Here Is Why I Thank My Anxiety

Paul Green
Paul Green

I spend a lot of time complaining about my anxiety—and why wouldn’t I?

Oftentimes, it’s the sole source of my problems, the real facilitator to every detrimental thought I’ve had and the catalyst to every questionable decision I’ve made.

Anxiety is a monster, not big and hulking, but quick and nimble. Unlike big brother Depression, who, burly and dim-witted, instills fear merely by lurking in a corner, anxiety is deft, cunning and calculating. Anxiety waits. It watches. It sees that you’ve been doing well, and it doesn’t like that. Anxiety slips in when you least expect it, wrapping its hand around your heart and squeezing so hard you’re certain it will burst. 

At times, my anxiety is what holds me back from everything I’ve ever wanted to do and the possibility to live in the moment. My anxiety has the ability to rob me of my happiness, and, sly as it is, takes it before I even realize I had it to begin with.

Although I find my anxiety deceitful and conniving, I begrudgingly have to thank it, because, in some ways, it’s saved my otherwise lazy and unmotivated ass. 

Having anxiety is like having a crystal ball; through my anxiety-induced daydreams, I’ve seen all different versions of the future—most of which include working a dead-end job, spending nights on my mother’s couch and penniless—all neatly tied up with a bow called unhappiness.

Now, rationally speaking, I know that it’s highly unlikely that any of the future scenarios that I have concocted are likely to come true; I have aspirations for my future, and I’ve always worked hard to get what I wanted. My anxiety likes to punch rationale in the face, though, and pour its steaming hot lies down its throat.

My anxiety is what drives me; although deluded as those visions of the future may be, they scare me and motivate me to turn Netflix off and apply for graduate school. Anxiety bullies me into believing that I’m not good enough, and I make it my conscious effort to prove it wrong. My anxiety is what pulls me out of bed in the mornings to write, or to go to class, or to go to the gym. As terrible as it may make me feel, anxiety pushes me to finish the things it convinces me I can’t finish.

Anxiety has forced me to become more aware of myself, something I had always actively strayed from doing.

When I jump to grab an opportunity to try something new, I’m acting off the support from the small voice whispering in my ear, reminding me that I’ll regret letting my anxious thoughts keep me from positive experiences.

It’s who I am. Most mornings, I wake up anxious, and continue my day that way. Without my anxiety trying to ruin my life, who would I be?

It’s the worst thing in the world—don’t get me wrong, but I owe a lot of my success to it. I am successful at what I do because I actively try to prove my anxiety wrong, and in that way, I have to say thank you.TC mark

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