I’ve had a relationship with anxiety longer than any. It has followed me through relationships, jobs, friendships, and heartbreak. Sometimes I feel like I was born anxious because it feels so natural. It’s a part of me, and therefore it has taught me a few things that I believe are quite powerful.
1. You don’t always win. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for kicking my anxiety to the curb most days, using all my strategies and calming it down. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I stop fighting it. Sometimes I am so exhausted of fighting my own brain that I let the anxiety rush over my like waves in the ocean. My breath catches, my feet spring out in front of me and I’m on my butt. Crying. It’s okay though, losing some days makes winning most days so rewarding. It makes the days that you stand tall against the wave that much better. To know how good winning feels you must lose. Anxiety taught me that.
2. Your journey is your own. I have no shame about my anxiety, I have it, I live it and I’m proud of my struggle. This isn’t the case for everyone and that’s okay. Anxiety showed me first-hand how beautiful someone’s journey can be. It shows me other people’s in a special light, I see all the beauty in everyone else and wish I could cheer them to victory. You see, I am writing my own story, and no matter how I compare it to someone else, mine is still breathtaking. It is full of love, laughter, failure, and tears and that’s okay. It is okay to love your life for the lack of perfection not despite of it. Anxiety taught me that.
3. It’s okay to relax for a bit. Not settling is one of the top challenges with my anxiety. I made it to the first step, it’s safe and comfortable here, my anxiety tells me to stay. While I rarely listen to this and love pushing to that next feat. Sometimes, staying is the best choice and where you should be at that time in your life. There isn’t always a reason to keep going, to keep searching and to continue to make pro/con lists. Don’t get me wrong, try your best and be happy, but don’t let the pressure of “what could be” stop you from enjoying where you are right now. Succeeding is gratifying and joyful but being content with where you are at some point is the goal. Anxiety taught me that.
4. Life goes on. Here we go again, I’ve said something else that causes me to shove my foot in my mouth, I drunk texted my ex-boyfriend, I showed up late to work. Life is full of moments that make you say “oh $@#&, did I really just do that”. Anxiety will tell you it’s the end of the world. It puts irrational fears in your head about getting fired and your ex-boyfriend screaming at you in public. Things that your actions would never cause, but things that you stress and cry about anyway. Until you realize that tomorrow happened. The sun came out, life moved on regardless of your mistake, and you’re good. Not having the fear of what could happen means I never would’ve realized how good it feels to let it go. Anxiety taught me that.
5. You can win. I strongly believe people with anxiety are superheroes. Not just because we hide behind masks, but because we never give up. It’s not an option. Sure, you can have your days or hours here and there but overall, anxiety never wins. Even the days it does, you wake up the next day ready to fight and beat it again. It takes a while but eventually you learn that you win every day with anxiety. A little battle is all it takes to slowly chip away its hold of you. Anxiety taught me that.
It’s hard to take something that has had such negative effects on my life as a source of strength, but that’s how you win. You show up with your come get me face and you win. So, hold your head up my love, you got this.