This is an open letter to the anxiety that lives inside of me.
You lurk deep inside me, always there but not usually visible to others. I can hide you well, I have had a lot of practise. I was only 14 when you first reared your ugly head but maybe you had always been part of me, lying dormant. At first I didn’t know what you were, I just felt that I had to hide you, that I had to be “normal”. Now, nearly 10 years on, I know exactly what you are but it doesn’t make you much easier. Sometimes I find it hard to separate myself from you and that frustrates me. I’m a person, not a mental health condition!
I hate what you have done to me. I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if you had never entered it. But that is fruitless because I can’t change the past. But still I hate you, for several reasons:
- I hate how you make me feel so weak. The fact that I fight you on a daily basis should prove that I am strong but it doesn’t. Over the last year I have taken steps to reduce you. I’ve been mostly successful but this journey has shown me how deeply rooted you are and how much further I have to go.
- I hate that you alienate me from my friends and family. They try to be supportive but they don’t understand, how can they when they haven’t experienced you for themselves? Despite this I pray they never find out for themselves. I wouldn’t wish you on my worst enemy.
- I hate how you make things that should be enjoyable so draining. Holidays, trips to theatres, cinemas and concerts. I should enjoy these things, I did used to enjoy these things. I still do to a certain extent but it is in these public situations that I fear you the most. Fear can be exhausting.
- I hate how isolated you make me feel. Stupid really, when so many people experience anxiety or another mental health problem at some point in their life. Why do you make me feel like such an outsider?!
But I have some bad news for you. I am stronger than you think! I will keep fighting you, keep reducing you and keep reminding myself that I can do it! You get inside my head and make me think I’m pathetic but I am going to prove to you, myself and anyone else who doubts me that I can beat you! I have low days but I always bounce back.
Now its your turn to be afraid because I am coming for you!