There are days when I feel weak because my anxiety keeps me chained to my bedroom. On those days, I cannot summon up enough strength to send a text to let my friends know I am going to be bailing on our dinner plans, let alone actually get dressed and showered and decide to show up.
My anxiety has tricked me into believing I am frail and fragile. That I cannot handle half of the bullshit the world is bound to throw at me. But the truth is that my anxiety has actually forced me to become stronger.
Sure, there are days when leaving the house becomes a chore too big for me to take on, but there are other days when I fight through the instinct to stay inside. Days when I leave my comfort zone, even though my throat feels swollen and my heartbeat is hammering inside my chest.
I might not give myself enough credit for having a conversation with a stranger because I stumbled over my words or for driving down the highway because another driver beeped at me — but the important part is that I did something I was terrified to do. I was brave enough, strong enough, badass enough to reach my destination, even if there were bumps along the road.
Sure, there have been times when I asked my mother to make an appointment for me or asked my friends to order my food so I didn’t have to speak to the waitress. But there have also been times when I asked a cashier where to find a certain item. Times when I volunteered to speak during a meeting. Times when I personally called the pizza parlor instead of using an app. Times when I texted my crush first. Those things might not seem like a big deal to some people — but they are accomplishments worth celebrating to me.
I am allowed to be excited about answering phone calls instead of letting them go to voicemail or showing up at a party for an hour instead of turning down the invitation completely. I am allowed to be proud of myself for growing a tiny bit each and every day, even if it feels like I am moving backward at times.
Because of my anxiety, I have had to be strong. Otherwise I would get nothing done. I never would have graduated. I never would have gotten a job. I never would have made any friends. I never would have made it to this point in my life.
If I let my anxiety win, I would spend every single day hiding beneath the covers of my bed, staring at a laptop screen until it was time to fall asleep again. But that is not how I spend most of my days. Most of my days, I am productive. I am functioning. I am even thriving.
I am consistently outside of my comfort zone, breathing heavy and hiding my shaking hands, but that does not make me weak. That takes a shit-ton of strength.