People were talking around me; I was at a party.
It was 1992, I was 15 years old.
It was a warm, still, summer night. A birthday party I think, my mom's friend's daughter's birthday.
I could hear them talking and laughing, but I wasn't listening. I couldn't care less honestly.
All I wanted was to leave, go home and run to my room and close the door behind me and slip into my imaginary world and be with my real (imaginary) friends.
Indeed, they were my real friends because they wouldn't judge me. They wouldn't care if I was so shy that even saying hello was so hard for me.
They didn't make fun of me for speaking so quietly, even if it was tough to hear what I was saying.
They wouldn't point at me and whisper in each other's ears because I didn't wanna dance and sing and play with them.
None of them ever looked down on me or called me names because of my learning disabilities and social #anxiety.
They accepted me for who I was.
In my imaginary world I was a totally different person- happy and free.
I was a hero, everyone loved me, I was popular, super funny, confident and beautiful.
In fact two of my imaginary friends were madly in love with me - in a competition to win my love!
Oh, I loved my imaginary world. I didn't have to prove myself to anyone.
They all loved and accepted me as I was. With my crazy curly hair and sad eyes.
Yeah even in my imaginary world my eyes were sad. That's was one the thing I couldn't change.
But it was ok, I was accepted as I was. They all knew about my hidden pain. We never talked about it, but they knew. And it was ok with them. They still wanna be my friend.
That was almost all my childhood and my teenagehood. At least I was gifted with a super imagination.
It allowed me to escape my cruel reality that lived in the shadows everyday- an anxiety so crippling as a result of my childhood abuse. I never felt safe. Never loved or good enough.
My only choice was this escape my fantasy world brought me.
I kept running away from facing my pain until one day I got to the point that I had nowhere to run to, even my imaginary world couldn’t help me anymore.
I had to do something- being in survival mode was too exhausting.
I knew that I hadn't come to this world only to suffer and struggle and die.
I wanted to experience peace and happiness and looking back, I don’t know how that spark of hope stayed alive in me, but it did.
That spark drove me to search and search and search some more.
I educated myself on anxiety, and I worked on millions of my dark inner shadows that were
making life living hell for me.
I tried so many different modalities to try to heal the pain – traditional talk therapy, yoga and meditation, breath work, to name a few, and finally #Hypnotherapy and #EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
I stumbled, I fell, but I never gave up.
I kept moving forward towards my dream future while I was working on my painful past.
Eventually the pain started to fade away. And, day by day, I began to feel more whole and healed.
The pain I went through is part of what fuels me as a coach today.
I know what it feels like to have big dreams and at the same time suffer from social anxiety, general anxiety, and #CPTSD.
To have that inner chatter telling you contrary and really dis-empowering stories 24/7.
I know all that, I have lived it.
Most of all I see the healing power that we have within us.
I know how to access it.
I want you to know that whatever you have been through and you are going through you don't need to go through it alone.
I invite you to join my free Facebook group.
It's called: A loving community to #support people with Anxiety and CPTSD.
This group is a place of love and support for whatever you're going through.
We share our stories, our challenges and tips and techniques to overcome them.
I hope to see you there, Lovely Soul.
With all my love,
Maryam Milani. PhD