An Open Love Letter to Your Anxious Self
If you’re living with an anxiety disorder and have for most of your life, chances are high that you’ve encountered endless cycles of negative self talk, followed by criticism towards yourself for experiencing it. Thoughts such as: What is wrong with me? Why do I have this? I’m broken. This will never go away. It is completely understandable why these thoughts would come across your mind. Anxiety can be crippling and painful. In your lowest moments it can make you question yourself and who you are as a person. But anxiety does not mean you are broken. It does not mean something is wrong with you as a human being. It means just that—you are human.
As humans we all have struggles and challenges in life. For you, anxiety is one of yours. I understand this is hard to accept. In fact, many people with anxiety disorders fight this and refuse to accept it, which worsens the anxiety and lowers self-esteem. Anxiety is an emotion just like sadness and anger. It’s an uncomfortable one, but it is not unhealthy or wrong to have the feeling. Anxiety is our mind and body trying to protect us from something. For many of those with chronic anxiety, they are more easily sensitive to becoming anxious, the emotion is more easily triggered to a heightened degree, or the symptoms can be unmanageable and harder to relieve.
It can be difficult to accept that this is a part of yourself. However, it is important to try to learn why this is a part of who you are and why it does not dictate who you are as a whole person. It is important to acknowledge that this is a part of you that deserves love and patience, that your anxiety is protective of you emotionally and physically, that you have the innate ability to learn coping skills to manage this lifelong, and that you are not broken. This can help you learn to love yourself in a deeper way. This all takes time and hard work. There is no minimizing that. Anxiety is hard, but it also means you are strong. Therapy, psychiatric medications, and support systems can all help people learn to live with a vulnerability to anxiety, and practice self-love and self-compassion.
Be gentle with yourself. You are not your anxiety and your anxiety does not make you any less strong.