The Mighty Logo

I Hate My Anxiety, but I Love Myself

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I hate my anxiety.

I hate the familiar dizzy, swollen feeling in my head when it’s coming and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. It starts when I think I disappointed someone (again), when I disappoint myself, when I have to talk about an uncomfortable subject, when I anticipate a confrontation, when I question whether I said the right things, when I face a decision and feel like no matter what I do, it will be wrong. It happens when I can’t trust my own thoughts because they contradict each other from one second to the next.

I hate when I breathe and it feels like the oxygen is not getting anywhere.

I hate when I want to be broken with other people, but I’m afraid they’ll reject me and I’ll be broken all alone.

I despise unfinished thoughts. And overdone thoughts. And thinking.

I hate being tired when I haven’t done anything. Just thinking about everything I have to do is exhausting. I hate not having it all together, even though I’m one of the most “together” people I know.

I hate feeling like I have to do everything right. Is there really a right or wrong way to eat, dress, brush your teeth, write in your journal, vent to your friend or feel? I want the freedom to make mistakes. I don’t want such a d*mn guilty conscience. I hate that even when I am relaxed, I know it’s not going to last. (Maybe the relaxed spells can get longer and more frequent and the anxious spells can get shorter?)

I hate that when I perceive conflict with someone, I cannot stop playing the scenario in my head. I purposefully turn my thoughts to other things. I pray. I tell myself how I’m going to resolve the conflict as soon as possible. Still, my mind goes back to repeat, repeat and freakin repeat. I hate how long it takes my body to calm down once I get worked up. I take deep breaths. I walk. I pray. I ignore, and sometimes, I have to sleep it off.

I hate when I almost passed out at work because my boyfriend was 15 minutes late to pick me up. Even though my mind knew he’d be there soon, my anxiety was sure he was going to leave me hanging. I hate the constant cramps and soreness in my shoulders, neck and back. I hate when the nerve pains shoot down my arm and make me think I’m having a heart attack. Even though I know it’s an anxiety attack, I take an aspirin just to be safe.

I hate never feeling prepared enough to start anything and always feeling like there’s something I forgot. I hate what a big part of my life this has become.

But I love my life.

I don’t love anxiety, but I love myself, and anxiety is an aspect of me. So I accept it.

I appreciate anxiety because it has shown me what I can overcome and how strong I am to always come back.

Although I hate the way people react to my anxiety (“You’re such a pretty little thing. You have a good life. What do you have to be anxious about?”), I appreciate my anxiety because it makes me more understanding. I am determined never to make another person feel small because of the way uneducated people have made me feel. I hope I never say things like, “If you just trusted God…,” “If you just took this herb or medication…,” or “If you just decided not to worry, then things would be better.”

Instead, I’ll say, “I know it’s hard. I understand, and I’m here for you.” I appreciate my anxiety because maybe my words and experiences can help someone else who feels like no one understands. Maybe I can be their “angel with skin on,” someone who is there for them. I appreciate my anxiety because, when I pour my anxious feelings out on paper, I produce some of my best creative work. Sometimes, I can write almost as fast as I can think.

I appreciate my anxiety because it forces me to spend some time, alone and quiet, when otherwise I would try to be busy and productive all the time. It’s during the “alone time” where I feel the most like myself.

I appreciate my anxiety because, although it does not define me, it is a part of my journey, and I love who I am in the making.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: August 18, 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