You don’t “have” anxiety.

Anxiety is something that you *feel* because of past experiences in your life and the way you learned to respond. It also tends to be the result of built-up stored emotion.

Anxiety is not something that is happening to you.

It is not attached to you like a thing you cannot control.

The way we speak about things matters.

The first time I ever went to a therapist they diagnosed me with anxiety and made me speak to a psychologist who told me I would not heal my anxiety without medication.

As if it was a disease I now was just stuck with.

An uncontrollable thing.

I said no to the medication. Even though he tried to convince me.

It can seem way easier to just take the medication and decide that you could not possibly be in control of your own mind.

It can make you feel special to say “I have anxiety” and to imagine that no one understands because you just have this thing wrong with you.

It is a slippery slope.

Believing that you have this thing wrong with you that only medication can fix will result in you handing your power right over to a doctor/pill who you can project your parents onto and imagine that they’ll take care of you and make everything bad go away.

It will result in you designing your life around managing the anxiety.

It will result in you living your life attached to the anxiety.

And you will bury the actual emotions and the actual root of it all in the meantime.

I have had panic attacks. They are scary as fuck. And I don’t have them anymore.

I was anxious for so many years – exacerbated after my brother’s accident but before that too.

I am almost never anxious anymore.

When I tell you it was bad – if a boyfriend didn’t answer a text quickly that meant to me that they were dead. I’d be crying and shaking on the floor.

I watch it attempt to kick up nowadays and it’s fascinating. If Jordan says he’ll be home at a certain time and is not home my mind wants to throw a fit. It wants to play out all possible scenarios. To give me that familiar old hit of panicky sensation.

I can watch it and I can hold it. And I don’t let it get to the point where a physical response happens.

People say “I have anxiety” like it’s something to learn to baby and tiptoe around. Like it’s a precious child that they carry.

It’s not yours.

It’s not a real thing.

It is a thing that your mind does as a practiced response to your life.

It will create feelings in your body that will seem like they are true.

I bet that part of you even likes feeling it.

It’s like a drug.

And it is all actually under your control.

People don’t like hearing this because it requires them to take responsibility for their mind.

And you know what? It requires work.

You have to go into the pain you don’t want to feel. You have to leap off the cliff and decide that exploring yourself is worth more than the comfortability of your current life.

You have to decide that there is nothing more important than excavating these pieces no matter how much it hurts. You have to choose the unknown over the familiar.

And maybe this path is not for everyone.

But if it is for you I want you to really hear this.

The way we speak about things matters.

It is not “your” anxiety.

It’s not something that is wrong with you.

It is a result of the way our culture deals with emotions.

You are a crystal mine of pieces to discover and explore.

And you are the only one who can choose to explore it.

 

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