Photo by Carter Fish
I got a comment the other day from someone. I had to block her IP address for repeatedly leaving the rudest comments. (Like beyond rude really… they’re insane.) I still see the comment in my email even though they don’t get published. But the comment was roughly about how I need help because anxiety affects every aspect of my life.
I’m sure she was (like usual) trying to make me feel bad about myself, not actually to encourage me to get help. But I had to shake my head and laugh because… duh.
Look, I fully and obviously acknowledge that I have anxiety. Sometimes people read my posts and think I’m overplaying the anxiety or that I don’t have anxiety because I function so well or that I’m a complete lunatic and need serious help.
I share my experiences not because I want to broadcast the fact that I struggle with it every day, but more because I wish I had known more people in my life be open with it. I think it would have made me feel less alone and less crazy, to be honest, if I had even known ONE person in high school and college.
The funny thing is… so many people do struggle with it. I’m sure I sat next to classmates privately dealing with their own anxiety (or other issues) and even took classes from teachers and professors who have anxiety. But anxiety isn’t something you can see. You can mask it by dressing nicely, being uber successful academically or professionally, having a ton of friends, keeping a smile on your face. But those things are just masks.
You don’t get to cherry-pick where and when and how anxiety will affect you. You can go years totally fine and have it pop back up down the road. Some things may be fine for you and others are paralyzing. For example, I love rollercoasters and have no problem public speaking (except for that one time, haha), but ordering at a restaurant or trying a new class at the gym leave me feeling downright nauseated.
I’ve been working on dealing with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I can’t imagine what life would be like without it. It sucks, and there are times when I wish I could snap my fingers and have it disappear, but that’s not how it works.
While there isn’t a cure for it, there are plenty of ways that you can manage anxiety. And that’s the real key here: managing it. There are doctors, support groups, medications, self-help books, and healthy coping strategies.
So yes, I have anxiety.
And I write about my experiences.
In a lot of ways, writing about my experiences has been a part of my journey with anxiety. I started my blog as a creative outlet while I was at one of the lowest points in my life– just two months prior, I had hit rock bottom. My blog was a lifeline for me to slowly start helping myself.
And, again, I write because I hope it helps someone else. I hope someone reads this and knows that while anxiety can cause some bumps, it doesn’t mean you can’t also find success and happiness along the way.
I often feel like my nerves have the potential to hold me back. They certainly have in my past, and I regret that. But, every day I wake up and make a choice not to let my fear hold me back from experiencing everything life has to offer.
It’s a daily struggle, but it’s worth it. You know what else is worth it though? Talking about it. When I get discouraging comments like the one I received a couple of weeks ago, it makes me want to quit. Sharing my life (the good and the bad) online can be weird, but I do remind myself that I’m sharing the things that I wish I could read. I write what I would want to read about, whether it’s a big sale that’s taking place or a personal struggle.
I read this quotation from Franklin D. Roosevelt sometime this year, and it’s stuck with me ever since: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”