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An Open Letter to My Anxiety

Where do I even begin with you, Anxiety? Should I start with a formal hello and treat us as mere acquaintances? Or perhaps a casual, friendly hey would suffice?

The truth is, I do not know how to address you, Anxiety. I have never taken the time to address you, not to my friends, my family, or even myself, really. Our introduction was not an abrupt collision as most would imagine. You discretely eased yourself into my life and slowly made my mind your campgrounds. They say that which consumes your mind, controls your life. And control my life you did.

Anxiety, you have this effortless talent of making me overthink the simplest of situations. You make me question every word I speak and every action I take. I dream of a life where I can allow myself to be as adventurous as my friends, but you leave me constantly nauseous and plagued with fear of every worst-case scenario. I strive to be the social butterfly I know I am deep down, but you fill my mind to the brim with paranoia that I am nothing more than a burden on those around me.

In high school you were kind enough to introduce me to your partner in crime, Depression. I must admit, you two are quite the dynamic duo, complementing each other effortlessly. Depression made me feel worthless. Depression made getting out of bed a struggle. Depression made me contemplate ending your friendship and breaking you two up, but that would have meant ending me, and I could not let you two win that easily.

There are times when I am totally overwhelmed by the presence of you and your friend. You force me to over-analyze anything and everything from the eye contact I make, to the way I walk. You force me to believe I am not good enough, you force me to shut down and to live in a world of fear. You force me to make myself my own worst enemy, and that is truly mentally and physically exhausting. Nothing is my own. Every thought, every action, every relationship is shared with you. As you remind me of my every flaw, you make my heart race, you make breathing difficult, and you make my stomach twist.

But sometimes you decide to take a hiatus from the campgrounds of my mind. While you are M.I.A., probably plotting your next attack, I become aware of reality. I realize that I am surrounded by the most genuine, positive friends. I realize that I am blessed with an abundance of opportunities. I realize that I radiate passion. And that passion leads me to a sense of purpose on this earth. I realize that no matter how hard you claw at my mind, or how long your future camping trips are, I will continue to persevere and chase after my passions. You make each day a struggle, some days more than others. You make each day full of different perspectives and challenges that others do not have the chance to understand. But you also make each day a realization that you are a part of what made me who I am and the person I have become.

Because of you, I am determined.

Because of you, I am alive.

Because of you, I am me.

 

Photo credit:

http://kimberlysnyder.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/depression-and-anxi…

http://cdn2.collective-evolution.com/assets/uploads/2015/10/tumblr_me3df…

Jess Hecht is a senior at UCF studying Human Communication with a Mass Communication concentration. When Jess is not creating content or traveling with her job at Feeding Children Everywhere, you can most likely find her on Pinterest looking at inspirational quotes and photos of dogs, or planning her next trip to Zambia. Some of her favorite pastimes include camping out for hours on end at Barnes & Noble with a reading list longer than the Chipotle line, smelling every candle at Bath & Body Works, and adding to her collection of journals (20 and counting, since you were curious). If binge-watching Lifetime movies was an olympic sport, you best believe that gold medal would have Jess' name written all over it.
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