Donna Ryan


I recently was invited to a party which I was fearful to attend because I did not think I knew a lot of the other guests, so when the host who happens to be a special friend asked if I would be coming, my response was, I値l try my best to be there.

It has become very clear to me that I have hidden behind that little apostrophe mark for too long.  It is such a safe word, as it makes me sound like a nice person, but it keeps me from having to commit.  I値l try, I値l see, and I値l think about it are examples of how I made excuses to mask the fear and anxiety I have of so many things.  It is becoming clear to me lately that I used my Mother as my security blanket. Having her to care for in a way was a solution for me to stay in the safe "I'll do it one day" life.

I lived my life feeling like a square constantly trying to fit into a circle.  I would watch and admire others, but I just could not get the courage to say I WILL. Most people thought I was hard on myself, or not confident, or just plain afraid.

After all, I was so funny and outgoing. . . who ever would have thought I was extremely anxious?  Yes, I have had anxiety issues since I was a child. 

Sadly, it was not something understood years ago, and it was easier emotionally for my parents to protect me versus forcing me out into the world.  I heard a lot of "Donna can't do that," and when I was scared it was ok for Me to not have to go. I so understand they were trying to protect me, as no one likes to see their children hurting.

Hiding behind the apostrophe and being allowed to avoid was my normal, but it was making me sad, as I wanted to venture and try.  Staying safe in "I値l" was actually making me ILL.  It is remarkable how moving that apostrophe can change that little word and having the WiLL to add just one letter can change the meaning completely.  I knew it was time to say goodbye to the past and do my best to work on the anxious feelings. Anyone that suffers anxiety knows it is a silent paralyzing pain that most don稚 know you have or even can understand.

With a racing heart but a smile on my face, I attended the party which I was trying to avoid out of fear of not fitting in. I had the most wonderful afternoon, and I was wrong in my assumption I would not know anyone; I actually reconnected with people I had not seen in a very long time, and I also met some wonderful new people.  It was a beautiful day, and again I would have lost out on a great memory had I listened to my fear and remained in the "I値l" mindset. I am blessed my friend pushed me to say yes. Sometimes you must know you cannot do everything alone and you need help.

I continue at times to hide behind the apostrophes of my life.  I have a long way to go and lots of fights with anxiety to get through for sure. I have a list of things I want to try to do, and some of them I WiLL do soon and some may take a little more work.  I'm still fighting to fit into the circle more comfortably, but I am no longer as afraid of venturing out as I once was.

I share my story of the anxiety and insecurities I have to inspire others. I believe each of us has fears that hold us back.

At times we all need a cheerleader to remind us we can do it. Perhaps one person will relate to this post and know they are not alone, and I can be their cheerleader as my friend was and remains mine.

I am blessed to have many strong people in my life who have gone through things that I could not even imagine. I watch them with deep admiration as they stand up and say "I will" every single day. When I feel scared of trying something or going somewhere out of my comfort zone, I think of them and their courage and I know what I am going through is nothing compared to their journey.

Each day that passes and that I write about in my journal will be history of my story to be left behind. Reading back on some of the pages of my life, I had a lot of "I値l try" days, and it makes me sad that I was so afraid to peek around the apostrophe mark and that fear was keeping me ill. I am facing the fear and attempting things I never imagined possible. I still get anxiety, but I try hard not to let it overcome me and to talk it out with people who care, and if I need help stepping into a moment of fear, I ask for help, but I go!

I am 50-something, and I truly want these to be the best days of my life; each day I will make the effort to not let fear and anxiety control me. I am throwing away the apostrophe mark because the journey of trying to say I WILL to new things, and learning feels GREAT, and while at times it's scary, it's even more exciting!

I thank my very special cheerleader who I feel got me through a major breakthrough, and I applaud the many wonderful strong women in my life whom I watch and admire, and I am thankful for each day . . . together let's stand up and cheer I WILL!

*  *   *  *

Donna Ryan and has always thrived on inspiration--she loves reading it everywhere she can find it.  She is in her 50's and has been married to her husband for 30+ years.  Together they raised their now-25-year-old son; it has been a journey with many twists and turns.  She started her website while caring for her mother, and has continued with it after her caregiver role ended.  Visit her weblog at http://www.50plusstickingtogether.com/index.html 

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Anxiety's like a rocking chair.  It gives you something
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Jodi Picoult
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But people have other needs as well:  emotional needs.  These, too,
are few, but every bit as important as our physical requirements, yet
not so simple.  If they aren't met, they can be as devastating as
physical hunger, as uncomfortable as a lack of shelter, as incapacitating
as thirst.  The frustration, isolation and anxiety brought about by unmet
emotional needs can, like physical privation, produce death
or a degree of living death--neurosis and psychosis.

Leo Buscaglia