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Why My Love-Hate Relationship With Anxiety Makes Me Human

I have an anxiety disorder. It has taken me months to speak those words and now that I have finally accepted reality, I think it is going to be a whole lot easier to work through it.

I’ve always been an “uptight” person, Type-A, perfectionist, whatever you want to call it. I always called it that and never “anxiety” because I didn’t even know what that was for a long time. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I’ve had this problem for a lot longer than I thought. It might not have manifested itself as severely, but I can definitely see how anxiety has shaped my life.

I always got stressed about school and that was normal. I have been obsessed with perfect grades since sometime in middle school and I doubt that will ever go away. My mind always blew friend problems out of proportion and I always ended up questioning things I did at a sleepover two months ago. It didn’t really affect me in huge ways, but I know that I am who I am because of what I can now call anxiety.

I have a love-hate relationship with my anxiety.

It is hate when my breathing becomes labored and I feel a panic attack start to bubble over inside me. When I cry myself to sleep because everything just hurts so much. When I send someone a bunch of texts and then they don’t respond and I am forced to question every interaction we ever had to see what I did wrong. When everything seems to be my fault.

It is love when I overachieve. When I push myself to the limit and accomplish great things. When a good day rolls around and I finally feel in control. When I am able to see how much my friends care for me on a daily basis. When I try and I fail and I keep trying because I can’t stop until I succeed.

Despite the bad days, the anxiety and panic attacks, the overwhelming doubt and uncertainty, this is who I am. I am an overachiever, perfectionist, Type-A, uptight, anxious person. I am not saying I want to have anxiety attacks every day. I do not mean to say that my anxiety can control me forever.

I am only saying that sometimes, my anxiety makes me smile. Sometimes, my anxiety reminds me how lucky I am to be alive. Sometimes, I let myself feel anxious and terrible because I am allowed to not be OK. Sometimes, I remember that God gave me this for a reason and despite all I go through, I will make it to tomorrow.

So, I have an anxiety disorder. I am not perfect, as much as I try to be. I am broken. I am full of irrational thoughts and all the worst eventualities. But that does not make me any less. In fact, I think it makes me more human, more me.

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Thinkstock photo via Natouche