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The Text That Rescued Me From a Wave of Anxiety


Last week, a post I wrote about my battle with self-harm was published. I think my message was important and it was good I put the story out there. But after it was posted, I went on this anxious spiral of thoughts. I panicked about being known, about people knowing this intimate secret I have. I was scared I would be attacked online. I have been shamed and criticized a lot in the past for my struggle with self-injury. I expected it would happen again. I got caught up in all these panicky thoughts and kept checking the comments for someone attacking me.

My anxiety spiraled in other directions. I was scared about people knowing me, scared about the world judging me. I became intensely self-critical, beating myself up for a million things. My thoughts raced and spiraled in angry circles. I was up late and had difficulty sleeping.

Late at night, as my anxious thoughts spiraled, I sent a friend a text about what was going on in my head. Of course after I sent it I panicked I said all the wrong things and now my friend would think me neurotic and unstable. I knew my friend would be asleep.

In the morning, I woke up with an emotional hangover from a night of panicked thoughts and hardly any sleep. I checked my phone and found this text from my friend.

“I understand the difficulty, these are personal and painful things for you. I can only speak for myself and say I don’t view you any differently, just in a positive light. For anything you’re troubled by, I just want to see you get the support you need and deserve.”

He also sent me an image of a quote. The quote said, “I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire.” — Stephanie Sparkles

I kept staring at my phone. I was amazed by the compassion and understanding in his words. I expected him to read my late night text and think, Wow, this girl is crazy. But instead he responded with understanding and kindness. I thought he would see me differently, but he said he saw me the same and even “in a positive light.” He cared. He wanted to make sure I got enough support. I love the quote, though I felt it didn’t apply to me because my problems are inside my head.

I read his text over a few more times and then hurried off to work. When I came home, my friend texted me, asking how my day was going. I was happy he still wanted to talk to me.

I don’t think my friend knows how much his texts helped me that morning. I read his words and came back to myself, ready to take on the world again. Thanks to my friend, now I’m braver about being my authentic self.

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Thinkstock photo via Ivanko_Brnjakovic.