When I became a parent, I went through a series of changes.
But I believe the most severe change was my psychological state. I went through depression, I suffered the heavy burden of what it's like to be a single parent, I felt betrayed and alone.
My daughter is 5 years old now, but I still suffer some after effects.
Recently a friend of mine, one who knows me quite well, suggested I might have developed slight symptoms of Agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
Her words really made me think. I've been wondering what this heavy anxious feeling in my chest means, and what my panic attacks are caused by.
This kind of sensation occurs every time I am alone outside, or am faced with an environment, which I can consider scary or threatening.
It's not necessarily true that this is the exact cause, but it doesn't change how I feel about what's going on with me. I have a constant fear of being rejected, being judged and shamed for who I am, or what I do.
For being different in the eyes of complete strangers.
Why am I afraid of these people I don't even know? Of these people I will probably see only once in my life? Why does their opinion even matter to me?
The logical part of my brain realizes the absurdity of this situation, but that's not enough to make me feel better.
Even so, every single day I try to take a step forward, and despite my anxiousness, I do not abandon my true self.
Inside of me there is a constant battle - between who I am and my fear of being completely true to myself.
What my true condition may be doesn't really matter - using a specific term or label won't make any changes. Small steps and a lot of effort - I believe this to be the cure for how I feel.
I know I'll never be the same, I will always carry these scars, and that's actually okay. After all, they're the proof I survived this long. They are the proof I keep on fighting.
P.S. I just felt like I needed to write all of this down. I'm certain I'm not the only one out there, struggling like this.
I hope we can all find the strength in ourselves to be our own hero, and make it through all the challenges :)