What I Wish I Told My Friends About My Anxiety
I have always felt like a bit of an outsider — never really feeling like I fit in with my peers. I’ve never had friends I felt I could truly be myself with. The voices in my mind never ceased to remind me that I was weird, different and that I would always be alone with anxiety. I thought my relationship with anxiety was the only one I could count on. It wasn’t until college that I met some of my closest friends. They accept me for who I am (no matter how weird or goofy), and support and understand me in my struggle with anxiety. They have never judged me, or ever made me feel like I was too much to deal with.
However, I should I have told my friends that my anxiety makes me feel like I am too much to deal with all the time. I should have told my friends that my anxiety makes me feel like I am a redundant, irrational burden. A broken record that can’t be fixed. I should have told my friends that despite how much they tell and show me they love me, I feel unlovable. I always question their sincerity because my anxiety tells me they just feel bad for the “crazy girl,” and there’s no way someone could genuinely like you. I should have told my friends that my anxiety tells me they will leave me if I make a mistake no matter how big or small. Whether it is one lapse in judgment, one bad birthday gift, one bad joke that went too far, they’ll leave me and I’ll be alone again with my anxiety telling me, I told you so.
I should have told my friends that my anxiety makes me feel like vulnerability gives them the leverage to leave me — so I hide it, put a bright smile on my face and tell jokes to keep the mood light. I should have told my friends that my anxiety makes me think they’re always mad at me and that their anger is always justifiable because as long as anxiety is a part of me, I will always be a nuisance. My anxiety tells me that their presence in my life is contingent on my ability to “keep it together” and be strong.
I know much of what I have written may seem irrational and dramatic but to me, in my mind, it feels so very real. I know my friends love me, but my mind tells me it is just pity because I am too broken and difficult to be loved. It feels selfish to feel this way because in my heart I know I am loved. Anxiety makes me question the relationships that I value the most because I do not feel worthy of the love and appreciation I am shown. My relationship with anxiety is a possessive one, but I will not let it control the relationships that are most important.
I am worthy. I am loved.
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Unsplash photo via Henri Meilhac