When you get hit in the face with anxiety, the first thing you want more than anything in the world is to ‘be better.’ What you (or we) constitute as ‘better’ is ‘back to normal’ or ‘how we were before.’ I don’t know how many times my friends, family or boyfriend at the time would as me “why can’t you just go back to normal?” and although it comes from a place of misunderstanding, it also comes from a place of seeing you hurt, and wanting you to be happy again.
The hardest part is realising that the likelihood is that you never will be ‘better’ or ‘back to normal,’ it’s just something you have to live with. When I first got anxiety, I saw a lot of negativity surrounding this, people yearning for things they had before – and there wasn’t much positivity – which I guess is understandable since having anxiety sucks. But I want to really try and change that.
What if, we are made ‘better’ by our anxiety? I know that sounds crazy but take from my experience:
- If I hadn’t had anxiety I wouldn’t appreciate life and the good moments as much as I do now. I wouldn’t understand that time is precious, and how thankful I am to be otherwise healthy and having amazing experiences. I take every day as it comes, some are good and some are bad, but having to deal with the lowest of lows in the past, when I was at my worse, makes me value people and the experiences I take so much more.
- If I hadn’t had anxiety I wouldn’t know who my true friends are. For years I have been someone that just wants to help other people out, and not divulge much about myself, I would just deal with things. When I got anxiety, I needed people more than ever, and those that couldn’t be there for me, or disappeared when I was different because of it made me sad, but thankful. I also MADE friends, in people I had no clue were going through something similar, and those who took the time to truly understand what I was going through.
- If I hadn’t had anxiety I wouldn’t be as understanding as I am. Before, I would treat the words ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ as adjectives and not something that affects your entire being. Now I am so much more of a compassionate person – because I know how it feels.
- If I hadn’t had anxiety I wouldn’t be as confident as I am. I know it sounds weird, but when I started improving after being in a huge hole for a few months I snapped back with a huge zest for life. I didn’t care what people thought of me. I just wanted to take the good moments in life and live them and do whatever the hell I wanted. It felt freeing.
- If I hadn’t had anxiety I wouldn’t be as strong as I am. Just by getting on the tube I feel like I can conquer anything, I value myself a lot more as a person than I did before and realise that its okay to sit in bed and sleep or just watch TV shows if I’m having a bad day. Knowing your body and how to be comfortable with yourself is something you are just forced to learn.
I really encourage anyone else going through something like this, to stop reading negative forums, or encourage them that the time will come when they will feel more adapt with their anxiety. If you’re going through it right now, it will get better, and your life will be changed and different. It’s something we all have trouble accepting – but different isn’t necessarily a bad thing.