I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember and have talked about it in a number of my posts. Although there is a part of me to which anxiety is purely wired into my being, there is also an aspect of it that has been affected by my experience with adoption.
The adoption process sparked an onset of anxiety in me. With many adoptions, a child who is shifted from home to home and left to deal with those uncertainties will struggle with some form of anxiousness, and this process helped pave the way for the anxiety that is firmly rooted into my being today.
As a child, I was scared to do some of the most simple things. Going to the grocery store was a task that took pep talks and coaching. I was scared that if my mom left the shopping cart for even one second, there would surely be someone there to come and take me away. During the holiday season, instead of an excitement for the arrival of Santa Claus, I would dread the onset of the night in fear that he would be coming to take me away from my family. The confusion and uncertainty that the adoption process had presented, manifested a deep-seated anxiety that I would constantly be abandoned by those who were close to me.
In adulthood the fear of running errands surely faded into non-existence, but the anxieties of being neglected and abandoned were still prevalent. I kept myself at a distance in friendships, believing that if those involved left me, I wouldn’t end up feeling too hurt or disappointed. I left relationships before a openness and vulnerability were able to develop, preventing a hurt my heart was incapable of receiving. Deep down, I knew this was not the way to live and if I continued to walk down this path, it would result in living with one of my biggest anxieties: being completely alone.
I began to look at the lies this anxiety had presented and began to feed it truth. People will leave me, it’s a part of life, but it doesn’t mean I am unworthy of love. I can let my guard down and be vulnerable with people, and although there may be disappointment, it does not equate me to being incapable of having deep and meaningful relationships. With a lot of hard work, I am able to say that although this anxiety still has an impact on me, it no longer stops me from living a full and meaningful life.
We have the power to do this with the lies that various anxieties deliver: we can choose to succumb to the lies, or we can acknowledge the truth and grow. Accepting truth, walking in perseverance, and embracing bravery can decrease the power that certain anxieties have over us. Look at the anxiety and feed it with truth. Take it day by day and step by step. I got this. You got this. We got this.