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What It's Like to Struggle With Self-Love as Someone With Anxiety

You need not climb mountains to love yourself. Read that again. You need not do something extravagant today. There is no activity, no matter how extraordinary, that will earn your self-love. You’ve tried already. If there were something more, you’d do it. Name it. Anything. You’d do it.

And in doing so, you’d lose even more. You’d lose because you’d be enforcing a skewed and dangerous message: that love can be won.

No wonder you’re trying so hard, spinning your wheels. The work starts when you stop moving.

So? Stop.

Stop running.

Stop biking.

Stop yoga-ing.

Stop all of it.

Even the things that are supposed to be “good” and “healthy.” You’ll long for someone’s permission. Anyone’s. For others to tell you it’s OK to rest. But when you hear it, you won’t really hear it. You may even deny that anyone said anything at all. You’ll rack up all the reasons why you don’t deserve it. Why it’s not OK. You’ll begin the search for someone else to save you from yourself yet again, while the desperation builds.

Maybe this time it’ll click. If two or three people say it, maybe then I can rest.

You’ll feel more trapped than you did before you ever opened your mouth.

You’re playing against yourself. Losing. Against yourself.

Ultimately, you know no one can or will say what you know you’re needing to hear. Why?

You’re the only one who can say it. Your inner you only wants to listen to you. So listen.

I have been fighting myself this entire day. I hate stopping for this very reason. Being with myself is more brutal than anyone could possibly imagine. I shock even me these days, which is concerning. I’m exhausted from merely existing and somehow believing I’m bad at that too. I’m so in my own way, I can’t even leave the house. Or go downstairs. Or pick up the clothes. The spattered wardrobe is my brain. Sprawled onto floor.

I take hours to feel into things because even my intuition is tapped. I don’t blame it, either.
By the time I think of a thing, I’ve emptied my energetic gas tank and no longer need or want to do it.

It’s hard to think. And to not think.

My days are circular and cyclical not-so-merry-go-rounds. Dizzying, nauseating, stuck in the constant stirring of self.

I can’t watch or read someone else’s story, as it distracts from mine. I cannot bear my own story, so I seek distraction.

I am intolerable today.

I am a hole-digger. Professional self-digger of holes. Truly realize I cannot get anywhere, not even an inch from where I am, if I do not believe in myself.

Not quite sure how to explain the depths because that requires feeling them, which I just cannot do. Right here is bad enough.

Someone asked why I was so insecure the other day. I wanted to kick him. Everyone needs to go away.

I cried when I said to myself, “I am worthy feeling close to me,” because that clearly wasn’t true.

I watched a deer get murdered and someone asked why I was being so hard on myself based upon how I was taking it. I’m still trying to “take” it. It’s not going well.

I am at a crossroads. There is no longer anything for me in this world to pursue, because I am supposed to create it. I can no longer follow in footsteps, so I have to trust my feet. I keep tripping. On my own toes. Which are magenta now.

I will have to make my own blog. And publish a book or seven. Like I knew I would when I was young. I’ll also have to learn how to keep a damn promise to myself. Then maybe I can do something useful.

I hate when people need things from me. I don’t know how to show up for them outside of our contracted roles. I long to hold safe spaces for folks without knowing how to do it for myself. That’s fun.

The neighbors are having a party and I’m going to have to ask everyone to leave.

I only wish to hear the crickets and feel the kind, soft breeze.

Everyone seems to know what’s going on and how to respond to life.

I feel like things are getting worse somehow.

I can’t quite explain it but I think I may need some help.

I’m not quite sure where to start.

Cars keep circling the cul-de-sac and my anxiety is high.

No song matters now, which is how you know it’s bad.

There is no thing, no one to tame this textured moment.

I guess that’s the work.

I guess that’s my cue.

Getty image by Lepusinensis