To The Friends In My Life: This Is What You Need To Know About My Anxiety
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To The Friends In My Life: This Is What You Need To Know About My Anxiety

Anxiety has a way of ruining good things that happen to me. Even when I’m happy, it comes creeping on me like dark overcast clouds over my sunny day. I convince myself that too much happiness is suspicious, and if I’m happy right now, it’s because something terrible is soon to happen. Anxiety is not rational. Anxiety is knowing all about the logic of something being impossible to happen and still convincing yourself that there is a crack somewhere in that logic and that the 1-in-a-million chance of something bad happening will definitely happen to you.

Anxiety also comes with an overthinking mind. It’s an intense mind that never stops thinking, so much it becomes a form of torture. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night sweating, thinking of the things I could have done better, like that one text a few months ago that maybe I should have worded slightly differently.

My anxiety doesn’t only affect me, it affects the people around me too. Anxiety makes my relationships harder. I’m thankful for the friends in my life who stay. I want them to know that it means the world to me because I know I can be hard to love sometimes. I can be paranoid, and too sensitive — too much, too me. If I see changes in a friend’s behavior, I come up with tons of hypothetical scenarios that would explain why they hate me right now, because if they didn’t answer my text yet, clearly they do hate me. I skip right past the logical explanation that they’re just busy, or feeling down about something wholly unrelated to me. I convince myself that they’re mad, that I screwed up, and that they’ve finally had enough of my overthinking mind. I live in constant fear of losing the people I love. I care so much that just knowing that there’s a possibility that good things could end is unbearable to me.

My anxiety is trying to protect me. It’s preparing me for the worst so I have a chance to grab a parachute to soften the fall. One of my downfalls, though, is that to prevent potential heartbreak, I distance myself from the people I love. It ends up affecting the relationship, even though in reality there was nothing to protect myself against to begin with. My anxiety and I, we’ve gone through a lot together, and sometimes it’s difficult for us to believe that people can stay even when we’re not our best self. It’s difficult for us to believe that there are people that actually stay through storms that life throws at us. It feels like utopia to believe that forever-friends do exist and that they can happen to us too. But forever-friends exist, and for them I’m thankful.

I know my need for reassurance can come across as needy and I feel the need to apologize for it. But I want my friends to know that this isn’t something I can control yet, and I hate this about myself too. I, better than anyone, know how incredibly annoying an overactive mind is. I live with it, and, believe me, I wish I’d found the “off” button already. Above all, I want my friends to know that having them by my side is the most beautiful gift that a girl like me, a girl with anxiety, could ask for. To the friends who stay when I don’t even love myself, thank you.

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Founder of The Autism Cafe, writer, photographer, mother, and author of All Across The Spectrum. Follow Eileen on Instagram or read more articles from Eileen on Thought Catalog.