Dear Anxiety: I've Admitted I Have You, Now Your Days Are Numbered


I hate the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

I hate it because it means when people actually need help, they may not seek it for fear of judgment.

I hate it because people may ignore their own feelings when the world is telling them to just “deal with it.”

I hate it because people may be ashamed to admit they need medication to get through a period in their life – or forever.

I hate it because people who are brave enough to get help may be mocked or ridiculed by some.

I hate it because, for most of my life, that person living in fear of judgment has been me.

Until today.

This afternoon I found myself in tears on a doctor’s office table, explaining how I’ve struggled with anxiety for pretty much my entire life. How I was told I was just shy. How I was told to take this vitamin or eat this food. How nothing I’ve ever tried has worked.

I talked about my anxiety in crowds. My anxiety in small groups. The irrational thoughts that overwhelm my mind, always thinking about the worst-case scenario. Replaying conversations obsessively. Trying to convince myself I’m being irrational but my brain doesn’t listen.

It shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did to take this step, but now I have, I feel lighter.

I walked away today with a prescription and a referral for therapy — something that up until recently I would have been ashamed to admit. But 2017 is about taking care of me and taking control of my life, no matter what anyone thinks.

I don’t know if I’ll need treatment for a season or for a lifetime, but I am so excited about being healthy and happy. A better mom. A better wife. A better friend. A better person.

Today I learned it’s OK not to be OK. I learned it’s OK to get help if you need it. I learned taking care of your whole self is nothing to be ashamed of.

And I’ll be better for it.

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

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