Day number six of the 30 day challenge. As I read the prompt, I felt a pit in my stomach. Who really wants to talk about the hardest thing they’ve ever experienced? For me, I try to push these memories out of my mind. If they don’t serve me or I find myself dwelling on something too long, I do what I need to do to fix it and move on.

But, on the flip side, it’s good to sometimes reflect on the bad things so you remember the lessons you learned. I’m a firm believer that negative experiences can be great opportunities to build character and add to that portfolio of wisdom you strive to accumulate over the years.

Some of the things I’ve experienced are a little too personal for me to talk about. Maybe if I were braver I’d write about them, but as it is, I don’t like sharing everything. So instead of talking about a specific experience, I thought I’d just talk about something I’ve overcome that took a lot of years of work.

What Is the Hardest Thing You Have Ever Experienced?

I am naturally a worrier. It’s just how I was born. I worry about everything. Ever since I was a child, I was jokingly called a “worry wort” and was constantly told to calm down. I worried about how everyone was feeling; I worried about being late; I worried about what others thought about me; the list goes on. As I got older, this worry really started to interfere with my life.

In my teen years, I really started to withdraw. I’m a naturally pretty outgoing person and was very extroverted as a child. Though I was always worrying, I never really let it interfere with my life and remained pretty true to myself. But for whatever reason, that just changed. I got a lot more quiet; I felt as if I never really had anything to say. It was hard for me to relate to anybody and I felt like I was completely alone in my way of thinking. I felt like people that tried to befriend me were only doing so out of pity; like nobody actually wanted to be my friend. When I go back and read diary entries from my teen years, it astounds me how low my self confidence was. I was constantly writing about how I had nothing of value to add to society; how boring I was; how my lack of interesting things to say made people uncomfortable around me. Because of this, I never wanted to be around people even if they reached out to be my friend because I believed they had ulterior motives. This kind of thinking also lead me to be kind of unfriendly. I’d snap at people because I was putting up a wall to protect myself. It felt like things would never get better and I was doomed to forever be a depressed piece of shit. Ugh, it makes me cringe to think about.

After a while, I got tired of sitting around and feeling sorry for myself. I took action. I did a couple of things to address my mental state and started putting myself out there more. In college, I decided to move into a home with a bunch of roommates to force myself to meet new people. I opened myself up and got a wonderful boyfriend, who I’m still dating 4.5 years later. I started going to the gym when I had bad thoughts. I joined clubs; I threw parties; I reached out.

For me, learning how to cope with my anxieties was one of the hardest things I ever did. I won’t sit here and claim that I’m always happy or everything is perfect now, but I will say I don’t allow myself to spiral into pits of despair and self pity anymore. If I feel it coming, I address it. I know it may not be the most grand of hardships, but it was something I thought would never get better and I’m proud of the personal work I’ve put into improving myself.

 

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