You struggle and you fight every day. You beat yourself up for not being in control of your brain, like it has a mind of its own. You are angry with yourself. You feel stupid. You feel like this will never get better. You don’t talk to people about it because you feel ashamed and embarrassed because they don’t understand. They will sympathize, sure, but for how long?
You hate being the friend who has to leave early. You hate being the person who says no when all you really want to do is say yes. You hate being the person who lets people down. You hate feeling like a bad friend.
People will tell you to get over it, that you need to grow up. Don’t they think if you could just get over it you would have by now? They don’t understand, they can’t understand because they don’t have a little person named ‘anxiety’ running around in their brain, making them sick, making their heart race, making their chest tight and every breath hard to take. They don’t feel that helplessness wondering if, and doubting that there will ever be a time that they won’t have to struggle like this anymore.
They don’t know. Anxiety is not nothing. It is not an excuse to be boring or lazy or to get out of work. It is not easy. It is not fake. It is stupid, but it does not make you stupid. You are not broken. You are not stupid. You are not helpless. You are not hopeless. You are not less. You are not a bad friend. You are not your anxiety.
It may seem hard to believe but you really are not alone. So many people fight this battle daily. This monster takes a different form for every person it confronts. It is much like a Bogart (from Harry Potter) in that way, playing on our fears and turning into the very thing we are most afraid of. The difference here is that this is not, in a physical sense, a separate entity from ourselves. It wraps like a vine around our lives, entwining itself into the very center of ourselves. In fact, sometimes it buries itself so deep we feel that it is us, something within our souls but it is not. As much as it seems impossible, it is not a part of us. It is simply a little monster living in our heads with whom we must first understand and then befriend because, in my opinion, there really is no getting rid of it completely.
It is something we must learn to live with, something we must be able to separate from, look in the eyes and say “Enough. You are not in control here.”