Even though I’ve dealt with anxiety my whole life, I had my first notable sign of anxiety when I was in sixth grade.
At just eleven years old, I was outside for recess on one of the first days of spring. Just like the changing of seasons, my life was about to change within a few months. I would soon be attending a new school with hundreds of new faces, and I knew I would lose contact with many of the people I’ve known since I was five.
The topic of middle school was brought up when my two good friends at the time were playing on the jungle gym. The thought took me into a bit of a breathless state.
Who am I going to talk to? Am I going to have any friends? Will anyone actually like me?
My heart kind of became still, as if my body was beginning to shut down. My surroundings turned into a tunnel, and I was standing in the middle of the shadow. The feeling was very unfamiliar to me at the time, but the feeling didn’t last too long as spring air breezed across my face and brought me back to the woodchips.
I looked up at my friends, and I knew that change in life is inevitable.
And like friends, anxiety comes and goes. Sometimes it can be your worst enemy. Sometimes you want to fight it and tell it that it’s being stupid. But, sometimes, your anxiety can be your only companion.
Anxiety is a constant. Once it’s there, it’s there, and it will always be there. Just when you think it’s gone, something pulls a trigger and your body automatically reacts to defend itself. At one point or another, anxiety has to be accepted. Anxiety isn’t a burden, and it’s certainly not a choice. Anxiety is a mental illness, and you can only live alongside it once you start to accept it.
I got to tell you, I’d be the biggest liar if I said that anxiety is easy to manage, or that I accept the struggle I’ve been dealt with every day. In fact, it took me almost half my life to accept my mental illness, and sometimes, I still even feel like practically the whole world is against me.
But instead of battling my anxiety, as well as the rest of the world, I try to work with my anxiety on a daily basis. I don’t regret my mental illness, because it has shaped me into the empathetic, sympathetic, accepting, strong person that I am. I refuse to give up and hide because of it. My life has so much purpose.
Please remember that you are a very deserving person to live a life that’s not crippled by fear. It’s your one and only life. You have the power over it. You’re strong. So, get up and dance. Most importantly, just breathe :)
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