I’ve had struggles with anxiety ever since I can remember.
Crying in preschool because I didn’t want to go in before my best friend arrived, my stomach churning before every piano recital of performance of any sort, my habit of holding my breath while I begin to ruminate on my worries (something I’m still working on).
Sometimes my anxiety was not so visible.
Sometimes it came out in the form of avoidance — avoiding parties even if I secretly wanted to check it out, avoiding team sports because I was nervous I would be blamed if anything went wrong, avoiding anything in the spotlight because if I were to mess up, I was afraid people would laugh at me.
I’ve learned to function semi-well despite my uncomfortable visceral experiences and the rude voices that sometimes haunt my head and remind me of all of the things I have yet to accomplish.
In fact, if you asked the people closest to me how they thought I was doing, they would probably say tell you I’m doing great.
Because despite the discomfort, I somehow gather the little strength I have to push myself to get my work done, I’ve learned to smile even though I want to break down, and I’ve learned to hide my pain so it doesn’t burden others.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
I have struggles others don’t know about and will probably never fully understand. At the same time, the people around me while I’m walking to the store, at work, driving down the street — they all have their own personal struggles too. They may be different in mine, but the common factor in the human race is that we all share what it means to feel pain. To feel sorrow. To feel brokenness. Because we are human. We aren’t God. We aren’t invincible.
I hope this leads us to be kind. To be empathetic. To be loving.
I like to feel understood, but I realize with such things as anxiety that I cannot even put into words, it is hard to feel understood.
Instead, I want to be loved.
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Photo via Unsplash – Larm Rmah