I Have Been Worrying Since the Day I Was Born
“What happened to my warm dark room? Why am I naked? Why is everyone looking at me? I hope I don’t have to poop! Put me back!”
I worry about everything from the time I open my eyes in the morning until I fall asleep at night. I even fret in my dreams. I can’t even have a sex dream without getting performance anxiety.
It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Getting ready for school was a chore because I always felt like I would forget something. I worried about the traffic on the walk to school. I worried about lunch, and if I would have to go to the bathroom. I was always concerned about my homework, and I would get an upset stomach if I had to answer a question in class.
Even at church, I couldn’t get away from the constant anxiety. They didn’t make it easy either. Even as a little kid, they expected me to perform like everyone else. I had to get up and give bible talks in front of the entire congregation. I was expected to preach to strangers and try to get them to buy our magazines and books. I was forced to raise my hand and give an intelligent answer when we studied the Watchtower, and I knew I just sounded like an idiot.
Even at home, I had to complete hours of bible study, on top of the homework I had during the week.
It’s no wonder I was a bundle of nerves. That is a lot of shit for a kid to handle!
Stomach problems plagued me. I would get myself all worked up, and it didn’t matter what I ate — I always had the runs. I always had to be sure where the toilet was at all times because I knew I would be running to it eventually.
I rarely enjoyed anything because I was so anxious, and it only got worse as I got older.
Because of my anxiety, puberty was hellish for me. I noticed girls, and they saw me, but I overthought everything so much that I could never get up the courage to talk to them.
And how can a kid masturbate when my guilty conscience battles the embarrassment of knowing Jehovah was watching me from heaven.
Can I get a little privacy, God?
I thought it would be great to get older, but all those hormones added to the anxiety, and it’s a miracle I even left the house regularly.
I was a good-looking kid, but I still worried about how I looked. My forehead was too big, and my arms were too skinny. I had gapped teeth, and I always felt like my breath stunk, even when it didn’t. I worried I would get a boner in class after I sat through the fifth period staring at Mrs. Boatner’s breasts underneath the billowy dresses she always wore.
Now, I realize that all kids go through most of what I described to some degree, but the difference is that my anxiety was at such a high level I was barely able to function as a normal kid would. I was always an inch away from a full-blown panic attack, and it’s no wonder I would get unsatisfactory marks in the self-control column on my report card.
I was a high-strung kid, and it didn’t help that I was an outcast and a loner. Everybody knew I was different because I was a Jehovah’s Witness, and they never missed an opportunity to show me I was unacceptable.
I was a smart kid but hated it because people resented me. “Oh, look! Jason got another 100%! He must have cheated!” It would have been easier to be stupid, so at least I could have faded into the crowd instead of standing out like a sore thumb in a red shirt.
I hated being a child and couldn’t wait until I was older when no one could tell me what to do, who to be, or where to go. I could be my own man, and it wouldn’t matter that no one liked me. It wouldn’t matter that I was smart because intelligent adults ruled the world.
I didn’t want to be a panicked outcast who always worried he would shit his pants. I didn’t want to worry anymore about crap I had no control over. I felt like if I could just grow up, I would finally get my life together.
Sadly, when I did get older, everything only got worse.
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