For years, my anxiety went un-diagnosed, and I believed I was just irrational or crazy because no one around me seemed to be struggling the way I was. It took a long time for me to understand my condition, but just putting a name to it has helped me fight it. Anxiety sucks, and even though it’s an unwelcome and permanent part of my life, I’ve learned to adapt to it. Here is an open letter to my anxiety:
- I never asked for you. I never asked to be this person who spins out in my head over every minor detail of my life. I didn’t want to worry about everything. I didn’t want to imagine all the worst case scenarios. I wanted to enjoy my life, carefree and oblivious to the endless possibilities of terrible things that can happen along the way. Who invited you? Why did you choose me? Because I never chose you.
- But I’m grateful for what you’ve taught me. Even though you’re an unwelcome pain in my ass, you’re also the reason I am who I am in so many ways. You’re the reason I’ve become stronger and the reason I’ve learned about myself. You’re the reason I understand my own mind, and in understanding my own mind, I understand you, and I know how to beat the ways you try to manipulate my thoughts.
- You’ve made life difficult. I’ve had horrific breakup experiences and awful reactions to day-to-day challenges that everyone faces, only because of you, they’re much harder to deal with. Why couldn’t you just let me react like a normal person? I’ve never known normal; I’ve only known you. I’ve only known obsession and fear. I’ve only known to hate the unknown.
- You made me more compassionate. There are some positives to you. Even though you’ve burdened my life in more ways than one, you’ve also opened my eyes to mental illnesses others suffer from intensely. I’ve learned to be empathetic. I’ve learned not to label other people “just crazy” or “psychotic” because I know their struggles are real, and very hard to overcome.
- I’m not in denial anymore. I no longer feel shame in the fact that you’re a real part of my life. You’re a part of who I am and a part of the life journey I was meant to take. I’m not embarrassed anymore. You tried to defeat me, but the joke’s on you, because I’ve embraced you as my own. I’m not afraid to say you’re in my life.
- I’ve accepted this is who I am. I learned that the only way I could be truly happy again in life was to accept that you will always be there, and I’ll just need to better nurture you and care about myself to keep you from wreaking havoc in my life. I know you inside out now, and I know how to co-exist with you lingering constantly in my mind.
- You’ll never destroy me. You might have thought you almost had me, but the longer you’re here, the stronger I become. You’ll never take me down with you, and sooner or later, you’re going to accept your demise. Because even though you’ve made strong appearances, I always fight back, and I’ll never back down when you try to regain control. Just remember, every time you try to resurface, I’m going to be even stronger than the last time, so bring it on.
- I’ll always win. Trust me when I say that I studied my enemy. I’ve formed my alliances and sought help to know what defenses I would need to bring when I reached my enemy lines. I’m ready for battle anytime and you should know I’ve got an army of resources. You might make me weak, but you’ll never take me with you. I’ve already won, but if you try to go to battle again, I’ll be ready for you and ready to wave my victory flag.