To the Friends Who Stay Alongside Me on My Journey With Anxiety

This is a letter to the friends who stayed.

A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). That moment was one that altered my life forever, irreversibly. I’ve had so many ups and downs that I’ve officially lost track. There have been weeks of peace, relief and joy, but there has also been months of pure, unrelenting hell. This was not a journey I chose to embark on, nor would I ever have chosen to take it.

You did, though. From that that first moment when I told you about my condition, as well as in the hundreds to follow, you’ve chosen to walk this path alongside me. Every time I come to you with tears in my eyes. Whenever I begin stammering over a negative thought that has taken root in my mind, and I need you to reassure me it’s a complete lie. When you’ve found me hiding around the corner, waiting for the panic attack to pass, and you sit with me instead of running away. When you notice me zone out in the middle of our conversation, and instead of getting offended, you ask me questions that force me to re-engage. You ground me and remind me to keep living my life despite the anxiety.

There is no way I can think of how to thank you in a way that would properly convey just what you mean to me. So I’m writing this letter to you, to thank you. Thank you for making sure I see my therapist when I need to and for making sure I continue taking my medications. Thank you for reminding me I have value and am anything but a burden. Thank you for always responding to my panicked texts with love and understanding. I know it can’t be easy. Thank you for not allowing these moments of my anxiety fog to scare you away.

Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for letting me cry. Thank you for listening to my thoughts even when they don’t make the slightest sense, but I still need to say them out loud. Thank you for still seeing me as a reliable person who still has perfectly valid thoughts, feelings and insights. Thank you for somehow making me laugh even when my world is crumbling around me.

It is my GAD, and because of that, I must walk this path. But I know for you, this is a journey you continue to choose to take. You’ve had to learn just as much as I have along the way, but you did not have to choose this.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Follow this journey on With the Changing of Winds.

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