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A Letter to the Anxious Voice That Lives Inside My Head


Dear Anxiety,

Dear cruel, persistent and unforgiving anxiety,

I think it’s time we have this out, don’t you? Of course you don’t. That would mean moving forward, and we both know that is the direction you’d do everything in your power to stop me heading towards.

Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve you, you who’s determined to make me embarrass myself when not being able to perform the simplest tasks without feeling watched and judged. I wonder why I cannot possess the confidence my closest friends do. In all honesty, anxiety, I feel cursed. I hear you constantly murmuring in my ear that I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty or thin enough. I hear you sniggering at things I think are accomplishments, accomplishments I do not wish to share with you but much like everything else going on, you’re a part of it. You’re a part of me, an ugly, hateful and terrible part, and I resent you.

I resent you for the fact I cannot order my own food in a restaurant without a shaky voice, I cannot order food in a restaurant for the fear of the waiter thinking I’m fat. I resent you for the fact I can’t eat in front of my peers without just wanting to throw it all back up and apologize for being so weird. I resent you for taking over my thoughts and not allowing me to enjoy a simple moment without overthinking it. I resent you for manipulating my actions, making me say no to things I’d enjoy if I could just face them. I resent you for never allowing me to feel comfortable with anybody. You’re always there.. like a third person undermining me every step of the way. I resent you for building walls not only inside my head but around my heart, walls that even the best guy cannot truly break past. 

Even when I think you are gone, when I shove you away… you return so unexpectedly, leaning over my shoulder and reminding me of the past, exploiting my worries and my weaknesses at every turn but managing to convince me you’re only trying to protect me from harm. Convincing me its safer to retreat to my corner and not participate in activities, convincing me not to participate in life. You shredded my confidence, my ability to strive for the best because what would have been the point? You reminded me I wouldn’t be good enough anyway. Not even being able to tell a teacher I’m struggling for fear of them mimicking your words and telling me how I’m clearly not clever enough. You make even thinking about exams lead to panic, you make revising one of the most difficult things in the world.

You destroy relationships. With my friends, with my family, with him. You somehow manage to make me question how real my friendships are. Do they secretly hate me? Are they sitting making fun of me as soon as I look away? Do they laugh or call me weird behind my back? Your answer to those questions is always yes. Perhaps you’re right. You convinced me I wasn’t good enough for him, that he was looking for any good excuse to leave. You convinced me he was only with me because he felt bad for me. I prayed you were wrong, but you managed to completely destroy my trust anyway. You put back up my walls without consulting me, telling me only after that it was for my own good, that it was the only way to protect myself because he was only going to leave anyway.

Every single day you have me thinking about every glance, every action. You make my mind race over how I stand, sit, smile, laugh and even the way I talk. It’s a constant nightmare of feeling humiliated over things other people aren’t even noticing. Every day you make me wish I could delve into invisibility, hiding from everyone. I resent you, anxiety, for the second I let my mind settle… you pounce on it. You hit me like an unexpected wave. You’ve stolen so many incredible moments, you have never let me relax. You still remind me of decisions I made or things I said  in 2012.

Up until very recently I believed I had no control over you. I let you destroy my relationships. I let you take away the best parts of me. No more.

Anxiety, I know you better now. I know your patterns. I recognize the flash of panic in my core, the sudden need to cover my hands with my sleeves, the urge to hide. But anxiety, you are a part of me. Worst part or not, you are a part of me. I’m just done letting you be the dominant part. I am choosing to forgive you… and within that, I guess I am choosing to forgive myself.

Yours sincerely,

The girl you no longer define

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