An Open Letter To My Anxiety

Artem Kovalev / Unsplash

Dear Anxiety,

I would truly appreciate it if you would stop making my life a constant roller coaster of emotional chaos. You come and you go as you please. You really know how to make a moment go from perfection to pure disaster in a matter of minutes. I would also appreciate it if you would stop creating problems. You make up ridiculous scenarios in my head that probably will never happen, but you have me believing that they certainly could (and probably will) happen. I fear uncertainty because of you, I fear others letting me down, and even more so, I fear I’ll let myself down. But it is you who lets that fear seep into my thoughts.

On days when your presence is strong, you make my mind suffer and my heart heavy with distress. Even if I’m lying in the arms of someone I love, you still, somehow, find a way to make me feel like I’m completely alone. Alone in this world, alone in my mind, drowning in my thoughts, unable to escape the darkness that washes over me. And at your worst, you have the power to make me feel hopeless and bring tears to my eyes, the sadness overcomes me. You are able to fill me with anger, blur my sense of reason, and turn me into someone I hardly recognize. All until you decide to leave. And when you go, the sadness and anger leaves with you. 

You make me doubt myself, I’m never absolutely sure of anything because of you. Even the simplest decisions can seem daunting. You make me question myself, and I’m always second-guessing everything I do, every decision I make. You make me replay certain situations over and over again as if I could somehow go back in time and change the outcome. I’m extremely self-critical, you make me my own worst enemy. You leave me feeling insecure and lost, like I’ll never be able to reach my goals. I never feel good enough, as if I’m constantly looking at myself through a shattered mirror – seeing pieces of myself amongst the glass, but unable to view my true reflection.

You make me avoid certain social situations for completely irrational reasons. I fear the worst-case scenario coming to life, like I’ll make a complete ass of out of myself, or that everyone in the room has their eyes on me, judging me. I fear engaging in large crowds of people because, anxiety, you don’t allow me to just be myself. You make social interactions seem like incredibly difficult obstacles I have to face. You deter me from branching out and leaving my comfort zone. I become extremely nervous and fragile in a room full of people. You make me want to be anywhere else but there, hindering me from being in the present moment, perhaps meeting new people, and even possibly enjoying the social engagement rather than dreading it. You even convince me my friends hate me sometimes, like they secretly can’t stand me or don’t want to spend time with me.

You try to convince me that I will never feel “normal,” in any sense of the word. You convince me to worry about things that sincerely don’t matter, and things that aren’t even true.You are very convincing. I’m even convinced that you will always be here, that I will never find the ability to rid myself of your power.

You make my heart race, my chest feel tight, my stomach twist in knots, my whole body feel tense. Sometimes you make me want to do nothing but sleep, purely exhausted from the constant stream of thoughts running rampant in my head. You creep up at times when I’m most vulnerable, when I’m overwhelmed or experiencing any type of change in life. You make me nervous and uneasy. Like I can never have peace of mind, always in a state of unrest. You step in to wreak havoc on my mind the second I get close to a taste of happiness. 

Anxiety, I’m writing this letter because I truly wish you would leave. That you would go and never return, and you would take with you all those worries, doubts, fears, and irrational thoughts. But I know that will never happen. I know a part of you may always remain, and it is my job to live with you as a mere shadow in the background, there and existing but harmless and fleeting. To do so, I must learn how to silence your screams, shut out your false truths, and take control of my thoughts. I may carry you with me as that distant shadow, but you will no longer have the power to consume me. I will not let you defeat me. My mind will become my friend and will no longer be my enemy. Take this as a warning.

Yours truly. TC mark

I hope to help others by sharing my experiences through writing.

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