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A Letter to Those Who Romanticize Anxiety

To those who write articles romanticizing anxiety, please know this — there is nothing romantic about anxiety. Nothing. At all.

There is nothing romantic about consistent panic attacks. There is nothing romantic about crying in a bathroom in a restaurant because the waiter asked to take your order.

There is nothing romantic about fearing to leave the house; nothing romantic about losing friendships because you just cannot bring yourself to go out; nothing romantic about feeling like you’ve missed out on growing up because your mental illness has you trapped inside our own house.

There is nothing romantic about lying awake until 4 a.m. because you can’t stop thinking about that one thing that happened that one time, and maybe if that one thing didn’t happen that one time you wouldn’t be the way you are now and maybe you wouldn’t be having this conversation with yourself at 4 a.m. when you’ve not slept yet and you need to be up in two hours to go to work/school/college, which makes you feel so panicked you can’t really breathe very well at lot of the time.

There is nothing romantic about feeling (and sometimes being) physically sick because you’ve got to make a phone call. There’s not a single romantic element in taking tablets every day just to try and get by. There’s nothing romantic about paying for private therapists because the price of mental health services are quite shocking.

There’s nothing “tragically beautiful” about pushing everybody away because you are just too scared to get close to people.

There is nothing romantic about having your mental illness undermined and completely disregarded by some closest to you, because they think someone with anxiety is just a bit shy and nervous, when in reality they can have episodes of isolation, continuous crying, vomiting, breathing difficulties, fits of rage and times where they just cannot leave the house for days on end, and it’s all thanks to articles like yours that keep this harmful stigma alive.

I am unable to sustain a healthy relationship because of my anxiety, and it’s ruined a good majority of them too, so don’t tell me that people would just love to be in love with me, only because of my “hauntingly beautiful” mental illness, as you so kindly have portrayed it in your article. Suicide takes approximately one million lives per year. That’s one every 40 seconds, or 3,000 people a day. We cannot afford to keep saying that mental illness is “beautiful” — people are dying.

Mental illnesses are getting overlooked because of stigmatization by people who belittle them. Anxiety (and depression) are things I will probably have to battle with for the rest of my life. The more you romanticize it, the more you hurt us.


An actual, real life person with anxiety who’s sick and tired of your bullshit.

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Photo by Jon Ly on Unsplash