The Mighty Logo

My Anxiety Does Not Make Me 'Weak'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I knew people saw me as the “weak one” in the group. But I did not know I earned the label in their eyes of being a burden, the one people were annoyed with. It was not until I saw the overflowing lies that filled my social media stream, that I realized they wanted to push me away, or at least the anxious part of me. Even seeing their lies and realizing all their smiles toward me were fake, it did not stop me from craving their presence, and I hated myself for that. I would continually give, and all I would get in return was more favors they would ask of me and exclusion from plans. I am not sure if they ever really cared about me, and I do not think I will ever know the answer to that. For a while, that broke my heart and made me feel as if they were right about my presence being a nuisance. Now I realize it is not me who is the “weak” one. It is certainly them.

I preface what I say with apologies, already having an innate fear my anxiety will drive people away. I hoped people would see past my anxiety, not let it consume my identity inside their minds. Yet, it did. That was all they saw. For a long time, I believed I needed to change, that they were right about me being “weak.” I believed if I maybe became less anxious, if I put on a facade, they would like me more. They would see me, beyond the anxiety I am ridden with. This only made my anxiety worse, and in result, made me seem “weaker” in their eyes. They wanted me to change, they wanted me to be more enjoyable. I tried so hard, I wanted to be the person they could love, the person they wanted to surround themselves with.

They have no clue about the journey I have taken to get to where I am mentally, and how I am content with where I am as I know I have made so much improvement. They convinced me my improvement was not enough. That to be truly seen and accepted by them, any mental health problems could not be expressed outwardly. This was hard to do as I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I tried to push down the symptoms, yet I would slip up and they would degrade me for it. They only had me around when they thought I was “cured,” I was a “changed girl,” no longer “weak” to them. When they did see me as the “weakest” one among them, they would outwardly lie to me, exclude me and treat me like the dirt beneath their feet, all because they thought they could do that with no repercussions because they saw me as “weak.”

At first, I convinced myself they treated me like this because they wanted me to be less anxious, so I would, in turn, be happier. But they did not care about my happiness. Another excuse I used is they all could not mentally handle me being “weak,” yet I never put my problems unto them. I continually gave them all the benefit of the doubt, placed the responsibility of their actions on myself. I told myself I was too much to handle, yet that was not it at all. They saw me as “weak,” and I did not realize they were a group of people who unintentionally would play survival of the fittest. Before me, it was someone else they singled out, and I know the loop has continued after I left.

Just because they believe I am “weak” does not mean I am. I have gone through hardships they could not even imagine. Every day used to be a fight to stay alive and to not hurt myself. When I was with them, those thoughts came back and I had to actively fight again to keep my heart beating. My anxiety does not make me “weak.” It is not all I am. I am a human being beyond my anxious thoughts. It is still a part of me that I cannot and do not want to change. My anxiety does not make me “weak,” I truly believe it has made me strong.

Unsplash image by Joshua Rawson Harris

Originally published: March 19, 2020
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