A Letter To Those Struggling With Anxiety (And To Their Loved Ones)

Flickr / emma.kate
Flickr / emma.kate

You’ve felt like your heart was going to beat right out of your chest. Your mind has raced so fast that you felt as if your thoughts were physically whirling around the outside of your head. Everything inside of you is sped up to the point where you feel like you’ve lost all control. Parts of your body seem to be frozen, almost numb. You feel like at any given moment you might pass out. You tell your doctor what is happening, and before you can even finish explaining yourself they hand you a prescription. You try to explain this feeling to your friends or your loved ones, and while they try to understand, they just sort of stare at you—or worse say, “You just need to stop worrying.”

I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Been there — oh boy, have I been there. I believe the things that those of us that have suffered or still suffer from anxiety have in common is this: we are wonderful people with very much to offer. We have some of the biggest hearts in this world. We believe that we can take on more than we can handle—but we do it with a smile because we want the world to perceive us as “being in control”. We want to make others happy even if that means sacrificing a little of our own happiness in the process. We are modest. We are incredibly creative and intelligent which can work to our disadvantage especially when it comes to our racing thoughts. All of these things are gifts that we posses. However, when we begin to experience such terrible symptoms is when we realize that maybe the wonderful things we thought we were doing were actually hindering us. We take, and we take, and we take on the problems of the world, and carry it on our backs…and in our minds…and in our hearts. No wonder your mind races! No wonder your heart is pounding a mile a minute! Your body is telling you to wake up and realize that what you were doing before is not working. Something needs to change.

We need to realize that we are not superheroes. We are human, and while we think that we can make everyone in this life happy, the truth is we cannot. And that’s okay. You are allowed to say no without giving an explanation. You are allowed to take time for yourself without feeling guilty. Don’t apologize for something you didn’t do. Ask for help when you need it. You already posses the gifts, but instead of turning them inward—turn them outward and watch how your life changes right before your very eyes.

I believe that anxiety is a gift. I can’t believe I’m even saying that given the amount of times I thought that it would actually kill me. The amount of times I sat on the floor wondering how I got here, and how I would ever get myself out. I believe that there is a reason I needed to go through such an unpleasant experience. Perhaps it was to show myself that I needed to take a step back and stop taking on more than I could handle. Perhaps it was so that I could write this letter and potentially show at least one person that they too can get through this. Perhaps it was so I could see the essence of all worry comes down to either being too much in the future, or too much in the past. Whatever it was, I know that I am no longer the person that I was prior to this experience, and that’s a beautiful thing. I have gained perspectives I was only able to understand by going through this.

Choose to use your fears to your advantage—use them to propel yourself forward. Manifest that energy into something that will take you where you need to go. Life is not meant to be walked through in constant fear and worry. We were meant to do great things, and each day on this earth is truly a blessing. Look for the positivity—the light—in the darkest of days. I promise you its there if you’re willing to look for it. You can make it through anything—one breath at a time. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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