This is my own personal opinion and experience struggling with anxiety. This article in no way is meant to romanticize anxiety or any other mental illness.
I know more than anyone that anxiety can suck your soul out. It’s exhausting. It’s mentally and physically draining. It can be debilitating. It is so hard to deal with. It’s so much more than just being stressed. It’s so much more than just ‘freaking out’ once in a while.
I know. It is ugly. It’s dark. It’s a rain cloud that hangs over your head 24/7. It’s a tapping on the window that never stops. It’s a giant stepping over you, every chance it gets.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I HATE anxiety. It’s not like I’m pleased. I’m not ecstatic that my brain is chemically imbalanced. I’m not shouting from the rooftops that ‘YAY I HAVE ANXIETY PEOPLE, LOOK AT ME’.
I could write a book on how anxiety affects me daily. It makes me think like I’m the worst employee. It makes me think like I’m a bad friend and bad person. It makes me think that I don’t deserve what I have because my anxiety tells me I don’t work hard enough. It is always slamming and hammering on the back of mind. Always haunting me.
This is my story on anxiety. This is my experience and my opinion. I’m not saying you should love your anxiety. I’m saying that you should be proud of yourself for having it, and living through it.
Honestly, you should be proud of yourself for having this illness and having the ability and strength within you to wake up each day and breathe. You should be proud that even when you are breaking, you’re still living.
You should be proud of yourself for being able to live even through the darkest of days. You should love yourself even more, because you are strong. And you are brave. You should love yourself even more, because while you have a monster inside of your brain, you will never let it kill you.
You see, the thing about anxiety is that, it makes me love myself more than I thought possible. Even through the dark days where I feel like I’m dying. Even with all the panic attacks and ER visits. It makes me proud of myself for being able to go throughout my day to day life without collapsing. And when I do collapse, I have the bravery to ask for help. I have the strength inside of myself to get through it. Second by second. Minute by minute. Day by day. Month by month.
Sometimes, I can go through months without having any symptoms. But it always, and I mean always comes back. And when it does? I have the tools inside of myself to stand up again. And even when I don’t have the strength, I have the strength of others to help me climb over the mountain.
Look, I wish with all of my heart that I didn’t have to deal with this debilitating illness. But anxiety makes me stronger. And without it? I don’t think I’d be as fierce and as courageous as I am today.
I remind myself that I am not defined by it. It reminds me that I’m stronger than the voices in my head. And it reminds me that anxiety will never ever become more powerful than me. Anxiety gives me a deeper insight into who I am. It teaches me every day that I am human. It gives me lessons that I never would have learned without it.
And I know it’s more than just a chore to have anxiety. It’s like walking through a snowstorm barefoot. It’s like having to stand through a tornado without having anything to hold onto. But it’s who I am. It’s what makes me, me.
So if you have anxiety, believe me when I say I understand. I get it. I know that you hate it. I get that you wish it would go away. I know that you despise it. I know that you feel weak because you have it.
But you’re anything but weak. You cannot let anxiety win. You cannot let this illness run your life. Know that you run your life. Know that you are in control.
Know that anxiety will never be more powerful than you. And please know that you are braver and more beautiful than anything that comes your way. You can do this. Anxiety has nothing on you.