Friday evening, there I was, sitting in a busy restaurant in downtown Toronto. A couple of hours away from seeing one of my all time favourite performers. I was hoping with everything I had that the feeling in the pit of my stomach would go away. That the thoughts would slow down. But before I knew it, I was blinking away tears…hoping no one noticed that I kept looking at the ceiling. Long story short, I had an intense panic attack outside of the restaurant. Crying…oh so many tears. Hyperventilating. All I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and go home. But that wasn’t an option. I was being held up, hugged and someone always seemed to wipe away the tears falling down my cheeks. We started to walk towards the venue, I saw the bright red sign and it started all over again. “I don’t want to go” is all I could say in between sobs. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was freaking out. I couldn’t tell you how many people walking in downtown Toronto saw me sobbing. I can’t tell you how many tears I shed but it was a lot. I was so mad at myself for not being able to handle it, for not being able to go in to the concert. But I couldn’t do it. The closest I made it was the hallway outside the venue, before they scan your ticket and check your bag. I could hear the bass. I was so close yet felt so far away. And just like that I started crying again. Ugh. No concert for this girl. I felt like I failed. But I’ve come to accept that it’s okay. It happens, and I tried my best.
Looking back now, I realized something that brought up all those feelings Friday night. Sitting in the restaurant I saw this group of couples, my age, come in and it was obvious that they were going to the same concert. (The plaid shirts and cowboy boots gave it away.) It hit me that 6 years ago that could have been me. I haven’t been able to get that image out of my head. Obvious signs of love. It’s hard to even talk about now…I’ve truly been in love once in my life. At the time I didn’t know who I was and it was around the same time I started this journey of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. We were young and it was complicated. But it reminded me of how much I have gone through since then. That I can finally say that I love myself and believe in myself and not secretly cringe and cross my fingers so it didn’t really count. Maybe I didn’t see what I had right in front of me and I lost him. A thing I will probably have to live with forever.
I’ve come to expect more from people. If I’m putting in effort you sure as hell better be putting in the same amount. I’ve come so far with my coping skills and quirks to deal with my symptoms on my own, but because I live with anxiety 24/7, and especially with how bad it has been lately, I know there are days where I can’t do this on my own. That there will be times I’ll need someone to wipe away my tears and hold me while my entire body trembles.
I’ve never been one to hide my emotions very well… whatever I’m feeling is usually written all over my face. I now find it quite entertaining when I only hear from people when they need to tell me something about them, but never ask how I am. Or I’m the one checking up on them and not vice versa. My most favourite lines are “I’ve been really busy and forgot to reply” …. oh so you’re telling me that you didn’t see my name in your texts even hours or days later. Or the “I totally answered you, but forgot to hit send” …. hmm, so you’re telling me that you just didn’t notice the draft text message, or thought to yourself “hmm, that’s strange for Hilary not to answer.” (Yes, I’ve been guilty to forget to answer someone but I will always eventually answer.)
The way my life is, with my ups and downs, my good days and bad days, my doctors appointments, my medications, my quirks, I need you to want to stay. It won’t always be easy. But I need to be able to count on you, to pick up my pieces when I’ve fallen apart. I understand that not everyone can do that, but please think of it before you want to be “besties” or tell me all the things I’ve been waiting to hear. I simply can’t do flaky people anymore. I can’t handle people who come in and out of my life randomly. I’m not asking to talk every day…but to stay true to your word. I can’t send the “hey, how are you?” text and never get a response anymore. I’ve done it too many times and ended up heart-broken. It’s crazy how you are willing to love someone, support them but they don’t see it or acknowledge it. You see it perfectly in your head but they aren’t ready for something you can offer.
I’ve been the forgotten one. The girl who has heard every excuse in the book… like the “I didn’t think you could handle it so I didn’t ask”, or the “you cancelled last time so…” or known as the friend who doesn’t want to dance on the crowded dance floor. I’ve been her for so long. I’ve been the girl who gets talked about because “she’s kinda weird” or cancels plans, or doesn’t show up to parties. I’ve been that girl for years, and guess what…I’m probably going to always be that girl in one way or another. Do I care? NOPE.
But…I’m also the girl who loves with her entire heart and stands up for those I love. I’m the friend that will grab your face as you’re crying because people are dumb and wipe away your tears while telling you that I LOVE YOU and to screw everyone else. I’m the one who can stay up all night talking and has a ridiculous amount of random hockey knowledge and facts. I’m the friend who will forever cheer her friends on. I’m the girl who knows what she deserves and what she has to offer. And if you don’t fit in my life anymore, well it was nice while it lasted. But I’ve got to look out for me and my anxious heart now.