November 10, 2022 by Marguerite Ashton
Shutting Down Communication With Toxic People.
Opening up to certain people that I have anxiety was hard—being diagnosed with severe anxiety was worse because, like other folks, I didn’t have time to deal with it. I had my babies to care for, and I needed to focus on my job. During the early nineties is when the panic attacks started. I had no clue what was happening, but difficulty breathing, having a hard time talking, feeling my heart pound in my chest, and the sweat episodes left me feeling a mess.
The bad news was there was not one person around me who accepted that something was happening. That I needed help. Hearing that nothing is wrong with you or you need to toughen up was devastating.
Fast forward to 2018, when I almost lost my husband, my brave face or push-to-make-it-through face gave way. My ability to stay strong was done. It was time for me to use my voice and speak up as I accepted that I was not okay.
After twenty-five years, I was done hiding. I was scared and felt cornered – worried about what others would think or say. I’d reached a point where I felt like I was coming apart. I had to make the decision.
Finally, I just did what needed to be done for Marguerite.
Coming from a line of strong women who kept pressing on and did what they needed to do no matter what they were dealing with, I was embarrassed.
To make things worse for me (this was during my adjustment phase), when I opened up about my anxiety, the responses left me in a holding pattern. I’d regretted saying anything.
Now I can admit the one statement that shut me down. It was, “Marguerite, I had no idea you had anxiety. You hide it so well.”
For a while, I didn’t know how to take the comment until a month ago. I heard the same statement from someone close to me. I thought the last thing I should be doing was taking this comment personally. So, after giving it much consideration, I decided I’d take it as a compliment.
Especially, with the stigma that plays a major in others who prefer to judge you. To hold it over your head as if you were a freak for even talking about it in public. Emotional and verbal abuse can traumatize a person. I am cheering myself on as I continue to find positive ways to move forward and not carry such a burden on my shoulders. In my personal space. Most of all, in my heart.
In previous generations, there was no talk of processing your feelings. The elder was always right, and it wasn’t up for discussion.
However, I was grateful to have deep and meaningful conversations with my mom. It was Mom who took the time to talk to me and help me process situations that bothered me on all levels when no one else would.
Thanks, Momma, for always being there for me.
I know you’re no longer suffering. But I still miss you.