I did not feel that I fit in back home, I felt that I was unable to connect with my high school friends, and I felt my relationship with my family was nonexistent. It all placed a strain on my mental health and I could not take it any longer that I started crying. I started hyperventilating, and I felt my chest getting tighter. I felt I could not control my breathing, and my heart was palpitating. I had to just sit down on the kitchen floor because I was unable to do anything else, and I curled up into a ball in an effort to comfort myself. I have had panic attacks before, but never to that extent, and no one in my family reacted because my whole life I have been a crier and I have been angry that nearly everyone just looked at me and watched me.
I felt someone sit next to me. I immediately thought that it was my mom, as she was usually the one to ask how I was afterward. I looked up and to my surprise it was my father. He asked me what was wrong, and I did not feel that I could tell him. There is something about being first generation that has been so hard for me is being unable to tell my parents about my struggles; I was aware of all the effort and struggles that they went through to give me the opportunity to be in school and to be able to pursue a career that I want. He then said one of the most inspirational things I have ever heard. He said, “no matter what problem you are going through, todo tiene solución (everything has a solution).” That made me breakdown even more, but that also relieved the weight off my chest, and I was able to breathe again. It was what I needed to be grounded into reality and actually feel that I was going to be okay.
There are often times when I feel that the world is going to end or that things will never be okay, but then I remind myself that there is always a solution.