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5 Reasons I'm Thankful for My Anxiety Disorder

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1. Thank you, anxiety, for forcing me to rely on my instincts.

Without an anxiety disorder, I would not have learned to trust myself. I’ve learned how important it is to listen to my body and mind and what it means to take care of myself.

2. Thank you, anxiety, for making me strong.

It’s ironic, because I think most people who live with anxiety can agree that strength is the last thing we feel, but honestly, I cannot think of anything stronger than living life like everyone else does while struggling with anxiety. It’s like living for two people, you and your anxiety. You know what you want to do, but your anxiety always wants to do the opposite. You’re in a constant battle with your mind. Anyone who can handle this on a daily basis is truly, incredibly strong.

3. Thank you, anxiety, for teaching me how to empathize.

There is nothing more comforting than finding someone who understands your anxiety. The best part about finding these people is they are usually in the places you least expect. My college orientation leader, a senior, is one of these people. I am so honored to know her and call her a friend.

4. Thank you, anxiety, for turning me into a generous person.

I have been told several times I am a generous person. I, of course, do not see this quality in myself. All I see is a girl who would not wish the pain and struggle that is anxiety on her worst enemy. I am someone who will go out of her way to make anyone’s day a little better because God knows the smallest of gestures can really change someone’s life.

5. Thank you, anxiety, for showing me it’s OK to rely on others.

Talking about anxiety is no easy task. I get anxiety just talking about anxiety. What I have learned, though, is the only way to get help is to talk about it. Talk to your mom, your best friend and your dog. Talk to the wall if it helps. Keeping all these terrible thoughts inside your mind will just make you feel like you’re crazier than you already think you are. (You’re not “crazy” by the way.)

It has been a challenge, to say the least, to come to terms with my generalized anxiety disorder. I have struggled with a major depressive disorder as a result of this, which hasn’t been easy to deal with either. I know these are problems I could potentially struggle with for the rest of my life, but I find peace in examining what good things, no matter how little, have come from this.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: November 17, 2016
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