I’m done using my anxiety as a reason not to do things, or as a reason for people to treat me differently.
I’ve always considered my anxiety an obstacle rather than a motivator. If I couldn’t do something, I would automatically say that my anxiety and/or other mental illnesses would be heightened if I did it.
I can’t go to that concert because the crowd is too big, and I hate big crowds. I can’t handle lecture halls at school because 500 people in a room is too many people in one small space. Because people have always been supportive of me trying to maintain the best mental health I can, they would never really press the issue too far once I put my foot down and said no.
I would always warn teachers that I had social anxiety. Even when my medication got me on an even keel, I would make sure to tell them because of the fear that I would have an off day. I’m usually lively in the classroom, and there were days where I would be quiet and shy because of something unrelated that would happen. Once my teachers knew that I had anxiety, they wouldn’t push me to talk, even when I deep down knew that I needed them to. I even wanted them to, because I had good things to say.
Well, those days are over. I’m done giving people a reason to treat me differently. I’m done using my anxiety as an excuse not to do things.
I function best when I’m pushed. I need people to remind me of my fullest potential, not enable me to retreat into my little shell. My little shell of a lifestyle will always be comfortable and appealing to me. I’m a natural introvert, even when I’m talking up a group.
I’d much rather be home, safe in my living room watching some Netflix under a warm blanket.
The idea that I’ve allowed myself to use anxiety as a reason not to do things for so long is appalling to me in so many ways. How much have I missed while sitting in the corner? Who have I failed to meet? What opportunities have I missed out on? How many times have I sat home while I could have been having the time of my life elsewhere?
It is true that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Nothing worth doing in my life has been comfortable for me. I’ve felt so much discomfort in my life that I sometimes ask myself if I have felt some people’s entire life’s worth. Nonetheless, I want to continue feeling that discomfort because it means I’m pushing myself.
So, I’ll no longer be telling teachers about my anxiety unless there’s a legitimate reason to do so. If I don’t want to do something, I’ll be sure it’s because I genuinely do not want to do it, and not because it will make me uncomfortable. I won’t be automatically deflecting issues to my mental state, saying it’s ‘too fragile’ to handle that.
It’s not. I’m not.
I can handle anything I want to.