Thursday, April 24, 2014

Anxiety and Childhood

I guess there really isn’t a time in which you formally become a citizen of the great anxiety city. There isn’t a ceremony to welcome you and there isn’t a memorable date that you can mark in your calendar. It just happens. Little by little, anxiety starts creeping up on you, and when you least expect it you become afraid of your own shadow.

At least that’s what happened to me.

I don’t ever remember being a carefree child. I remember my classmates being afraid of nothing. Their world was a world free of consequences. They didn’t see what was wrong with jumping down from the bleachers, they didn’t see the problem with letting go of their parents’ hand while in the store. Imagine this, they didn’t even think about cavities! That was just nonsense to me.

I was only 4 years old when I started noticing that I was different from all the children I knew. I don’t mean than in presumptuous way. If anything, I wished I could be more like them. But I wasn’t and I had to learn to live with it.

My classmates seemed to like me, and my classmates’ parents seemed to LOVE me. I was their children’s conscience that helped to keep them out of trouble.

I was a bossy child telling all the kids what they
could and could not do...
“Hector, you can’t do that. You know the teacher will get mad at you if she finds out you copied Alex’s homework.”

“Alex! Don’t jump from there. You’re going to hurt yourself!!”

“Abraham, you really need to start brushing your teeth at night and eating less candy. That’s why you have to go to the dentist so often.” 

I was only 4 and I had already become an anxious mother to a bunch of first graders.

I got used to carrying, not only my own problems, but those of others as well.
I worried immensely when someone in my family did something that I considered wrong, such as eating without properly washing their hands. And little by little, my horrible, nasty, no good OCD crept in my life....

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