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To My Anxious Parents, From Your Anxious Daughter

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To my anxious parents,

I have never told you this, but I am thankful for your anxiety. Because of your experiences, you noticed my anxiety early, and got me the help I needed. You spoke to me from an early age and gave me the confidence to overcome and not feel ashamed of my mental illness.

Mom, thank you for taking me to meet your therapist. Because of this, I knew it was OK when I made my first appointment.

Thank you for seeing my scars and talking me through one of the most difficult and confusing stages of my life. You never got angry at me or made me feel embarrassed. You helped me, and never let it show that you were hurting as you watched your child hurt. 

Dad, thank you for always being willing to talk to me through a difficult day and just listen. It’s comforting to know you’ve had the same feelings and it does get better.

Thank you for sitting with me through my first panic attack. You talked when I needed words, and were quiet and just held me when I needed silence.

I’m lucky to have seen both of you live through your own struggles and succeed with family, career and general life. You have supported me and helped me through my deep struggles, and have modeled how to live a wonderful and meaningful life because of and despite mental illness.

Just watching how you both live with anxiety has been extremely helpful in my life. You never pretended to be perfect. Sometimes, you showed your struggles, and other times you struggled in private without me knowing. I learned coping mechanisms from watching you, even if you never noticed. From you, I learned about self-care, medication, therapy and not holding feelings in. Never once did you make me feel that my or your anxiety should be secretive or shameful.

I hope other parents with anxiety can be as brave and supportive as you were to me. It is just one of the many traits that made you such wonderful parents. 

Your anxious daughter

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Getty Images photo via evgenyatamanenko

Originally published: January 29, 2018
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