Some days, when you open your eyes you will feel as if the entire world is closing in on you, the walls dark and menacing and the air suffocating you. You will feel that familiar tightness in your chest, the burning in your throat and the knots clamping, doubling, growing inside your stomach.
Your limbs will forget to work, as if your brain is so consumed with fear it cannot send messages to any other part of your body and you will want to quit right then, throw your duvet over your head and watch Netflix on auto-pilot- anything to escape, anything to just not be here.
Because though you may laugh and smile and ask all of the right questions and engage in small talk with flare, you live under a cloud, a question mark, a tsunami of existential crisis and one foot is always in front of the other, ready to run.
But sweet girl, happiness will always be somewhere else if you are constantly chasing it, moments will never be beautiful if you’re always waiting for the future, always staring right past the wonder in front of you. And one day, you will look back and realize you missed the best days of your life because you let your anxiety win.
So on those dark days, the ones which bury you, when your bed feels like the safest place on earth, when the thought of having to talk to another person makes your stomach somersault so violently you want to be sick, just remember who you are.
Remember the courage it took to leave that relationship which wasn’t making you happy any longer, remember the day you quit your job and you finally felt able to breathe again, and remember that smile which spread across your face when you bought that one way ticket to a new city to start again.
Remember it is okay to be afraid but fear lies and manipulates and destroys.
Remember your own strength.
Remember that nothing terrible will happen if you open your bedroom door or join your housemates for tea, remember that no matter how powerful, how persuasive, how real those negative thoughts feel, they are not real, they are not you.
You are brave and courageous and wonderful, you bring laughter and joy to those few people you let into your world, who you feel will not judge or berate or see you as that chubby, awkward, shy girl you used to be. Remember that it just begins with a small step, with small goals which you can achieve if you ignore that sinking, suffocating feeling in the pit of your stomach. Think of everything you have achieved so far, all of the times you did fight against the darkness and where it got you.
So just promise yourself, promise that you will not give in, that you will not let the darkness consume you, you will not live your life in solitude because you are scared.
Make notes of the details, the beautiful things, even if it is meeting a new friend for coffee or walking into a crowded room where you don’t know a single person, write it down, record it, because that’s all it takes, just one step. One foot in front of the other, a morning where you throw back the duvet and push past that voice which tells you to stay, to hide, to succumb.
You are brave, you are strong, you are fearless.
You got this.