Today, let’s talk about something that’s far too often ignored, underestimated & left in the dark.
When you look at this photo, can you tell that the girl in front of you denied it, but suffered from severe anxiety a few months ago, worked hard to accept it & learn how to cope with it?
Probably not, right?
That’s the problem.
Anxiety is a mental illness.
- It can’t be seen.
- Sometimes, it can’t even be heard.
Whether it’s seen or heard, it’s there & it’s real.
It’s so real that it’s like being trapped in a claustrophobic elevator, where you can’t breathe or find the words.
It’s like drowning in an ocean where you can’t scream for help.
It’s like living with demons inside your head that remain quiet, but are never actually silenced. Calm as they may be, they wait patiently for a trigger, a reason to wake & crawl back into your life.
Anxiety doesn’t get better overtime if you just wait it out. You have to treat it.
People with anxiety don’t just need to relax. They need to face it & deal with it.
When I first realized I had anxiety, I denied it because truth be told, I was scared of what people would think.
I denied it so hard that I lied my way through skipping weddings, birthdays & outings with friends.
I lied & said I was busy or tired. It was partially true.
I was busy & tired but not in the way most people would understand.
I was busy. Busy taking deep breaths, questioning “why me?”, silencing irrational thoughts, doing mind work, finding ways to cope with triggers, calming a racing heart that felt like it was about to pound out of my chest & telling myself I’d be okay.
I was tired. Tired of being a slave to the bigger, stronger & wiser force living inside of me. I was tired of fighting a constant battle with my own soul.
I may be strong, but I’ve also cried when nobody was watching.
I’ve hibernated in bed for days.
I’ve lost hope, been let down & felt like I was about to collapse.
I’ve experienced all those things because I HAVE ANXIETY.
Today, I stand proud, as I’ve found ways to cope with it & it doesn’t haunt me nearly as much as it used to.
It’s a part of my life but it’s not who I am.
You’d never know it’s there, but it is.
So please, be kind. The person next to you may be fighting a battle you know nothing about.
Physical, mental, visible or concealed, nobody’s illness is more worthy than another’s.
Don’t let society’s depiction (or lack thereof) of your illness make you feel like you don’t deserve to be heard.
If you deal with anxiety, face your reality & most importantly, be a voice, not a victim.