Tonight my dad once again got on my case about “building my resume” and doing more to succeed at school because I’m smart and I can. Meanwhile I’ve spent the past week sick to my stomach, barely able to eat or sleep because of anxiety.
My dad doesn’t know much about my anxiety. He knows that in Junior year I went to the doctor and got put on Fluoxetine, and he knows that I briefly did therapy in the months after. I think he knows that I’m still on meds. He doesn’t know that I recently had to increase my dosage. He doesn’t know that I spent most of the past year doing weekly therapy sessions.
After living with it for a few years, I’ve come to accept certain things about my life. It’s a lot harder for me to be happy, so I spend more time trying to find happiness than success. I can’t take on as much as other people or I’ll make myself sick. Sometimes, even when I am taking on less, I get too sick to do anything at all. This is how I live with GAD and panic disorder, and sometimes I hate that I got dealt this hand, but the truth is it’s not going away.
I have never, ever wanted to use my mental illness as an excuse to lower my personal standards. I can and will do amazing things with my life. But it’s harder for me. A lot harder, sometimes. That’s what he doesn’t get.
He doesn’t understand the struggle of being a woman in business either. Doesn’t understand that from the time we are born, women are taught to be Less, to ask for less, to question ourselves before we speak. There is a very real confidence gap between the genders, and I don’t want to let that hold me back, but god dammit these issues have been afflicting me since the moment I was born and I just want some acknowledgment of that when he tells me I need to try harder. I am trying, dad. I am giving no less than my very best, though I know you look at me and see potential for so much more.
Never in my life have I wanted to use my gender or my anxiety as an excuse, but sometimes I just want to sit you down and yell and scream that you don’t understand. I am lucky in so many ways, I grew up with opportunities you never had, but I have also struggled in ways you can’t imagine.
I don’t want to make excuses. I don’t want to be pardoned from the difficulties of life. But I need you to see that these difficulties exist.