For the longest time I always thought that it was just me who got anxious. I thought I was weird because I spent so much of my time stressing about what I said or did, or what I didn’t say or didn’t do. I analysed every little thing which often resulted in me feeling pretty crap about myself. I thought I was feeling like I was feeling because I was doing something wrong. My anxiety was not only a fear that something would or could happen, it was a fear it already had happened and that there was nothing I could do to change it.
The feeling would come and go, the next one often more intense than the last and despite knowing that the anxiety I felt would eventually pass as the others did before, it never brought much comfort because when I felt like that, I couldn’t imagine feeling any other way ever again. It was like I was hooked up to an intravenous drip- my body, flooded with every and any type of negative thought my mind could muster.
The real challenge for me when it came to my anxiety -and still remains very much a challenge today is that I cannot predict when these attacks will happen as they pretty much come out of nowhere and not for any particular reason either. That’s why I hate anxiety- it’s sneaky and irregular, as though this ugly monster is laying dormant inside me- waiting to attack at any moment.
And the monster doesn’t just live in my head too- it frequents my chest, squeezing it tight until it drops to my stomach where it likes to weave in and out, churning my insides as it goes. It stops me in my tracks, my feet feel heavy, like the ground below is sinking sand and I’m slowly disappearing under the heavy weight inside my head. It takes a lot within me to pull myself together- a strength I know I have because I’ve had it before. A strength I’ve had to find so I can fight back.
That strength? It comes from knowing I’m not alone– from knowing I’m not the odd one out, I’m not battling this solo. It comes from educating myself about anxiety, reading other people’s stories and talking to friends about how I feel. It comes from knowing that what I am feeling isn’t alien- it’s human and it’s okay to feel that way. What’s not okay is to let it take control of who I am, sure it’s a part of who I am but it does not and will not define me. Instead I will use it to develop and discover myself in new ways.
I will grow something beautiful from something ugly and when I look back it will be on a journey full of lessons, heartaches, joys, celebrations, commiserations and special moments that will ultimately lead to my destination in life- quite possibly the very purpose of life itself.