Mmmm, GOOD MORNING! There’s nothing like waking up feeling super refreshed after a long night of anxiety-induced insomnia, am I right?! I know the drill well. Your thoughts usually start out simple. What am I wearing tomorrow? Would I rather sleep later or get up early and work out? WAIT, is it an office birthday tomorrow? Oh my GOD, WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW?! Thus begins a snowball effect into something much bigger than you can seemingly handle. Panic strikes, minor issues develop into major crises and you spin into an endless cycle of unproductive, irrational thoughts. Don’t worry though, you still have time to check the clock every 15 minutes to further heighten your despair by counting every minute of sleep you are currently losing.
This is my good friend Anxiety. I call Anxiety my friend because I have decided to invite it to my table instead of telling it to sit somewhere else. Anxiety is very intimidating, so this was obviously not an easy choice. In fact, I let Anxiety bully the shit out of me until recently. Anxiety and I were fighting in such a vicious war that I suffered permanent physical and mental wounds. Trumped every time, I was defeated, weak, and frankly annoyed by its power. But once I finally decided I had enough emotional scarring for one lifetime, I was ready to make a change. My pride and ego were certainly not doing anything to assist me, so I boldly told them to shut up and I asked for help. The day I asked for help was the euphoric day that Anxiety waved its white flag, and we made peace.
Anxiety may not be the friend I want to spend every day with, but we live so close to each other that it’s seemingly impossible to avoid daily encounters. So one day, I had a nice chat with Anxiety over coffee. That day, I came up with the three things I always needed to remember when I was afraid to ask for help, and I’d like to share them with you now:
1) It is not shameful.
No matter what you are going through – depression, addiction, anxiety, PTSD, or even issues that feel so much smaller – asking for help is always welcomed. And guess what?! If the person you initially ask is unwilling, judgmental, unfair, or simply unhelpful, ask someone else. Don’t quit a search just because you cannot find your answer immediately. You most likely will not. These are complicated feelings that require specific attention and knowledge. The only shame you can feel in all of this would come from the stubbornness to avoid help when it is needed.
2) You will feel better.
Once you have invested time in finding the correct physician, therapist, friend, family member, teacher, employer, or whoever it may be, they will listen, they will HEAR you, and they will find a way to help you heal. Even these first baby steps can unleash a strength within you that you have not seen in a very long time. This will lead to bigger accomplishments, clearer answers, and a more comfortable and freeing existence. With everything else we have on our day-to-day plates, why not choose to work towards joy when we can?
3) You are always worth it.
Above anything else, there is nothing more crucial than being aware of your self-worth. Unfortunately, I have come to find that Anxiety is a very loyal friend. It’s a friend that sticks around no matter what. Despite its constant need to hang, you can stay true to your pact and your dedication to channel these frustrating confrontations into something productive and stimulating. YOU are the main character of your movie. You have been put on this earth to play the role of you and no one else can do it better. So OWN that part, be your own protagonist. Rise above your conflict and bravely ask for help when you need it. Main characters do not let themselves precariously dangle in their conflict for too long. A resolution is the next step. Find it. Grab it. It’s yours.