A Letter To You From My Anxiety And Me

To whom it may concern:

I’m not sorry that I have anxiety, but I am sorry for the burden that it is to you at times. I often feel like Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. I have this thing that is my responsibility to carry, but I pull others in and they end up getting hurt at times because of the hold that my anxiety has upon me.

I want you to understand that there are moments that I may come across as unfocused, isolated, disengaged, and like I do not care about you. Please know that even though this is what my body language and even my words may be presenting to you, it is not true. I may even be absent from your life from time to time, but please know that I might just be lost within my own anxiety. I don’t want to be. I want to be with you, listening, engaging, focusing, but there are times that it seems impossible. I am overcome by the world within my own mind, constructed by my distorted vision of the world around me.

There are days that I may come across as overly sensitive, but please know that my brain seems to take even the simplest of conversations and turns them into an eccentric novel of what-ifs and maybes. My brain focuses in on the darkness that a word could hold instead of the lightness of the sentence.

There are times that I see a small child or an elderly person and I cannot help but jump to the worst-case scenario based on a frown or the fact that they are alone and then dwell on it for hours afterward. Maybe the older man has lost his wife to a war against cancer. Maybe the child looks so sad because she is being bullied in school and her home life provides her with no escape.

My mind is so full of thoughts, worries, questions, and possible answers. I cannot sleep at night because the darkness of my room seems to serve as a blank slate to my mind.

Although my anxiety does not define me, it does play part in who I am. It often feels like I am stuck in quicksand, getting pulled under, with no way out. Sometimes I envision my anxiety to be a forest, dark and vast. Just when I think I am getting close to finding my way to the other side, I end up more lost trying to get through it. My friends and family are like the search party trying to find a loved one who is nowhere to be found.

I see your concern. I hear your encouragement. I feel your love deeply, yet there are times when I am far away, lost within my anxiety.

I want you to know that I am so thankful to have you in my life, thankful that you have chosen to stay by my side, loving me and doing your best to support me and distract me, even when I do not make it easy. If you have questions, ask. If you don’t know what to say, then don’t say anything, just be there and know that I appreciate you, even when I have a difficult time showing it. Having an anxiety disorder is complicated, but having you in my life makes it easier. Thank you.

Love,

Me

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