My Name is Brad

I didn’t come from a poor family. I didn’t come from a rich family. I came from the perfect family, in my eyes. While some may say I was a little spoiled, I personally thought life was just right growing up. I am 25 years old and still living with my two happily married parents and three Chihuahuas. The reason? Panic disorder and depression have taken my life away.

I was diagnosed with mild panic disorder when I was 20 years old. 5 years of my life I have been battling this “disease.” It all began when one night I was driving my parents’ Jeep Grand Cherokee home from the cottage. In a drunken stupor, I decided to take it upon myself to attempt to drive the Jeep home. Making almost all the way home 2 hours away, I crashed into a ditch, took out a road sign, and hit a tree. The Jeep at this point was upside down and totalled. I would like to think that an angel was watching over me that day, because I climbed out of that car without even a scratch on me. Luckily, I miraculously avoided all repercussions of drunk driving as well. Long story short, this is the big thing that began triggering my chronic anxiety and panic disorder. The next day, I woke up, and realized I was not happy with my life.

The thing that made me notice this was a combination of bad choices and that in the same week, my boyfriend at the time had broken up with me. I also lost my job in the same week. I was at an all time low. That is when it was time to head back to the head doctor and get on some anti depressants. Counselling and psychiatry with a combination of medication have begun my transformation into what I hope will be a better person. I would say the combination of all three of those things is the point in my life where I realize that I’m not happy.

When I explain to people why I don’t drive, they just don’t get it. I am scared to even ride in a vehicle. My hands get clammy, sweaty, and I usually carry a water bottle and my sweater with me just for security. My hoodie makes me feel secure. When I get too nerved up, I simply recline the vehicle chair and cover my face with my security blanket, while breathing in the fresh air from outside. My friends don’t understand it. My best friend Hali is constantly asking me what is wrong whenever I ride with her. The only time I feel completely comfortable in a vehicle, sadly, is when I have alcohol in my system (which since the crash, isn’t very often that I drink). I am not happy because I cannot be independent without feeling like I’m about to die.

I just wish every person could understand and experience the feeling of anxiety. Why? Because when I talk to people about it, they look at me like I should be locked up. Because I get the looks toward me like I’m crazy. I think if you actually experienced that nerve-wracking feeling that I get – palms sweaty, can’t breathe, knees weak, light headed, feeling of nausea – then maybe I would feel more comfortable. However, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It has been a 5 year struggle since the crash, but I am starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin. If it weren’t for that ONE mistake, I probably would still be on the road. So of course, I sit here and kick myself in the ass every single day over it.

Now let’s take a second to think about where I’m gonna go from here and what I personally want in life. I want to be happy. I want a family. I want two children, a couple dogs, and a nice house. However, it’s a struggle to see this as a reality due to the fact of anxiety and panic. I’m currently a college dropout with a 3 day a week job. It’s hard to look at the future in a positive light, but I just keep trudging through the deep, deep snow.

Here’s what it looks like in my head now:
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Here’s what I wish it would look like:
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My name is Brad, and I deserve better than this.
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7 thoughts on “My Name is Brad

  1. I can relate to this story very well. I am currently bi polar with anxiety also. I am 50 and still live with my parents for two reasons: 1) They are elderly and infirmed, and I take care of their needs. 2) Times are very tough in the town I live in. With a population of 3000, most of the businesses here slow down at certain times of the year. The hiring process is not getting any better. The reason why people think or look at us as weird is due to individuals not getting the proper education on mental challenges. Therefore, the stigma is so thick that you can cut it with a knife. That is my experience thus far

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  2. The part where you talk about describing your anxiety to people while they look at you like you’re crazy really struck a chord with me. It’s such a ridiculously hard burden to bare – trying to explain to your loved ones and others why you are the way you are, and then having them judge you anyway. Stay strong friend, have hope that you WILL overcome your struggles. 🙂

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  3. It is very brave of you to tell your story I suffer from a form of PTSD as well but my panic attacks are pretty much under control now. I wasn’t in an accident but as a woman with a congenital birth defect (I am missing a limb) I endured years of relentless bullying during my teen and preteen years. I have managed through my faith and the support of both sides of my family to turn my experience into something positive and maybe even someday inspirational (still working on that part) as a fellow “college drop out” I say don’t be too hard on yourself. I was also studying towards a degree in Elementary Education (pretty much a lifelong dream for me,to be a teacher)I dropped out when I got news that my grandma whom I have always been very close to was on her death bed.It was just more pressure than I could ever handle at that time considering the fact that I lived over 30 miles away from the rest of the family then. I was also a highschool drop out at one point in my life but I made sure to drop back in and get my diploma. I am certain I will do the same with my degree,Best of luck to you and warmest regards,Sincerely Onearmedwarrior1980.✌

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  4. You will pull through this storm my friend. I have felt the very same as you. I felt trapped inside my own issues. I felt I kept hitting road blocks. I reached into the core of my pain and hurt and pulled out the thorns that were holding me down. I gave my self affirmation for all my struggles I’ve endured. I am on a healing path now. Survivor of mental, emotional, physical, sexual abuse I deal with PTSD and many forms of anxiety and depression. I’ve reached the point of wearing these scars and using them to my advantage. I found that being an inspiration to others is very therapeutic. Surviving is empowering. You survived that car accident for a reason. A purpose. What purpose is that? Once you’ve reached the threshold of panic into “I think I can do this now” is when you will discover your purpose ! Hang in there friend you are not alone, there are so many of us that are right in this with you.

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