My Fear of Failure Created my Successes, and Fueled my Anxiety.

No one tells you the pressure that comes with being successful.

No one tells you how pressure can cause you to resent your successes.

No one tells you the downside to being a student athlete on any type of scholarship.

My anxiety resulted in my successes, but it wasn’t until within the past year that I really came to terms with the fact that my fear of not being successful fueled my anxiety.

In previous posts I have mentioned I am on the track team.

I also am super involved with different organizations, jobs, etc. I would go more into it, but I’m just going to post a photo of my resume because I don’t really like talking about myself in that sense.

 

One of the reasons I’ve done so much stuff before the age of 21 is because growing up my parents did a great job instilling in a great work ethic. My father would tell me, “Work hard, play later,” or the one phrase that has stuck with me to this day is, “As a POC you’ll have to work twice as hard to get anywhere, but as a woman, you’ll have to work three times as hard.”

And I took those thoughts and ran with them.

I always had good grades and did extra-curricular activities, but it wasn’t until I started getting good at throwing that I saw the dark side to success.

After I won my first state championship it all changed.

I wasn’t Alexis Dickerson anymore. I was Alexis Dickerson NCHSAA 3A State Champion.

My family was so proud. I was the first person on my mother’s side to win a state championship. There were talks of scholarships.  My future looked good.

I was used to the pressure. I had always felt like the “Totem” cousin, niece, nephew on both sides.  Not in a “I’m better” mindset just my parents instilled such a good work ethic (and the fear of god of doing something wrong) that I became an overachiever.

Then after I won my second state championship all hell broke loose.

I was the first person on both sides to have won back to back state championships. I was the first person to receive an athletic scholarship. I was the first person to go to school for film.

I was told by family members that they hope they’re kids follow in my footsteps of success. I had family members tell me they’re so proud of me. They’d tell me of the downfalls of my older cousins and that “I was special,” “I’m going to do something,” “I’m going to carry on the family name with success.”

I was everything they’d dreamed me to be.

And then I went to college and I was a small fish in the ocean.

So I decided to join clubs, work, practice, take 18 hour semesters, and volunteer at any chance.

I put my heart and soul into doing what people told me I needed to do to be successful.

And at every family gathering my college life would pop up, and everyone was so happy to hear I was a student athlete. They were so proud, especially when they found out I had made the Dean’s List as well.

I was this mystical unicorn to my family.

And I hated talking about it every fucking moment.

That pressure gets to you.

Especially as a student athlete.

I constantly make the joke that UNCW owns my body for four years, until I graduate. What I didn’t realize that by using my Freshman year to get involved with the on and off campus community the school now owned my image as well.

Even to this day I sometimes get tired, but I have a job to be a role model, especially since I’m a student athlete.

I have worked so hard to be known on campus, that I have an image to uptake. I can’t fuck up. I would disappoint so many people.

But the pressure gets real.

I’ve been told that people wish I was the standard.

But I can barely handle my own standard.

And that fear gets to you.

That fear of failure that caused you to overachieve in high school now reduces you to tears because you feel like you’re letting people down if you don’t succeed.

I would have days that I wouldn’t want to get out of bed, but I would get out of bed and go to practice and class.

I didn’t have the right to not go to a meeting because that wouldn’t look good.

I couldn’t show how low I felt because that would hurt my image.

So I’d keep pushing myself to work harder and do better.

Until I’d break down into tears at night, when I knew I was by myself.

And after years I’m finally getting  myself together mentally.

I’m finally figuring out who I am without my awards.

I’m finally learning to let go of my fear of failure.

I’m finally learning to live my life how my father tells me, “Everything that happens, helps build character.”

I’m finally learning to live my life how my mother tells me, “When one door closes, another window opens.” (I originally thought this was a English-is-not-her first language mistake, but she explained she definitively meant that I would have to climb through a window because life is still hard.)

I still stumble and fall on my face and let my anxiety take over, but I’m trying really hard to be myself and not what everyone wants me to be.

 

P.S. – To Guy (from the last post). I’m sorry. I wasn’t tactful and I apologize. I  was frustrated and decided to be me and be upfront, and forget that that doesn’t work well with other people.

Feelings suck when you don’t trust them.

I honestly don’t have anything crazy to talk about.

I mean I feel like everything has been on the up and up in this ol’ gals life. My meds have settled down with making my face numb (that was a thing) and I have been eating regularly.  I’ve started working out again and I don’t feel like bashing my own skull in.

