May, 21, England
May’s anxiety started young, triggered by her alcoholic father and several traumatic events, including a rape. May picked herself up from her lowest point to finally seek help and conquer her Generalised Anxiety Disorder. She recently graduated with very good grades and has been in recovery for over two years, at the time of writing.
My story is about my severe anxiety disorder.
I had an okay childhood but had a violent and aggressive dad, who made me feel worthless all the time. He had to be the top dog, and would do anything to prove that to us. If we (myself and two younger siblings), did anything wrong, not only would we be in big trouble, by the means of a slap, either with his hands or with a wooden ruler on the bum, but our mum would be hit and screamed at too. So as you can imagine, it was like walking on eggshells all the time, in complete fear.
Here’s another insight of living with him; I was about 7 years old and had been doing a history project since getting home from school, and it was dark outside and I was really tired, so I started to draw this cool picture of my favourite cartoon character at the time.
My dad comes into the room, drunk, sees the picture, starts screaming, screws up the picture and forces it down my throat and makes me eat it.
At the age of 13, we eventually ran away from him. What a relief! However, after years of this emotional and physical abuse, you can imagine I wasn’t the most confident of people.
My teenage years were about even if I hated them at the time and was constantly depressed and had a binge eating habit, I was just the quiet girl who couldn’t talk to boys and was afraid of loud noises and breaking rules.
Now you need to realise that my mindset towards doing well at school and not failing was out of fear, that even though I rarely saw my dad, I always felt like either I, or someone I loved, would come to harm if I failed at anything. Hopefully if you are reading this you can link this way of thinking to the environment I was brought up in.
Fast forward to University. I just about get the grades and come September I moved into halls [campus]. I’d always had social anxiety, ever since I could remember. Could you blame me? So University was daunting but exciting. I was hoping to gain loads of confidence and maybe even get a boyfriend!
My housemates were toxic though, mostly male, and I soon found myself drinking far too much, even sipping litre bottles of vodka alone in my room. Two weeks after moving into halls, I found myself passed out in a housemate’s room after everyone had been hanging out together there. I woke up and everyone had left the room, bar two male housemates.
They raped me.
Continue to May’s Story, Part 2