When we were kids the cupboards were white, walls covered in wallpaper, and the phone was attached to the wall. I would slide into the closet to talk on the phone with my friends, silently closing the door behind me trying my best to not let the click of the door be heard because, “anything you are talking about should be something we can all hear.”
We were typical siblings, loud, obnoxious, and boisterous; okay that was just me. I rattled the shit out of my brother. I picked on him, dressed him up, and drove him crazy. I was relentless.
I was an attention seeker, wanted all eyes on me, and I would stop at nothing to get it.
Dance parties, fashion shows, silly poses, I wanted nothing less than the stage and that would be my goal. I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be a star.
As I grew up dramatic, outgoing, and social was how I would have been described. I was excited to speak in front of crowds, I dove into group projects, say the word role play and I would be the first one to put my hand up.
I thrived in social situations, was the life of the party and my humour kept me in the spot light.
I was even told in college that my outgoing behaviour might cost me my diploma and I needed to buckle down and really concentrate.
But then Postpartum Depression swept over me and a tailspin of emotions took me from outgoing and exuberant to closed off and silent. From social butterfly to someone who prefers to be alone or in small crowds.
I became someone I didn’t recognize and had to relearn how to socialize with people.
I was no longer interested in being the centre of attention; in fact I didn’t want attention at all. I didn’t find myself funny, or interesting, and I didn’t want to share parts of my life during conversation. I was most comfortable around my family and snuggled up on the couch with my thoughts and social situations gave me overwhelming anxiety.
I avoided people and places, speaking to people and conversations, and I began to draw inward.
I would wait for these feelings to pass, thinking that my old self would return and I would be back to normal in no time, praying that this wouldn’t be forever.
But I have had to adjust.
This is my new normal.
Anxiety fills my days, along with the pull to avoid any contact with others as long as possible. The thought that I bring nothing to the conversation is overwhelming and keeps me feeling trapped inside a brain that fires five million messages and thoughts at once.
I have had to adjust to a new way to view my world, parenting a child who is exuberant and free, loves talking to people and taking on new activities and adventures, and a husband who is exactly the same.
While my world closes in like walls around me.
I think back, often, to the days where I was full of bounce and energy. Where I was the girl who danced until dawn, laughed until my cheeks hurt, had the best one liners.
I attracted friends, was intensely loved by the ones I had, and took life by the horns. I wasn’t afraid of anything.
The feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and sadness that overwhelm me now would have never overcome me before. They would have been just a blip on the radar.
I have changed.
I miss that girl.
I want her to come back.
And this time I would hang on to her forever.