I remember as a child feeling sad for no reason. An enormous tidal wave of despair threatening to drown me as I left the house to return to school after lunch. I remember it was grey and overcast. I was either in grade two or four.
Years later the doctor told me the stomach pains were because of anxiety and depression. I argued with him. I was fine, a cheery, hopeful, optimistic person. I was too busy to be depressed. A revelation to me, a confirmation to more enlightened friends.
Eight years later I realize that anxiety is the shadow that I try to outrun almost daily. And yet I usually am very confident and decisive. Especially in my professional life - colleagues that repeatedly look for confirmation drive me bonkers.
My anxiety manifests mostly in my personal life. The panic attacks, hyper vigilance to small details, the inertia, the ritualized behaviour. All of it was manageable when I lived alone. No one needed to know.