I have suffered with anxiety for most of my adult life,. It’s something I’ve learnt to live with and I know others who suffer from it feel that way too. People who suffer with mental illnesses can seem fine and dandy on the outside but only they know what’s going on, in the inside.
I saw my friend Niraj post recently about anxiety, and it was like he was speaking to his anxiety like it was a person. I like the idea of facing it head on like its a friend or an enemy in my case. The idea seemed so good so I thought I’d take my own spin on it and write my own open letter to my anxiety.
I thought before I get started I would share a little background about my anxiety and where and when it started. My anxiety started (I think) from a major life event that happened when I was younger. And that was a passing of a loved one. I remember feeling sad and worried about what would happen next. But I also remember never really understanding what I was going through. From then on I remember not wanting to stay away from home, not wanting to go on days out without my parents. I felt a sense of worry whenever I wasn’t around them.
This slowly started to fade out as I got older and grew more confident in myself, but as an adult my anxiety seemed to change. It got more intense and felt as though it latched onto other things. I suffered with panic attacks probably everyday for a whole year. And now we get to present time, in 2020. I have more control over my anxiety than I ever have. Which is why I feel so comfortable in talking to my anxiety head on. I’ve come through it and feel as though I know my triggers and know when and why it happens. There is alot less uncertainty around it.
So here is my letter to my anxiety. Let’s see what I choose to say!
I don’t need to introduce myself because you already know who I am. We have been together for a while now. I don’t know the number of years, months or days but we have got to know each other well over the years.
You know what makes me cry, you know what makes me worried and you know what makes me scared. Because you are the one who makes me feel that way. I sometimes wish I never met you, but then often times I’m glad I did. I’ve enjoyed all the times where you have told me I couldn’t do something, and then you then had to watch me do it anyway. There is something very powerful in knowing you had to sit and watch me accomplish something when you told me I’d never could.
I want you to know that you don’t control me. You are not the owner of me and who I am. I want you to know that you shouldn’t get too comfortable. You have outstayed your welcome. All those times you seemed to have won, I showed you time and time again I was the one in control. You knocked me down but I got back up every time. You don’t control me anymore.
I see you sometimes, unexpectedly. Sometimes when I feel as though I’m having a good day. You show up to remind me you’re still there, but you don’t scare me anymore. Not like when I was a kid. I didn’t know what you were, but now I see you for who you are. You are nothing more than a thought in my mind. I can’t smell you, I can’t taste you and I can’t touch you. You are not real. You do not scare me.
One thing I have learnt from our terrible relationship is that I know where we stand with one another.
Anxiety, I am more than what you make me feel.