You have led me to believe that I do not fit into this world. That no matter how hard I try to be something, I will never be good enough. That I should give up again and again, because I am a failure. Because the people in my life see my failures. My boss. My coworkers. My family. My friends. They keep me around to appease me, not because they want to. The truth you lead me to believe is; I am dragging them down.
You also tell me that I am not fun unless I am drinking. When I drink too much, you come out more and make it worse. Sometimes I am angry and raging and other times I am sad and cry. Sometimes I even do stupid things for a momentary high, to feel released from your grasp and that I am invincible. Of course, it always comes crashing down and I am left flooded with regret and even more assurance that I am the loser you peg me to be. I’m an idiot. Everyone knows, they are only being pleasant to my face because they don’t want to be tangled up in this web of madness. You trick me into thinking that everyone distances themselves from me when it is I who keep them at arms length for fear of them knowing that I am affiliated with you, for if they knew the truth they would surely leave anyways.
You have led me to leave things that brought me joy. You made me believe that it would be better if I started over rather than continue on the path I face. That new people and new opportunities, even though they are equally as scary, allow me to be a fresh face where nobody knows me or my mistakes. They can’t judge me, yet. But when they do, I can leave again.
The real kicker is that I have begun to realize I am not alone. Not only in the holds of you, but in life. I have friends who care. I have family who cares. Every time I try to push them away and make them see me for the failure you try to trick me into thinking I am they remind me that nothing I could do could make them go away. They remind me that I am good enough. That I am loved. That I am deserving.
So when you creep up on me and try to fool me into thinking that I should hide myself away and quit trying… I have them to lean on. To help me understand that you are a lie and I am the truth. They help me accept that I have made mistakes, but it’s okay because everyone makes mistakes and nobody should spend an eternity of sleepless nights worrying about something they did last year or 10 years ago because nobody else remembers it. Only you do, Anxiety. You only bring the worst out in me. But despite everything you have put me through in this life I also want to thank you.
Thank you for making me more understanding of people around me. To give me the empathy to know that when someone else does something they may be ashamed of that they too may be suffering from your wrath. To know that my view of others is distorted at times and only a reflection of my own fears and that I should not act or react on my immediate feelings of rejection. I should sit with them until I understand where they come from and why… and usually they root back to the familiar culprit, you of course.
I may not be able to explain to everyone at every time why I am quiet or excessively loud, exhausted or hyper, content or struggling to feel okay about anything at any time. But I know that when the negative sets in, I can release it. I can be okay. Maybe not in this moment, but soon it will pass, it always does. What used to send me into spirals of panic and upset can be seen for what it is and dealt with accordingly… for the most part. I am still human and I still succumb to my emotions. Sometimes you get the best of me and I have to remind myself that I am stronger. In the end, I know I am.
So this is my letter to you. Or perhaps, it is my letter to me, to remind me that despite everything I am okay. I am good enough. I am loved. And most importantly, I am strong enough to recognize challenge is not the same thing as failure.