An Open Letter to My Anxiety

Dear Anxiety, 

To put it simply, I hate you. I’m sorry to say it, but you really do ruin so many things. I’ve missed out on so many opportunities and messed up friendships because of you. You show up at the absolute worst times and I really can’t stand it when you’re around. Sometimes you show up unannounced, and sometimes you decide to drag me down from the time I open my eyes to the time I lay my head back down at night.

I remember the first time I really understood the control you had on my life. I was only 15 and I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t just go pick on someone else. I knew you were always around but I tried to ignore you the best that I could. It was after a soccer game and I was on the way home with mom when the next thing I knew I was in the ER with the doctor threatening to put a chest tube in my side. I couldn’t breathe, you had your hands around my throat and I had no control. I know I might sound dramatic, but you scarred me that day. I never really got you until that day. You had the power to completely overcome me and affect my ability to breathe. I felt like I was drowning. I don’t get why you lashed out at me like that, but I was never the same after it. It was the first serious panic attack I had ever experienced; I’m glad you had fun introducing me to those.

I remember my first therapy appointment when things were getting really rough with school, sports, and life at home. Therapy was helpful, but it’s not like it got rid of you. I remember we would just sit in the car before each session and contemplate going in each time. It’s like you were trying to stop me from trying to get better. 

I remember trying to talk to friends about you and how much you impacted my life. You really messed that up too. You keep me from expressing my feelings and putting myself out there. You let me get walked all over. You let me be a pushover. You let me get taken advantage of. You let me ruin my relationships. You make me come off as aggressive because you won’t let me be relaxed. You don’t let me stand up for myself. You sit back and watch me self-destruct sometimes. I hate you for that. 

I know you’ve always been there, I just never wanted to accept it. I felt like the people around me and the life I lived growing up wouldn’t allow for me to be open about you. From little things like ordering food or talking to someone on the phone to almost full-blown panic attacks in parking garages (man we really hate parking garages), you always had something to say.

We’ve been through a lot; so much that I could write hundreds of pages about what you’ve done to me. Sometimes you’ve been there for months on end, constantly bugging me like a fly. Other times in my life, you’ve been a distant memory. I’m in a place right now where I won’t let you stop me from being me. You didn’t stop me from writing this letter. You had a lot to say about it and you tried to stop me, but you didn’t. I’m learning everyday how to deal with you. I’m happy right now and I won’t let you affect that. We both know that in the end, I am stronger than you. 

Your Friend, 

Maddy

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