Have you ever had the experience where, from the outside, something in your life should be a joyous occasion? Like it should be super low pressure and in no way should cause you stress?
But then, instead of smiling ear to ear out of genuine joy, you’re rocking a half smirk looking around at everyone else wondering why you’re the only one with a tornado inside your chest, experiencing shortened breath, on the verge of tears and you have zero idea why. Enter: anxiety.
If you’re like me and have been aware of having anxiety for a few years, you’d think that those moments would stop showing up because you’ve done the hard work to keep it out of your life like that toxic friend who you said sayonara to for good. The hard truth I've had to learn is that just when you think you’ve figured out how to manage this ugly green monster (no, not Shrek), anxiety comes out of nowhere and jumps on your back looking for a piggy back ride that you did not agree to.
Over the last year, I have really found my stride in my career and reached a place where I’m doing work that I feel confident in doing as well as knowing that I am genuinely helping people with this skill set.
As someone who is in her mid-twenties, is self employed, and has a decently sized Instagram following, these are considered the qualities of a “boss babe.” Now traditionally, boss babes won’t have signs in their home that say “live laugh love” but something more along the lines of “do no harm, take no shit” except in this case, the shit is the anxiety disorder that just sort of happened upon you and you can’t quite seem to shake it no matter how hard you try.
It’s beyond frustrating, feels unfair, and you want it to get out of your life faster than a TikTok trend. The worst part for me is that it often shows up when I least expect it. For months I’ll feel great (and by great I mean great by 2020 standards) and then BOOM there it is again. While there are a lot of stories out there that will talk about how someone overcame their struggle or kicked it to the curb, this is almost the exact opposite of that. This is a message that I WISH anxiety could hear if.. well, if it had ears and could hear anything at all.
Dear anxiety, read the room.
If anxiety could read the room, maybe it wouldn’t turn those moments that seem like they should be joyous into difficult memories. Maybe if anxiety could hear, it would know that you realize now that you didn’t have enough water yesterday and you’ll be making up for it today so if it could kindly leave that would be great. Maybe if anxiety just HAD to show up, it could be when you were already in your pjs at home after your work day was over and make a brief cameo rather than crash on your couch for a week and eat all of your favorite snacks.
I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know how we stop anxiety from showing up uninvited, but I write this in knowing that I am not alone in feeling this way and I hope you can find comfort in this sisterhood. Think of it like the Sisterhood of the Traveling pants but more like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Anxiety and without America Ferrera.
There are many coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety, all of which are worth giving a try, but what I have found that has been increasingly more helpful for me is to openly talk about it since it can be such an isolating experience. And in doing so, I hope more people can feel less alone in it, and support one another through those tough moments.
Whether you’re dealing with anxiety for the first time or going on your 80th year of dealing with it, here’s just a small reminder that you’re not alone.
Oh and, anxiety, if you are listening, kindly see yourself out. For good.