Dear Anxiety

I wrote this letter a few years ago to my anxiety. So I thought I would share it.

Dear Anxiety,

I never imagined that I would write this letter to you, I imagined us growing old together with years of tears and resentment.

I always felt like you controlled me as if you were stronger than me, you had the ability to change my mood in seconds, you were able to overpower feelings of joy and happiness and turn me into a person who couldn’t control their breathing or their thoughts.

You came with me everywhere; to the shops, to work, to my daughter’s school events, you were stuck to me pouring poison into my mind.

You first showed up a long time ago, I thought you were trying to protect me, I thought you were trying to stop me from trusting the wrong people, from being hurt by people I thought loved me, you taught me to be hyper-aware of everyone.  It started with a whisper, a gentle voice of self-loathing and gradually it became louder and louder.  I started to listen to you more until you had your wish that I was paranoid of everyone. You made me believe even my loved ones hated me, and you drowned out their voices of them telling me they loved me, that they cared.

I feared to be around everyone. I was afraid of what they were thinking of me. I was scared of people’s reactions to me, so I learnt to block out their voices.  I could become invisible in rooms full of people.  I was paranoid if I spoke to people I would say the wrong thing.  I would look back at each event, thinking what did I say, did I act in a way I might regret?  The questions went over and over in my mind. I could never relax with you around.

You made sure that I was alone, that it was just you and me.

I always tried to make your voice smaller, I’d overeat, I’d abuse myself, I tried medication and therapy and talking, but still, you made me paralysed with self-doubt and filled up all the space in my brain.  On the worse days, I couldn’t read a book; I couldn’t concentrate at work, I couldn’t laugh for fear. When I fell in love, this was something new for you; you had more ammunition to attack me, I wasn’t good enough for him, I wasn’t pretty enough, he was going to leave.

I stopped allowing myself to dream in case you destroyed them too.

People were asking- where is the person you use to be?  The truth was I didn’t even know, I suppose I was now scared to be me.

It was only when I couldn’t take anymore, I was left with a choice, it was either you or me.  So, I choose me. I found a voice, talking about you through words, communicating about how much room you consumed in my mind, about what we have been through together, I gave you the power to make you believe I was worthless, that I was unlovable, now I was going to take it back.

Slowly but surely I turned that fear into faith, belief in myself.  I stopped worrying hours of my life away.  I stopped being afraid of tomorrow or what disaster could happen, tormenting myself won’t prevent the bad things from happening, it’s only going to stop me from enjoying the good.

I am learning every day that I like me, yes I make mistakes, I am not perfect, but I am human, and I am worthy of kindness, and I love with my whole heart.

So, pack your bags and leave because you were part of my past but you’re not invited to my future.

You don’t get to define me anymore.

Love Frankie

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