When I was 5 or 6 I prayed to God the following prayer “God, I don’t have any friends. Can you please help me find some?” I was so proud because it wasn’t a hail Mary or one of the more common prayers that we were taught at school. My budding creativity had an audience and I felt like I was going to get some friends. When the teacher asked the class what we had prayed for I told her. She was not as happy as I was. In fact, she was taken back. She gave me a letter to take to my folks. I thought I was going to get in trouble.
My dad ended up asking me to tell him the prayer and I did. 3 decades will do a number on memories, but I do recall him pointing out that Des (my brother) was one of my friends and that my parents and cousins where my friends too. When you’re 6, people can’t be two things so I just went with them being family, but agreed that they were my friends.
I have no idea where the notion came from that I wasn’t liked or wasn’t worthy of being liked by anyone other than family, but it was there and it got some wicked traction. At 39 I’m now only just starting to talk back to the idea that I’m unlovable, and only because I see how I have been acting over the last 15 or so years.
When I said this to Tony, he asked about sniffing glue, then about eating lead paint and finally settled on the potato blight. Then “you like fantasizing about being a piece of shit eh?” Sadly, no, I just thought I was one and that helped me act like one. Ugh. Oh the silly programs we imprint on our young minds that go uncontested until a crisis of identity caused by enormous stress. I miss my dad, but I’m really grateful that his passing has allowed me to see the possible cause of my self-destructive actions.
What does this have to do with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)? Oh, I think you know if you’ve read anything on this blog over the last anytime. I know a lot of things that other people don’t, and when I engage them with these things, there is a movement towards their enlightenment. This movement was internalized by me as a sign of my worth and I learned to coach / Parent people towards these moments of self-awareness; all the while missing the only thing that really would have made a difference – I have exactly the same value whether or not they learn or change.
Yet regardless of what happened, I was anxious about almost everything in my life. Particularly things that weren’t ever going to happen. Very little in my life was satisfying and I always wanted more and more of whatever distraction / compulsion I was satisfying. Paradoxically, indulging these compulsions didn’t reduce my anxiety – see newstasis.com post Reasons To Not Be Afraid – and in the long run gave me more validation that I had a lot to be anxious about.
There is a little humor in it now when I think about it because I have created perfectly the life and scripts that allowed me to feel like I had no value, that something was wrong, that I did not belong and that I am unlovable. Few things I have done so exceptionally well as these, and fewer still are the things that I have done that have slowed my actualization of potential.
I suffer from GAD and as a consequence, I have manufacture the experiences I needed to feel the anxiety that it helped manifest. Not only this, but I did it without really being aware that I was making the life I needed in order to feel this baseline. It is of little wonder why the cognitive behavioral therapy I have been doing has been so effective at helping me get control of my mind. Once the anxiety causing thoughts stopped, the anxiety started to disappear as did the anxiety causing actions. It also worked the opposite way – giving-up my compulsive actions eliminated a lot of the anxiety associated with acting in my own worst interests.
The numbers are fairly high, a lot of people suffer from GAD and just go through life believing that time on the planet is hell. I probably isn’t and, if you have a tendency towards unmitigated anxiety, go and talk to your doctor, see a therapist or do some reading. Live is beautiful when the voices you hear aren’t telling you how crap it is.