Thursday, March 7, 2013

To the Man Who Thinks It's Weird That I Still Feel Anxious Around Him:

I wish that I could accurately put into words what it feels like to be this anxious all the time; to be uncomfortable around everyone, even myself.

I struggle to make anxiety tangible because my mouth is dry, my fists are clenched too tightly to hold a pen and my jaw aches from grinding my teeth. I can't seem to open my mouth wide enough or maintain eye contact long enough to teach you about the crawling sensation under my skin or the fear of judgement lining my skull and holding my brain together.

I can, however, tell you what anxiety is not. It's not what you said it is; it's not weird. It's not weird that some of the chemicals in my head aren't balanced, it's not weird that I take pills to calm the jitters, it's not weird that I've felt this way for so long that it's become a comfortable habit. It's not weird that I am one of 40 million adults in America who have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety as a constant companion is far from weird.

What might actually be considered weird is the way I've handled anxiety; the way I get up and work in a job far outside of any comfort zone I've ever known or how I'v been able to open myself up on paper and to read aloud, even when I'm out of breath and my voice is shaking. What's weird is the amount of fight I still have left in me after almost two decades of valleys, false hopes, and days where it hurt to get out of bed. What's weird is that I'm still letting you in, intimately, when you don't understand.

I might not be able to make anxiety clear for you at least know this: I have anxiously, successfully made it this far and for that I am worthy of your respect.

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