I Won't Apologize for My Anxiety
Learning how to process and express my anxiety has become all-consuming, and not in a bad way. It has been incredibly empowering to regain a strong mind-body connection. On my journey to learn how to cope with and manage my anxiety, I have experienced strong feelings of guilt and what I had perceived to be putting a burden on those I loved every time I reached out for support. More recently, I have had to fight this feeling to apologize and say “I’m sorry” each time I called my brother to cry, called my mom to vent or shared my feelings of struggle with a friend. I was sorry for introducing any stress or worry into their life, and I wished so badly to shelter others from the overwhelming stresses I felt. I was sorry, but that was not helping me heal.
I can’t apologize for feeling like “too much.”
I say “sorry” for crying. As I have progressed through therapy, I have started to feel my emotions again for the first time in a very long time. I spent almost a decade masking these feelings with fatigue, pain and self-criticism. I refused to feel my authentic emotions, something that I have regained during the past two years of therapy. I cry when I am processing these new emotions. My tears remind me I’m human. They are not always a sign of sadness or fear, and they are certainly not a sign of weakness. These tears are a physical sign of progress, and I cannot apologize for that. Instead, I need to be proud of these tears.
I can’t apologize for worrying
I worry that I am “too much.” Sometimes, this feeling eats away at my heart. My fears of being too needy when I want to feel a connection, too loving when it might not be reciprocated, too loud when my passions are pouring out of me like a flood, too strong when it’s seen as unfeminine, too quiet when it could be perceived as cold. I can’t apologize for my authenticity, for being myself in a world that tells me to be less of who I am. I must build confidence in my intuitive movements, behaviors and thoughts. I can’t work towards self-love while apologizing for living my truth.
I can’t apologize for my past
I feel shame for how I acted during my darkest days. I pushed away love and support, I isolated myself from meaningful connections. I damaged my body and mind by living in fear that any deviation from my rigid structures would end in me “losing control.” I am sad that I treated my body with so much disrespect and deprived myself of so much joy and connection. I am ashamed of knowing that I damaged my health in ways that are irreparable; however, I am coming to terms with the reality that “I” wasn’t doing these things, it was my disorder. I can’t apologize for what I did in the past, even if it is hard to share and express to others. I can only move forward knowing it has led to where I am right now; working hard to ensure my future is filled with much so much love and healing.
I can’t apologize for my progress
I can’t apologize for needing to surround myself with support and ensuring that I am in a supportive environment. I can’t apologize for promoting self-love, self-care and positivity. I have had to work so hard to get to a place where I can be positive, find joy in small successes, and share this view with those around me. For so long, I hid from the world and relied on self-criticism to drive me forward. I have learned that life is not meant to be lived in isolation and that social support breeds so much joy and happiness. I can’t apologize for making progress towards optimism and self-love, and I can’t apologize for needing to foster an environment for myself that breeds this positivity.
In recent months, I have recognized that my support system was much stronger than I gave them credit for and that I don’t have to be sorry for sharing my hardships and reaching out for their support and love. I have come to see the people in our lives are there for a reason — they are there to give us the support that we need. We are not a burden. I realize I am privileged to have this support in my life, and I don’t take that for granted. I have challenged myself to stop apologizing for showing and sharing my feelings and emotions because apologizing for sharing my most vulnerable experiences won’t allow me to foster self- acceptance and recovery. It can only feed the cycle of self-criticism.
In order to foster self-love and work towards recovery, I can’t apologize for my anxiety.
Unsplash photo via Veeterzy