A week and a half ago I wrote an article out of desperation. I was coming down from one of the worst anxiety attacks I have had in months and I didn’t know how to cope. I had hit my breaking point. So instead of doing something stupid and reckless, I used the only power I believe is strong enough to mend me. Words. I sat down and poured everything I had, everything I couldn’t handle feeling out onto the page and I let it morph into something that maybe would help someone else deal with what I was forcing myself to face that day. Who knew that it would turn into the amazing thing that it has.
For a long time, I didn’t think that anxiety was something I could or should talk about. I thought if I told people what I was going through they would think I was crazy or treat me like I had a disability. After all, that’s how I had been treating myself. Why wouldn’t they treat me the same? Talking about the thing that destroys me was a terrifying thought. Now I realize that maybe that isn’t the case at all. Maybe it’s the key.
I have had dozens of people come to me and tell me how proud they are of me, how amazing and strong they think I am, and how talented and wonderful my work is. I have had people tell me that I helped them through their fight with anxiety and gave them the strength to share their own troubles with the people they love. As it turns out, sharing my anxiety with the world did exactly the opposite of what I imagined it would. It made me less anxious.
Through the tremendous outpouring of strength and respect and humbling gratefulness I have found through sharing the piece of me I had learned to hate, I have somehow learned to love the me that is so much bigger than that small bit. Not only that, but it has given me the courage and strength to really fight this beast and begin the journey of ridding myself of it for good. I never knew I would be able to do something like that.
When I wrote “What we mean when we say ‘I have anxiety'”, I never ever expected it to blow up the way it did. Sure, I imagined my friends and family would read the article and tell me they were there for me; that I was not in the anxiety game alone. Now I have people from across the country telling me how much I have helped them with my writing. I have hundreds of thousands of people reading my work and sharing it with their friends and family to try to help them understand just what it means to suffer from anxiety. I had my article picked up by one of the most well-known online newspapers in the country. I have had responses and appreciation from people I have never and will never meet or even know about. I can’t begin to explain what that feels like or the gratitude I have for all of those people I may never meet.
So I just want to extend the most sincere and deep thank you to everyone who has given me this incredible feeling, this amazing will to fight, and the success that pulled me up from rock bottom. Your support, your praise, your ability to share your stories in response to mine continues to floor me with every word I read from you all. Thank you thank you thank you.