So I’m going to talk about something I’m a little hesitant about, mostly because it involves bringing another person into the conversation. Someone who happens to be a boy.

A boy.

That I have feelings for?

The story of our date is one that will probably be my go to favorite “how did you meet” story.

Long story short, I met a guy by pretending to be Cthulhu (essentially a sea monster) on Tinder (a “dating” social media app).

Anyway, I met the guy (who I’ll refer to as Guy since I’m not sure if he’ll read this or not) and I felt like we hit it off really well.

Now Guy and I have been talking for quite some time and we would hang out more (or I believe we would), but Guy’s wisdom teeth decided to show up and screw up his mouth. So he’s been out of it and our (my) work schedules make it hard to see each other. And these are obstacles that really do my brain in.

Having anxiety makes talking to a guy for a long period is a struggle at times. The lack of stability, especially in the early stages really does me in because I’m always worried about not coming off as “crazy”. Communication is a huge thing for me, so when there is a lack of communication the irrational thoughts kick in. Like bust through the door, S.W.A.T. team style.

“Why hasn’t he texted back?”

“Maybe he’s ghosting.”

“Don’t text him again. He didn’t respond to the last one.”

“Don’t send that text, you seem like you’re being clingy.”

“He doesn’t need to talk to you everyday.”

“Why does he hang out with his friends but never seems into hanging out with you.”

“You don’t know what’s going through his mind.”

“He could easily message back.”

“He doesn’t like you.”

“Jump ship while you can.”

“Why are you putting so much energy into this, it’s not the same for him.”

“Don’t listen to the thoughts in your head.”

“Do you even like him, or just the idea of him?”

“Why doesn’t he want to see you?”

“Why hasn’t he texted back?”

Now I completely understand his teeth have decided to come in like a wrecking ball, but my irrational thoughts don’t care. And it’s these thoughts that make it hard for me to really want relationships. Now I love the idea of relationships, but the only thing that calms those thoughts is stability (or in this case, going steady.) But obviously that doesn’t make sense for someone you’ve seen a couple of times even though you text and etc a lot.

No one wants to be forced into a relationship and like great bread, it takes time.

But I’m scared.

I’ve been burned before. I’ve put effort into a road only to find out it was a one way street.

But I like this guy and I’m trying really hard to tell the thoughts to shut up. I’m trying really hard to not fall into my own trap and try to smother Guy. I don’t want to come off as crazy. I don’t want to be seen as a mental case.

And it’s so hard and time consuming. I have to double check every thought I have. I have to check every feeling or emotion when it comes to this situation. I have to go over everything I send him to make sure I don’t seem like I’m being crazy. Constantly switching between a “I don’t a give damn what he thinks.” and “Oh I hope he doesn’t think I’m crazy.” mentality.

This is not about playing a mental game with Guy, but with myself. Because when it comes to my feelings, my mind likes to play a lot of cruel jokes on me so I’ve learned to be twice as cautious. And this caution means I tend to not make a lot of effort when it comes to meeting guys because it takes a lot out of me.

And as much as I want to be super upfront about my mental health and be honest of what’s going on in my head, I understand there’s still a stigma against being so open about mental health and it may turn people off.

But Guy hasn’t gone completely MIA, yet.

So maybe that’s a good sign.

Maybe.

I don’t think he’s read the blog yet.

 

 

I thought about killing myself today.

Today I was driving down the road. I noticed the sky was super clear and decided I was going to go to the beach tonight.

I like clear days because that means clear nights, and clear nights mean you can see the stars when you go out to the beach.  (I love going to the beach at night; it’s my favorite place to go to just try and get away from everything for a moment.)

It was after this thought that I remembered a scene from the trailer of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (2017) where one of the soldiers walks into his own watery grave (insert Homer Simpson yelling “NERRRRRRRRRRRRRD!”). And for a moment, I thought of doing the same as the soldier.

I though of going to the beach, walking up and then swimming out into the ocean. Swimming until my body gave out and I would just give up. I imagined the split second of what I would feel when the final burst of not wanting to not die kicked in, and then realized I didn’t care.

Now, this wasn’t the first time I thought about killing myself this week.

