15 Things I Learned From Living 25 Years With Anxiety

15 Things I Learned From Living 25 Years With Anxiety

Everyone has a different experience with anxiety. This is mine.

1. There are going to be days where my anxiety is not an issue and days when it cripples me, keeping me locked inside of my bedroom in fear of answering the phone. When those bad days arrive, it does not mean I am suffering from a setback. It does not mean all of my progress is ruined. Those days are only hurdles I have to overcome. For twenty-four hours I might go through hell, but the next twenty-four hours might be okay again. It’s impossible to tell.

2. Anxiety is a part of my identity — but it is not my entire identity. I am not just someone with anxiety. I am also someone with tattoos, someone who can write, someone with a big heart, someone who loves animals. My anxiety is not all of me.

3. There is no reason to pretend I’m fine around the people who care the most about me. I do not have to hide my anxiety from them. Even though they might not understand exactly what I am experiencing, they will be there to support me.

4. Anxiety has not prevented me from forming stable relationships. Even though I might feel like I am a bad girlfriend, a bad daughter, a bad friend, those are only lies my anxiety is whispering to me. I am loved. 

5. What anxiety tells me and the truth are two completely different things. My friends do not hate me. My coworkers do not look down on me. My parents are not ashamed of me. Just because I have a hunch about how someone feels does not mean they actually feel that way.

6. I am not as alone as I sometimes feel. There are friends, family members, and countless celebrities who are struggling with anxiety too. I am not the only one.

7. Even though anxiety makes it exponentially harder to do simple things like send an email and order pizza, I am still capable of doing those things. I am not powerless.

8. No matter how much love someone gives me, no matter how worthy they are of my trust, there is always going to be a part of me that wonders whether they are lying to me, whether they are tired of me, whether they are planning to leave me. When those thoughts arise, I have to remember it is only my anxiety talking.

9. Anxiety does not make me weak. The fact that I have dealt with it for so long and am still standing proves the opposite. It proves I am strong.

10. Hating myself is only giving anxiety what it wants. I need to continue working on learning to love myself even when it feels like there is nothing about myself to love.

11. Most of the time, the expectation is the worst part. The expectation of failure. The expectation of embarrassment. The expectation of awkwardness. Before giving a speech or going on a first date, I am at my worst. In the moment, it usually is not that bad.

12. My mental health deserves to come first. It is just as important as my physical health.

13. I do not suck. Anxiety sucks.

14. Anxiety does not have to make sense. Some days, I will become anxious when there is absolutely nothing for me to worry about. Sometimes, I will become anxious around the people who bring me the most comfort. There is not always a logical reason behind the feeling.

15. I have the strength to fight against my anxiety. I might not win every single battle — but I will never give up. Thought Catalog Logo Mark