I just turned 50 recently, and looking back on when anxiety and panic attacks took over my life at the age of 29. Since that time I have had ups and downs with anxiety but never really conquered it. I have raised 3 children through those dark days but can honestly say I put myself out there even though I wanted to just stay in and hide (which I admit I did at times). I have missed out on times I can't get back -- school field trips, assemblies, etc. Mixed in with that have been times that I pushed myself and came out of it feeling so glad that I did! My youngest is now 14 years old. Two things that have been great (but also worked against me) have been that I have been able to stay home all these years and raise my kids. I also have been able to work from home on my computer which is great for a little extra income but also allows the anxiety to not have to be dealt with and allows very little social interaction -- I also have some social anxiety. I do feel isolated and a little lonely most of the time.
Anxiety is such a barrier between people and life! I feel like I do enjoy life, but I wish I could get out there and feel more connected with the world. Two of my kids are grown, and the baby is starting high school next fall. I guess I fear growing older and being alone (which has always been a hangup of mine). Like I said in the subject line of this post, I feel like I am not living the full life I should be. It's always easier to just stay home and sit on the sidelines versus the anxiety of getting out there. I feel the most motivated to get out there when it comes to my children. My daughter is out of school for the summer, and that means me taking her places. In order to do that I have to take my Xanax before we go. I usually do fine, but it makes me so sad that my life is so restricted. I feel like I should be out there working in the actual work world, meeting people, making a difference, feeling important. I wish I could make my children proud of me and also feel pride in myself. Anxiety seems to win out, and life is passing by quickly.
As I reflect on my life at 50, I would like to give some great advice to all of you who have anxiety/panic and are in the middle of raising young kids -- please don't let anxiety rob you of all those special times. The feeling of guilt and regret you feel from missing out on those times with your children is far worse than the anxiety you feel when you just push through and do it anyway! Believe me, I know it's hard but just do it anyway! Take care everyone and hope to meet some people on this board!