Over the past year and a half, I have been on this incredible journey. And I’m not just talking about going to college and growing up and becoming an adult. Because I’m on a journey with an unwanted passenger. Her name is Anxiety.
Over the past year and a half, Anxiety and I have gotten to know each other pretty well. You may even go so far as to say that we’ve gotten pretty close. I’ve introduced her to all of my friends, and we hang out a lot. She likes to tag along to important events and family functions, and sometimes I just happen to run into her; I never know where or when that might happen.
A lot of people I know are uncomfortable around Anxiety. They don’t know how to act around her. Sometimes she is too loud and says things too bluntly or insensitively. Sometimes she causes a scene by leaving the room suddenly. Sometimes she gets a little paranoid and asks the same question over and over again because she needs constant reassurance. And the thing about Anxiety is, for every pattern you notice in her, there’s an equal and opposite contradiction; for as predicable as she is, she is just as unpredictable.
But Anxiety and I are managing things in our own way. We have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. But the worst part about Anxiety is that I hate having her around. I hate never being able to know when she’s going to come for a surprise visit. I hate having to explain her presence to people and hope they’re not put off by her. I hate having to try to tame and control her so that people don’t judge what they can’t understand. I hate having to “get over her” because what’s real to me isn’t real to other people. And most of all, I hate wondering if she’s pushing me away from the people that I love.
Anxiety makes a lot of people uncomfortable. They don’t know how to act around her. Truth be told, she doesn’t know how to act around them either. These people don’t really understand Anxiety. But they try to. And I love them for it. But I also want them to know that the thing that causes me the most anxiety of all is anxiety over whether or not she is pushing them all away from me.
No one can really say how long Anxiety will stick around at any given time. We’re on good terms right now. I guess you could say we’re pen pals. She says she’s sorry. Sorry that she causes discomfort, sorry that she makes people worry, sorry that she comes at the most inconvenient times, and sorry that she makes me difficult to love. But she also says thanks. Thanks for having patience, thanks for trying to understand, thanks for taking the time to read this post, and thanks for loving me anyway.
The worst thing about Anxiety is: She hides behind me.