The greatest risk I took this year was telling the truth.
Wow, it sounds terrible when I put it like that, and even worse seeing it in black and white. For years I had been trying to cover up just how bad my anxiety was.
My anxieties started around social situations and grew from there. Being too scared to face situations meant that I became very good at avoiding them, but with the avoidance came the lies. The little white lies about why I could never make the work Christmas meal, the terrible lie about why I didn’t make it to a friend’s wedding (I was dressed and ready, and then came the panic attack….), the daily lie of “I’m fine”.
I hated telling every single lie. Every lie I told was horrible, horrible for the receiver, but also horrible me. That sounds really selfish, let me explain. Every lie I told took me further and further away from being “me”.There was a huge gulf between the Amy I was trying to portray (although in hindsight perhaps I wasn’t as good at this as I thought) and the Amy who was hurting. I was living a lie, and the gulf was getting bigger and bigger. The bigger the gulf, the more frightening it got, the more lies needed to keep up the pretence. A vicious circle.
When I was at an all time low this summer, I was signed off from work. This was a tricky one, I couldn’t lie my way out of this. People say that what I did next was brave, courageous even, but I think it was because I was tired, tired of lying, tired of pretending to be someone else. So I posted on Facebook that I was struggling, and I posted it to everyone, no exceptions. I have written about it on this blog before but was prompted to write about it again for # reverb13. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done, it turns out that honesty really is the best policy. All those wasted years of lying. Perhaps I’m just lucky that I have such supportive friends? Perhaps it is coincidence that so many of these friends were fighting their own secret battles?
From now on I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Except if you ask me how many chocolates I had from the tin.