The X

You can’t solve a problem unless you know what the problem is. It’s a simple premise of life. We all know it, we’ve all heard it. Sometimes the problem is finding the problem. You can’t find the x in the equation. And once you finally get it, you have to figure out how to plug it into the equation to find out what 8x + 5 – 4x  = 16 even means.

So I lived my life for a long time, the same way, without trying to find x. Without even knowing there was an x to find. I thought everybody’s brain was the same as mine – or, I was too busy thinking that I didn’t stop to question if everybody’s brain was like mine. If everybody’s mind raced all the time. If they had late night thoughts every few week where they cried because they thought about their parents dying. If they had dreams that two of their best friends were standing in front of them, and they had to shoot one – so they turned the gun on themselves. If they had a fight with someone and repeatedly scrolled back through every text exchanged (every 3 hours or so) for days because they were overwhelmed with thoughts of being a burden or crippled with the guilt of being the one feeling conflict in the first place.

I didn’t realize there was an x until it started affecting the way I lived my life. Until I had to leave school because I felt like I couldn’t breathe sitting next to someone in math class. Until I realized that the panic attack / crying fit I just had was the third one that week, over the same thing. Until “let it go” wasn’t enough. Until I thought that maybe life wasn’t worth the 10 minutes of straight agonizing pain that I sat through one afternoon. And then I found the x. I always knew I kind of had anxiety, but you know you really have it when you have to seek treatment. So once I found the x, I had to ask my mom if we could think about finding a therapist. It was hard, and it was a terrifying prospect – especially since I’m someone who hates asking for help. I hate admitting that I’m wrong to someone’s face, but on the inside I know when I am and it tears me up. Great combination, huh? Anyway, after a few weeks I finally got up the nerve to mention it and get the ball rolling. But I did. And progress feels amazing.

So the moral of the story is that you have to find the x. If you never find x, you won’t get better. And I can tell you from experience that life without knowing x is not life. It can be so hard to find x. To admit it, to bare your soul – even to yourself – and figure out what’s wrong. But it is worth it, and you will not regret it. You might wish that x wasn’t x, or that there was no x, but there is, and you found it! Now you can fix it.

You will never regret finding the x.



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