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The Silver Lining of Living With Anxiety

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For as long as I can remember, anxiety has been a constant in my life. I remember throwing up from anxiety often throughout my childhood and into adulthood. I remember laying awake at night, fearful of bad things that could happen to me. My heart always raced too fast — it still does — and my stomach is always churning. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have been a part of me since the beginning.

Anxiety for me is overthinking each thing that happens in my day. Anxiety for me is feeling sick to my stomach. Anxiety for me is being restless and jittery.

Anxiety for me is a tightening feeling in my chest. Anxiety for me is intrusive thoughts and compulsions. Anxiety for me is excessive apologies.

Anxiety for me is also in the form of dermotillomania – picking my skin until it bleeds. Anxiety for me is excessive doubt.

Anxiety for me is never quite feeling good enough. Anxiety for me is feeling the need to self-medicate. Anxiety for me is feeling trapped under a tidal wave of fear.

Anxiety for me is torture.

But then again, there are good things that have come from my anxiety.

Anxiety has made me more empathic towards others’ situations. Anxiety has made me truly appreciate moments of calm and tranquility. Anxiety has made me grateful that bad things aren’t actually happening and that most of my worries are in my head.

I might even be able to say that anxiety makes me creative — some of my best writing and art has been produced while I am trying to calm down my anxiety. I also credit anxiety to the reason I’m never late for an appointment or meeting. Anxiety has helped me organize my schoolwork. So in many ways, I can be grateful to have anxiety in my life.

Anxiety disorders are definitely not easy to live with, but I suppose there is a silver lining to every cloud.

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Thinkstock via Victor_Tongdee

Originally published: March 1, 2017
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