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  • Writer's pictureHannah Larkin

A fear of growing up.

I’ve always struggled with growing up, the fear of it and all the change it brings. However, as I’ve been unwell, this has definitely worsened and I can confidently say I have regressed in some areas of development and maturity as they years have gone by.

On one hand, I have a lot of maturity and understanding of the world due to going through things most my age haven’t, but on another, I am wired like an 8 year old, in my emotions, behvaiour and processing. Some of this comes from trauma and spending years out of education/a home environment but another part is just from a deep rooted fear of growing up, and therefore forcing myself to almost go backwards mentally, despite not being able to do anything about the ticking clock.

*At one very low point, I literally had to be told what to do by my Mum.How to fill my time, when to go on a walk, when to start drinking my supplement drink. It was bad, I couldn’t function without my hand being held through every activity and the distress levels I could reach were not ones of an adult. Not all of this behaviour stemmed from fear of growing up but it definelty played a part, that need for someone to just take full control because I just could not, for the life of me, handle another thing to think about.

This need to stay young has come out both in my behaviour/mentally/emotionally and also physically regarding day to day tasks and understanding.

My reaction to something negative can be explosive, my joy is overly emotive and my anger is turbulent and short lived yet intense. I get jealous easily, can struggle to see the good and can come across very selfish. And I can say that all now on reflection, as I do have the mentally ability to be think maturely, but struggle to not act incredibly child like in any of these situations. A part of it is that I am unwell and that’s obviously different to lacking maturity etc and hopefully will be addressed with therapy but I greatly believe part of me just needs to face things and grow up a bit, as uncomfertable as that feels.

As I said, it’s not just emotionally but practically too. The finances, relationships, work, understanding of the world and my place in it. I’m embarrassed to say I’m yet to ever hold down a job or know how to fill a car up with petrol (although the latter I don’t feel I’m missing out on anyway!). Even the thought of all these things, sends me into a bit of a panic, and I find myself craving the simplicity of childhood again.

The thought of hanging to ‘adult’, to handle day to day emotionally and practically in an independent fashion, terrifies me. So what do I do? Stick my head in the sand and hope it all goes away, aka, turn to my eating disorder/illnesses. And short term, it certainly works. When your ill, everything takes a back seat. No one’s going to pressure you to study or find work or work on your ‘emotional scope’. But it’s still there, to some extent, piling up. And the pile keeps growing, leaving me with a huge amount of catch up to do alongside a tiresome recovery. It’s really not very enticing or motivating I tell you that!

Im currently trying to break it down, so what’s manageable, what isn’t so terrifying. I’m really working on myself, taking more ownership for when I mess up, seeing situations for what they are rather than what they might be and trying to calm the explosive reactions. I’m also hoping to start working two days a week if I can keep myself stable enough and find an employer who is willing to take a rather large risk on me!

What’s slightly ironic, is there’s a small part of me that wants to jump to ‘fully functional memebet of society’ and have it all figured out and be independaby. Maybe that’s little Hannah still peeping through, the one who liked to pick her own outfits, brush her own hair and marched ahead of everyone else. She’s still in there somewhere, hopefully she’ll march to the front, in more ways than one, again soon. Big girl pants time!!!

*shoutout to my mum for putting up with me through all that, heroic behaviour 💙

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