Thankfully, I’m in a place where I know I won’t actually commit suicide even if it’s just because I have too many responsibilities to just chuck it all away. I’m currently cat sitting for this woman who lost her husband last year. These cats are part of her recovery, so it would be disrespectful to kill myself and let the cats fend for themselves. I have a cat. I love him, and I would feel ashamed if I killed myself and he actually felt grief because I would never walk up the stairs to my bedroom again.

I have parents who love me and I’m afraid that to some degree, they would feel some guilt over something they had no control over.

There are people who have looked at me for inspiration to get through shit in their lives because they believe (for some unknown reason) that I have my life together.

There’s too much riding on me staying alive.

Yet, a couple nights ago I thought about what would happen if I downed the rest of  my bottle of Trazodone. I was recently prescribed it to help me sleep, and for a moment I wondered would the whole bottle help me sleep forever.

And lately I feel like I’ve been a liar. I’ve been putting on jokes, and witty comments. Talking like normal as to not raise suspicion among the people around me. Telling bits and pieces, but never the whole of what’s really going on. I don’t want to seem like a downer. I don’t want people to reach out to me because they’re worried. I don’t want to feel like people are hanging out with me because they feel sorry for me.

But there are moments when I’m by myself and I want to scrape and crawl my way into my brain. I want the irrational insecurities and fears in my head to go away so badly I just want to rip my skin off. These medications I’m on help stop my body physically reacting to my anxiety, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts that are pounding louder and louder. I have to keep closing doors on them, but after a while I realize that I’m alone. I’m by myself and I can still hear them. They creep through the drafts and whisper doubt into my head. I try to close my eyes and cover my ears but then it’s like they start yelling at me.  I feel like screaming to block them out, but every time I open my mouth it feels like I’m being choked from the inside.  So I curl into a ball inside my own mind and hope the thoughts get bored and go away.

Yet they never do. Or if they do, not for long.

I haven’t really told my friends that I’m really struggling right now. I haven’t told my parents. I don’t like the idea of talking about the topic of my mental health with a guy I like. I haven’t told my job. I haven’t told my coaches.

And here I am, telling the entire world. I guess I’m feeling ballsy tonight.

So instead of going to a friend’s 21st birthday, I’m going to the beach tonight.

But don’t worry, I won’t kill myself.

Because I’m okay. Not really, but I’m working on it.

P.S. Also I’m using this photo because I feel like if I did commit suicide they would use this photo with the caption, “Why?” or “How could this have happened?” Also because I think it’s funny that I’m dressed as an elf, while having an elf attached to my scarf.

Explaining my narcissistic attempt of talking about my mental health.

Hi.

My name is Alexis and I have generalized anxiety disorder.

*Hi Alexis.*

I also have a cat (pictured). His name is Khan.

I’m assuming most of the people reading this are my friends and family who all know me.

But if for some reason if you have stumbled across this, hello!

As I type this, I am a senior studying film studies at UNCW. I also throw for the Woman’s Track and Field team. I feel like with the information I just gave you, you could find me on any social media platform now (or you could go to my social link page when I actually get to updating it, but whichever way floats your boat.)

I guess if you’re reading this you may have a couple questions such as, “What is this?,” “Why is she doing this?,” and “What does ‘I’m a Sad Blob’ even mean?” Well, allow me to answer those questions.

“What is this?”

Well clearly this is a blog. Now that that’s settled, next question.

“Why is she doing this?”

As someone who does not fit into the TV/Movie version of someone who has battled depression and has anxiety (surprisingly, I don’t find myself looking out of windows with just one hand on the glass as much as TV told me I would) I wanted to create a written log of the thoughts I have, or the things I do because my brain believes that all my irrational thoughts hold merit. I want to use this as another way of battling the stigma of talking openly about mental health disorders and living with an invisible disease.

I am also currently working on a documentary focusing on my personal mental health journey. So I guess this is a behind the scenes look before the finished project. Personally, I like this idea of a blog better because at least you all won’t be able to hear me crying. But then you won’t hear me laugh either, so I guess it’s a win/lose situation for us all. As I create more posts hopefully the overall feel of what I’m trying to create becomes more clear.

And now, the final question.

“What does ‘I’m a Sad Blob’ even mean?”

So imagine it’s 2001. You’re actually watching TV, because Netflix and YouTube aren’t things yet. And then you see this commercial.

 

Remember this commercial? It’s all about a sad blob. And two weeks ago my doctor prescribed me Zoloft and my FIRST thought when he said that was this sad blob.

So I’m a Sad Blob.

And this is the first post in my blog.

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