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Why I Am Loud When My Anxiety Kept Me Quiet

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I used to rarely speak.

When I was in middle school, not yet diagnosed with both anxiety and depression, I was afraid to speak. I was afraid people would judge me. I was afraid people would know everything about me. I was afraid people would misconstrue everything I did and said. I was afraid people would pretend to like me, while really they were secretly making fun of me. I was afraid anything I said would be offensive. After I was diagnosed, I was afraid people would think I was “crazy” or “psycho,” words that were so often thrown around but apparently had real meaning. So instead, I drew in even further to myself, letting only a select few in.

I was afraid of everything. I was afraid of anything.

But now I am loud.

It has taken years, but finally, in my late 20s, I am loud about these conditions inside me, talking to everyone in person and shouting into the internet.

The anxiety and depression are constantly at war with each other, and frequently I wonder if the turbulent waves will pull me under. Instead, I fight to tread water. I am still trying to find the perfect fit of medication, a psychiatrist and a therapist. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, and my internal monsters affect my passion for an industry I fought long and hard to get into. Simply being each day is more of an effort than I let people believe.

But I am loud.

I look back to the girl I was, the girl who felt physically ill at the thought of saying “here” during attendance in class. I wish I could help her, but now I can help you.

So I am loud.

That girl would have given anything to know how she felt was “normal” — that there was no reason to feel like nothing, no reason to feel like her thoughts were insignificant. I know that girl lives on in countless others, and many feel the same or different, and that is OK.

So I am loud.

You need to know that these tides do not own you. You need to know that even though some days you feel like you are drowning, you are still keeping your head above the water. You need to know that you are not alone. You need to know that you deserve the happiness I have briefly tasted and that I am fighting to find again. You need to know that the middle school girl should never have anything to fear.

So I am loud.

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Unsplash photo via Li Yang

Originally published: May 31, 2017
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