I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was in the third grade. It has always been a part of my life and will remain that way. There are days where I wish it would leave me in peace. There are nights when it screams at me, intensifying my fears and questions. There are days where I am plagued by it, where I can do nothing but wait it out. But there are also days where I am grateful for it.
I’m not saying anxiety is beautiful. It’s not. I know first hand. It’s painful and scary and it lies to you all the time. Anxiety is a powerful mental illness. And just like depression, it can end up in tragedy.
Millions of people have anxiety. And I know everyone suffers from it in different ways. Everyone has different coping mechanisms. Everyone has their own story. And I know many of you will disagree with me that anxiety can sometimes bring people closer together. But, this is MY experience. This is my story. This is not a generalization on the entire population of my peers that suffer from anxiety.
I’m not here to tell you what YOUR anxiety feels like or looks like. I’m here to talk about MY anxiety in hopes to start a conversation about anxiety and to enforce the notion that EVERYONE is different and EVERY kind of anxiety disorder manifests in different ways.
I have anxiety. But I’m still a person. I’m still worthy of love, just like anybody else. Anybody with any type of mental disorders are lovable and should believe that. Love should never be discriminatory So why should anyone let their mental disorder get in the way of finding love?
For me, my anxiety can be crippling. But on the other hand, it makes me incredible empathetic to anyone and their own kind of suffering. My anxiety makes me think more about people I care about and the individuals I love. It has made me realize that as humans, we all suffer, but we are all still worthy of big and magical love.
I’m a woman with an anxiety disorder. I’ve had my fair share of panic attacks. I’ve had ER visits and mental health days off. I’ve had my body physically become ill from the swirling and whirling of anxious questions and thoughts in my head.
But, I still deserve love, right?
My anxiety is terrible and tiring. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but it doesn’t define how I see myself and how I picture my future.
My anxiety is not beautiful, and it never will be, but it makes me listen. It makes me feel even more strongly when I have a crush, when I’m in love, and when I’m falling out of it. My anxious thoughts make me suffer, but it makes me a better person. Why? It makes me aware that I am human. It makes me aware that everyone is flawed and everyone has parts of themselves that they hate, but they still deserve to find their soulmate. Everyone does!
When I get married, I will listen carefully to my partner. I will communicate effectively, because my anxiety has taught me that lack of communication makes me snowball into a panic.
When I get married, I will be aware that just as I suffer, my partner suffers too. And even if it’s with different disorder or different problems, their pain is still valid. When I get married, I will make sure my partner feels cared for, and loved, despite their imperfections.
When I get married, I will make my partner the happiest man alive. Why? I will make sure he will never feel like he has to hide from me, just as I will never hide my pain from him. I will never judge his anxieties or anything that he tells himself late at night. I will make sure he knows that he is loved, regardless of what he thinks about himself.
For me, I realize that anxiety is really fucking hard. And for my fellow people around the world who suffer from it too, I wish I could take it all away. But as it plagues me, is also makes me a better person. A better human being. One that is more caring. One that is more sensitive towards other people. One that is more understanding. One that listens more clearly.
I don’t want to always think of my anxiety as something that makes me more ugly or more imperfect. Sometimes, I want to believe that it makes me stronger. That it makes me more brave.
And when I find the person who I’m going to marry, I know one thing is for sure. I will not let my anxiety ruin that love. I will let it be. I will nurture myself just as I will nurture my significant other. And I will not judge his mental illnesses or ugly parts in his heart.
I will love him, whole heartedly. And he will love me, my anxiety, and everything that makes me, me.