Okay. I’m sure you’re all thinking I am absolutely insane referring to my anxiety as my “best friend”. Either that or you’re all feeling really sorry for me because I clearly haven’t had the greatest experience with best friends based on my analogy. It took me a long time to get my head round this idea, but please stick with me! There is a method in my madness. Pardon the pun.
I hid my anxiety and panic attacks from my family and friends for 6 years, in part because I didn’t think they could ever understand it, but mostly because I couldn’t understand it myself. I spent my life listening to other people’s problems and the situations they had overcome in their life. The more I did this the more I made myself believe that my anxiety seemed so utterly pathetic in comparison with what other people were going through. I had no reason to be anxious. I had a fantastic upbringing with loving parents, I had amazing friends, a loving fiance. I was so unbelievably lucky, so why didn’t I feel it? My anxiety became my worst enemy. It followed me like a shadow, overwhelming me with the feeling of fear and sadness at the most bizarre moments. I persistently told myself that I would grow out of it, but as I got older my anxiety began to manifest in many different ways. I began to realise that my anxiety had lay with the theory that I wanted to be accepted, I wanted to please the people that I loved, the fear of losing or disappointing the people I love was the very reason my anxiety was prevalent.
Now, I view anxiety as my best friend. Without anxiety I do not believe that I would have unveiled this “flaw”. This flaw that I now see as a wonderful gift that has been given to me in life. My anxiety allows me to feel deeply, it helps me to empathise with others in ways that would have been otherwise overlooked. Anxiety is the helpful hand that pushes you towards a task that you may not feel comfortable in completing. Anxiety is the invisible force that drives you to compete, one that only you can see, helping you to excel. Anxiety is the devil on your shoulder goading you to do it when you really don’t feel that you can. But you do it and you feel fantastic. Anxiety, is the best friend that takes a back seat and let’s you shine in your proudest moments.
Anxiety is not a weakness, anxiety is an invisible strength that is there for you when you need it most. Anxiety can still be my worst enemy. Ultimately, however, it is my best friend.
The truth is those closest to us may never fully understand us; it’s most important though, that we understand ourselves.