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If Only You Knew Me Before My Anxiety Did

From the time I can remember, I’ve always known deep down I was different. I had fears that didn’t cross most children’s minds. This made me different, but it didn’t take away from my childhood. I was free and I did as I pleased. Captain of the soccer team, a dancer, a honor student, leader and an art club member. I was different, but being different never held me back.

As I started to grow, I don’t know how I went from being this free girl to the person I became. I went from being a leader to not playing the game. I went from being at dance practice three times a week to none at all. I went from an honor student to barely reaching B’s. I was no longer this free girl who had the drive to reach her full potential.

I wanted that girl back so badly I spent most days walking backward though my life. I wanted people to see me how I used to be. The medals in my room always proving I used to be a winner. When you give in from what’s pulling you down, you start to drown. Everyone around me seemed to be living. It felt like I was standing still as laughter was all around me. You start to break the surface, but you get dragged back underneath.

People are always going to judge, because we’re human. We all do it, so maybe the world should stop saying we don’t. We are judged every day based on our clothes, our jobs, our cars and our families. I feel judged every day because I’m different. I’m different because I live with anxiety.

Normal tasks are hard to complete. Hell, even getting out of bed some days is hard. I think most people who live with anxiety will agree they wish people saw them at their good points in life. No one wants to be remembered by their dark days. It’s not possible to walk backward through life. I learned this the hard way, after spending some time trying.

Instead of searching for the person I was before my anxiety took control, I needed to find the things that made me happy. I found a soccer team, started to dance with school, found leadership opportunities and accepted the fact I was different. I’ve known I was different for the longest time, but I let that get to me.

There are days when I wish people knew me before my anxiety did. I struggle to get through the day. I’m the most outgoing person, but some days I don’t want to be. I would love if people only could see me when I was anxiety free. It would be nice if people only saw the good in me.

Maybe I want others to have met me before my anxiety. If someone can’t accept me for who I am at my worst, then they don’t deserve to see me at my best. There are times in life where you lose yourself. You don’t realize it, but years later you do. I didn’t realize how much I changed from middle school to high school. Now that I’m in college, I realize I may have changed. This change may be because of my anxiety.

I have changed, but this change, which I thought was so bad, made me understand some of the biggest lessons in life. One day can change your life forever. Your problems may seem huge, but someone is going through something bigger. Your family is your support system. If you lost friends because of your illness, then they’re not your friends.

Life isn’t fair, but we’re all going through it. You may not be able to find who you were 10 years ago, but that’s OK. We all change. Some of us like who we become, and some of us don’t. The best thing about this life is your free will. If you don’t like your direction, then you can change it. Do you want to know why? Because you’re not a tree. You’re not stuck to one place. It doesn’t matter how many physical trophies or medals you collect. It’s all about the moments in your life when you feel like the winner. Be brave and accept the fact that you can always change.

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