The Mighty Logo

Dear Anxiety, Let's Work Together

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Dear Anxiety,

You and I have not always been on the best of terms. In fact, you have been my enemy as far back as I can remember. Your warm cocoon of “what if” catastrophes has wrapped me in waves of heart racing, chest tightness, dizziness and short breaths. Your tempting aura has kept me out of the present moment and brought me into parts of my head I didn’t even know were there, parts I wished with all of my being weren’t there.

Although, I’ve always resented you, you’ve been with me since the beginning. You kept me safe when I was a kid, and you kept me out of trouble in adolescence. You pushed me to do well in school, to follow the rules and to be nice to everyone. If I may, however, it sometimes feels like you’re encroaching territory on which you don’t belong, like when your panic and tears postponed my high school Honors Physics exam for fear of falling into the black abyss of a C. (Update: The C didn’t ruin my life).

Recently though, I have to tell you, you have seriously overstepped your boundaries. You’ve forgotten about the things we used to do together, hand in hand, like yoga, traveling and time spent with family and friends. You used to love these things and now they set you off, like you’re in danger doing the things that once made you feel safest.

I get it, adulthood is scary, but from what I hear, adulthood can also be pretty great. There are parts of my mind not tainted by you that believe life is joy, love and happiness in its fullest and most well-rounded definition. There are parts of my mind that seek to spread compassion to all I meet and, most importantly, to love myself abundantly.

Yet, this is another hat you wear, Anxiety. In the most ironic way, you are helping me grow these parts of my mind. You’ve brought to the surface my deepest and darkest fears, the harmful thought patterns bubbling beneath my consciousness and the minutiae of self-loathing and insecurity have come directly to my attention so I could not avoid them any longer. Thanks to the debilitating messages you’ve sent from my mind through my body, I am forced to confront what I’ve suppressed since I decided life was something I would live to the very corners of its possibilities.

I know you mean well, Anxiety, and I know now you are, at your core, a survival instinct. I am grateful to you for keeping me alive, well and safe for so long. However, now I am no longer just appreciating you, I am accepting you. I am giving you full permission to flourish as a part of my very being because I know now there is no part of me that doesn’t belong. There is no part of me that is less than worthy, and so I accept and honor your messages just the way they are.

I invite you to help me build the life of my dreams, to walk in stride with me as I face things that trigger you. Let us work together on those things. Let us not be separate or at war. We know now this only makes things worse. From this day forward, you have an open invitation to come into me and to join the love that I intend every day to emit to the world.

Thanks for everything, and sorry it took me so long.


We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Image via Thinkstock.
Originally published: November 23, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home