Anxiety. It’s the creeping up of nervousness and dread met with shallow breathing and shaking hands. It’s the unexpected and unannounced visits of panic that are anything but welcomed. It’s the brain fog and racing thoughts making it impossible to focus. It sucks.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember; this looming evil, ready to pounce at any moment of peace and serenity. Every time I felt it’s talons digging into my chest, my adrenaline pumping and breathing rapid, I ignored it, trying my hardest to pretend everything was fine. I pushed it as far beneath the surface as possible, concealing it from myself and the outside world. But, years of omitting it’s presence was creating the perfect recipe for a breakdown, and a few years ago I found myself swallowed in the midst of one.
There was a need for change, a change in the way I interacted with anxiety.
I chose to start seeing the good. There’s good in anxiety.
Anxiety has given me strength. A strength to navigate through the harder times in life, holding onto hope, even when it feels like there is none. It’s given me the ability to come alongside others in their times of trial and despair, empathizing with the waves that anxiety presents.
Anxiety has given me perseverance. A perseverance that keeps me going when life gets rocky. When life tries it’s best to knock me down, I continue on with a sense of resiliency that could only come from experience.
Anxiety has given me self-awareness. A self-awareness in which I am conscious of my body and how it reacts in different situations. I’ve learned to change my inner dialogue, encouraging myself in times of anxiety instead of repeating hopeless language.
Anxiety has given me a dream. A dream to write and help others. This blog, my story and my wordshave all been a way for my anxiety to be heard and seen instead of ignored. In my vulnerability, people have been encouraged to share their stories instead of keeping them hidden away.
Choosing to see anxiety as a help instead of a hindrance has changed my perspective on the disorder. Without anxiety, I would lack the strength and perseverance I’ve come to lean on so many times in life. I wouldn’t be able to relate to and support the many others who deal with anxiety and mental illness. I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I wouldn’t be encouraging others to be brave. I wouldn’t be me.
Anxiety has shaped who I am. There are times where it still has it’s hold on me, I still experience panic attacks and I still get nervous to try new things. But, I’m changing the way I perceive and talk about it. I’m learning to see the good.
I’m learning it’s not the bad guy.