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Anxiety sucks. I’m pretty sure we all agree on that. And I’m not trying to pretend that it isn’t awful. But I have learned a thing or two along the way.
I am stronger than I think
Anyone living with anxiety is stronger than they think. Anxiety makes me feel weak, because I’m constantly fighting against my own brain. I feel like I can’t do anything right and that I’m failing at pretty much everything. But I’m not weak. I’m constantly fighting against my own brain. I’m a goddamn freaking warrior. And if you’re living with anxiety, then so are you! Never feel like you’re somehow less of a person because of your anxiety. You’re not.
Some people will just never get it
So don’t waste your time trying to explain. This is something I’ve struggled with, because my anxiety makes me feel like, if someone doesn’t understand, they must think poorly of me. I assume that they’re thinking I’m making it up or attention seeking, even though attention is the absolute last thing I want. It’s taken me a long time to realise that what those people think really doesn’t matter. Some people will just never get it, no matter how often or how hard you try to explain. Anxiety is a complex subject, so that’s OK. They will never get it, so don’t waste your time and energy trying to make them. The people who matter will support you, even if they don’t really understand.
Living with anxiety is exhausting
Physically and completely exhausting. People think that because anxiety is a mental illness, it only affects your head. But that’s not true. When I have an anxiety attack, my pulse races, my breathing speeds up, I start sweating… it’s like a workout, except my brain is running a mile a minute as well. Anxiety is more exhausting than newborn twins, and that is really saying something. So it’s OK if you need to rest. Everyone needs to rest sometimes.
Self-care is important
So important. Self-care is important for everybody, but it’s especially important when you’re living with anxiety. Worrying all the time is stressful and hard. Be kind to yourself. Taking time to de-stress – doing something you enjoy – can really help manage your anxiety. If nothing else, it makes the time between anxiety attacks more pleasant. Try to make time for self-care every day. Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s necessary.
Accept that you’re anxious
Fighting anxiety just makes it worse. A very good therapist once told me that it’s OK to accept that anxiety is a part of you. When you’re feeling anxious, you’ve got enough on your plate – don’t add being anxious about being anxious to the list of things you’ve got to worry about. Anxiety is an illness. Just like any other. Accept it. Find the best way to manage it and focus on that instead. Worrying about it (worrying about anything, really) doesn’t solve anything. It just makes you feel worse and you don’t need that.
If you’re living with anxiety, what has it taught you?