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A Letter to a Younger Me Struggling With Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Dear Younger Me,

I see you. I know you spend every night in fear. Your fears seem bigger than reality, and even though you know monsters don’t exist, burglars don’t care, and your parents are safe, you can’t help but feel terrified. You lay in bed every night with tears streaming down your face and your heart slowly but surely breaking. You feel betrayed by your own mind. You don’t understand why you can’t sleep; all you know is you’re absolutely exhausted.

What you don’t know is you aren’t alone. Most people at some point in their life will struggle with anxiety. You aren’t “going crazy;” you’re just scared. I know nothing feels OK, and it doesn’t seem like it will get better, but it will. You have generalized anxiety disorder.

You won’t be diagnosed until you’re 14, and it will feel like a hammer was dropped on your head. It all makes sense, but at the same time, it’s so senseless. You will be tempted to ask, “Why me?” Honestly, I don’t know. No one does, but this is you, and you were made for such greatness.

Next time you are in bed, tears streaming down your face, think about how strong you are. You will go through so many hard things, but what you will learn is you are stronger. Anxiety sucks, but it’s life. It hasn’t and will never define you. Your life is so much bigger. You will grow up and do amazing things. I know it feels like the pain is permanent. Some of the effects will be, but hope is real. It’s huge, and it can knock fear out in a single punch. Anxiety hides your hope, but I promise it’s there, and it will never leave, no matter who in your life does. It’s going to be OK. I swear it. Just keep hanging on.


Future You

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Thinkstock photo by Marian Vejcik

Originally published: March 17, 2017
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