The Mighty Logo

I Won't Apologize for My Anxiety

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Learning how to process and express my anxiety has become all-consuming, and not in a bad way. It has been incredibly empowering to regain a strong mind-body connection. On my journey to learn how to cope with and manage my anxiety, I have experienced strong feelings of guilt and what I had perceived to be putting a burden on those I loved every time I reached out for support. More recently, I have had to fight this feeling to apologize and say “I’m sorry” each time I called my brother to cry, called my mom to vent or shared my feelings of struggle with a friend. I was sorry for introducing any stress or worry into their life, and I wished so badly to shelter others from the overwhelming stresses I felt. I was sorry, but that was not helping me heal.

I can’t apologize for feeling like “too much.”

I say “sorry” for crying. As I have progressed through therapy, I have started to feel my emotions again for the first time in a very long time. I spent almost a decade masking these feelings with fatigue, pain and self-criticism. I refused to feel my authentic emotions, something that I have regained during the past two years of therapy. I cry when I am processing these new emotions. My tears remind me I’m human. They are not always a sign of sadness or fear, and they are certainly not a sign of weakness. These tears are a physical sign of progress, and I cannot apologize for that. Instead, I need to be proud of these tears.

I can’t apologize for worrying

I worry that I am “too much.” Sometimes, this feeling eats away at my heart. My fears of being too needy when I want to feel a connection, too loving when it might not be reciprocated, too loud when my passions are pouring out of me like a flood, too strong when it’s seen as unfeminine, too quiet when it could be perceived as cold. I can’t apologize for my authenticity, for being myself in a world that tells me to be less of who I am. I must build confidence in my intuitive movements, behaviors and thoughts. I can’t work towards self-love while apologizing for living my truth.

I can’t apologize for my past

I feel shame for how I acted during my darkest days. I pushed away love and support, I isolated myself from meaningful connections. I damaged my body and mind by living in fear that any deviation from my rigid structures would end in me “losing control.” I am sad that I treated my body with so much disrespect and deprived myself of so much joy and connection. I am ashamed of knowing that I damaged my health in ways that are irreparable; however, I am coming to terms with the reality that “I” wasn’t doing these things, it was my disorder. I can’t apologize for what I did in the past, even if it is hard to share and express to others. I can only move forward knowing it has led to where I am right now; working hard to ensure my future is filled with much so much love and healing.

I can’t apologize for my progress

I can’t apologize for needing to surround myself with support and ensuring that I am in a supportive environment. I can’t apologize for promoting self-love, self-care and positivity. I have had to work so hard to get to a place where I can be positive, find joy in small successes, and share this view with those around me. For so long, I hid from the world and relied on self-criticism to drive me forward. I have learned that life is not meant to be lived in isolation and that social support breeds so much joy and happiness. I can’t apologize for making progress towards optimism and self-love, and I can’t apologize for needing to foster an environment for myself that breeds this positivity.

In recent months, I have recognized that my support system was much stronger than I gave them credit for and that I don’t have to be sorry for sharing my hardships and reaching out for their support and love. I have come to see the people in our lives are there for a reason — they are there to give us the support that we need. We are not a burden. I realize I am privileged to have this support in my life, and I don’t take that for granted. I have challenged myself to stop apologizing for showing and sharing my feelings and emotions because apologizing for sharing my most vulnerable experiences won’t allow me to foster self- acceptance and recovery. It can only feed the cycle of self-criticism.

In order to foster self-love and work towards recovery, I can’t apologize for my anxiety.

Unsplash photo via Veeterzy

Originally published: March 7, 2018
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