A Love letter to life…
The last two years have been the best of my life. My dog had puppies, I became a fulltime author, and I got married.
Most of my prior life had been a self-destructive mess. I grew up on a council estate, got involved in gangs, and didn’t have a very stable home life. My life was full of drama and pain. Although I didn’t know it then, over my teen years I slowly developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I turned to booze to self-medicate a condition I didn’t even know I had. My anxiety condition, often referred to as GAD, masqueraded for years as my personality, and I just thought I was a worthless mess. I just thought that was who I was. I was overly emotional all the time – angry, happy, sad – and I would often push people away because of these extremes (until eventually I had nobody at all). I was paranoid, jealous, aggressive; arrogant one minute and insecure the next. I was a total mess. I spent my student loan on booze, dropped out of University (despite being a straight-A student), and started selling phones. I was a good salesman – smart and likeable – but I was also miserable doing something that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was also completely alone. I had relationships start up and end in a constant cycle of letting people down until it just wasn’t worth the effort of even trying to know people. I was tired. I was twenty-three years old and already tired of life. I had no driver’s license, a load of debt, and no aspirations.
I met Sally on Match, the online dating service. I loved her immediately. I loved her with every thought in my head and every pulse of my heartbeat. I loved her too much. My condition, GAD, which I was then still unaware of, led to me being a nightmare to be in a relationship with. I was jealous, brooding, and constantly tetchy. I would not talk about the past – hers or mine. I was also becoming very withdrawn, not wishing to do anything outside of my comfort zone, anything that could cause me additional stress or anxiety (I didn’t know at the time but I was subconsciously trying to manage my condition by avoiding all forms of stress. This was why I had no friends or social life). Sally tried her best to help me, to make me see that life was okay and that she loved me, but she had issues of her own. So she left me.
I drank myself stupid for two whole months until, completely out of the blue, Sally turned up again on my doorstep. She missed me and still loved me. We got back together and things we great…for a while, but slowly my constant anxiety, worrying, and brooding came back to haunt me. I could not enjoy any part of life. I was stuck in a constant loop of negative thought and worried constantly about ‘what could happen’. I was miserable. And so was Sally. So she left me again. She had no choice.
I drank myself silly for another two months. But this time I went to see a Doctor. He diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and prescribed me an SSRI specifically designed to combat anxiety (rather than depression). Within a few months, the static buzzing in my head went away and for the first time my thoughts were actually empty. My mind had stopped racing along on its own and I was finally back in the driver’s seat. I had control over whether I was happy, sad, angry, or afraid. With my emotions back within normal levels, I suddenly found life a lot easier. I could smile and enjoy things without unwanted thoughts making me sick with worry. I could sleep at night with an empty head, and I could finally relax. My anxiety was gone.
Sally turned up on my doorstep out of the blue again. She said that, even if I never changed and made her miserable for her entire life, she could not live without me. Things were great for a while… And then a while longer. And then for a whole year. I was like a different person…yet, still the same person that Sally had fallen in love with. I was just a happier, chilled out me. A me that didn’t blame Sally for her past or for things she could not change. I was a me that was able to trust her completely and love her for who she was. I was a me that suddenly wanted to socialise and go to the theatre, try new things, and go on trips abroad. We went to Disneyworld and had the time of our lives. I finally wanted to live my life instead of hiding away; I wanted to live my life with her.
Now, Sally and I have been together for six years. We are married and trying for a baby. We argue perhaps twice a year, and it’s never important. I smile more often than I frown and I have the job I always dreamed of. I’m a happy person, which is something I once thought impossible.
Two people were responsible for saving my life: the doctor that told me what was wrong with me (and that it was not my fault) and the woman I married. Because without Sally, I would never have had an incentive to get help. I didn’t hit rock bottom until I lost her for the second time. She was the reason I wanted to get my life back. Now, she is my life.
My message is simple. If you’re sad more often than you’re happy, go seek help. It might just lead to an entirely different future for you; a better future. I am thankful every day for the little white pill that saved my life.