There are two types of people that ask me this: People that have never had anxiety and don’t understand and people that have had it and are too embarrassed to talk about it.
I talk about it because I get more messages from people that DO struggle with it, some that are in the middle of the storm, and they THANK ME for sharing. They tell me that it makes them feel better knowing someone else has felt the same way that they are feeling right now…..LOST, LONELY, OVERWHELMED, WEAK, AND UNWORTHY. Knowing that someone that appears to have their shit together has been there too is just one small way to feel a little more normal and that’s all that they want – to feel normal again.
I talk about it because there are people that are headed down that dark and scary road and they don’t quite know that it’s coming yet. If my story can help just one person pay a little more attention to the warning signs that they are currently ignoring and get ahead of it, it’s worth it.
I talk about it because it helps me feel better sharing. I was embarrassed and ashamed. Sharing my story helps me overcome my conception of myself as weak. It makes me feel strong…..like one big, huge flexed bicep standing on top of my ginormous pile of worry having conquered it. The more I talk about it the more it becomes just a story of my past and not my present.
I talk about it so that others know it’s OK to share their story, to OWN it and not feel embarrassed or ashamed. I talk about it to do my part to #stopthestigma.
I talk about it because even though I have gone through the worst (I hope!) of what anxiety has to throw my way I still have days where I struggle. There are still days when I feel overwhelmed. There are still moments that I feel suffocated being in large groups of people. I don’t think that it will ever fully go away, but I have learned how important it is to step away and recharge when I need to. I know when to say “no” when people ask me to do things that I know I can’t handle. AND I’ve learned that I’m not being selfish when I do those things. Taking care of me is just as important as taking care of those I love, doing my job, and having fun.
I’m not being over dramatic about what I went through or keep rehashing it because I feel sorry for myself. I’m not stuck in this place that I can’t get past it, because for the most part I have. I do it for healing, for me and for others. I am at the point in my life where I have owned my story. It’s a part of me. It makes me who I am.
I love hearing other people’s stories of where they have been, how they got there, and how they’ve gotten past it. These people are warriors too and they give me hope.
Whatever you have been through…..anxiety, depression, addiction, abuse, war, high school….. We’ve all been through things that have molded who we are and we all have a story to tell.
Own it ❤