AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Abigail De Souza and anxiety and panic attacks made last year the worst year of my life.
I was born in Port of Spain General Hospital and have never lived anywhere else in my life but the Woodbrook/St James area.
Girl days in St James/Woodbrook were, for me, more like boy days. I was a tomboy. When I got older, I started liking makeup and dressing up and that stuff.
I don’t have a family yet, but I have a boyfriend, Alejandro Ortero.
He has Venezuelan roots but he didn’t arrive recently, he was born here. He’s at UWI.
Hopefully we’ll have a family of our own soon. I love kids.I always tell him, “I have baby fever.” But he tells me, “No, you have to wait until we’re married. We don’t have money for that yet.”
I went to Newtown Girls’ RC, then to Bishop Anstey High School, which I finished three or four years ago.
I planned to stay in my first job a year, but I’ve stayed on longer.
My original career path was art, but I’ve always loved playing with little kids. They’re so innocent and don’t judge anyone. So I finally decided to apply to do a two-year part-time early childhood education/care on Saturdays.
I like going to the gym. I go two or three times a week. Plus my boyfriend has a gym at his house, so we work out every Saturday.
Well, at his parents’house; if he had a house, we’d probably have the kids already.
I do part-time modelling sometimes. On the side.
I really like social media but I LOVE YouTube. I’ll watch YouTube videos for hours cosy in my bed.
I love being in nature and I adore the beach. Like, if I could, I’d be at the beach in a bikini all the time. I LOVE tanning.
I’m raised Pentecostal but I have never been able to figure out why anyone should care about LGBTQI people. I would never judge anyone and why would I want to say what anyone else could do? It has nothing to do with me!
In my church, they tell us not to judge LGBTQ people. Pray for them but don’t judge them.
I have friends who are bisexual and gay. Transgender people are, like, normal regular people.
I don’t get why people are so judgmental. You don’t have to do (sleep with another man) yourself, so why do you care so much? It makes absolutely no sense to me!
Religion is a man-made thing.
I lost a friend. She got shot in Carenage. Wrong place, wrong time.
And then I heard about Raymond Choo Kong.
It’s just so sad. You don’t know what’s going to happen.
I sometimes worry that I might feel I want to take care of kids, but, when I actually get into it, I mightn’t like it at all.
Jobs are that way. And I like so many different things, I wonder if I’ll stay with it, or just like it for a period of time.
But I think I’m going to love it.
If I could live in Tobago, I would. It’s like a complete release as soon as you get off the plane. Stress-free!
I worry about the crime all the time. I don’t walk home from work, even though it’s nearby. I get picked up. Even the short walk to get picked up, I feel nervous, because people have been robbed right in front of the place I work!
It’s scary when cars slow down to soot me. I love Trinidad, but there are a few people in the country who make it a problem.
Last year was the worst year of my life. I had anxiety and depression to the point where I had to be hospitalised, it was so bad.
I felt so alone. I had suicidal thoughts. Every day of my life was like torture. I had to start working part-time, take time off work, it was so bad.
I’d wake up and think, “God, what if I get cancer? What if I have cancer right now?” What if I’m walking down the road and get hit by a car? What if my mom dies tomorrow?”
These weird thoughts would come into my mind constantly and I could not silence them.
I started seeing a therapist and doing a bunch of different things to get over the feeling. I realised that a lot of people have those feelings and can’t get over them and have to live their entire lives with them! I can’t understand how they could live like that! I had it for, like, two months, three months at the most, chronic anxiety, throwing up, fainting, shaking with fright, dizzy spell.
But I’m good now, without meds. Meditation literally made the difference.
I started watching this guy, Anxiety Guy, on YouTube. He gave so many tips, what to change in your life, what diets to follow. I learned about meditation from YouTube videos – I think that must be why I like YouTube so much.
And changing my diet. Juicing.
More exercise. I started doing yoga every day, like I did a 30-day yoga challenge, and, eventually, things started getting better.
The biggest thing was meditation. You can’t panic if you’re following your breath; of course, you can’t follow your breath if you’re panicking!
It’s just shocking to me that so many people, especially teens, go through this kind of anxiety and depression. I don’t understand why we get this.
It was the weirdest, strangest time of my life and I don’t quite know how I got out of it. Imagine, that’s just from stress! I was like, “This is why people do drugs!”
A Trini, to me, is supposed to be pleasant and cheerful and happy because we’re in a Caribbean island. We’re supposed to like to party and lime and have fun.
But sometimes that’s not what we are. Everything is supposed to be good – but everything is often not good.
TT is my home and I love it and that’s why I never left the country to go study anywhere. I’ve travelled to the States and stuff, but I would never leave here.
Read the full version of this feature on Wednesday at www.BCPires.com