“To most people, I am a construct of the human imagination. I come forth when you are afraid and unsure. When you do not trust the world or yourself, I am there to guide you. I am not loved by many. I am misunderstood. If you fear me, I come with more ferocity. But there are a few who have found solace in me; who have discovered that although I may appear innately evil, I can be your friend. I can make you into a stronger being. You just have to do the seemingly impossible; a journey of a lifetime. You must accept me for who I am. I. Am. Anxiety. And I am your friend.”
When I first met Anxiety, we were not friends. Anxiety bullied me into shying away from friends and pushed me to stay home and miss out on social events. “I don’t feel good today, mommy” I would say. I skipped birthday parties, and stayed home from school more than what’s considered normal. Anxiety told me not to take swimming lessons, causing me to fall behind two years.
As I grew older, my parents grew more concerned. My dad knew Anxiety very well, and he pushed me to socialize and go to new places. “You don’t have a choice” he’d say. Anxiety liked to hold me especially tight on those days, and knotted my stomach until I got physically ill.
Getting sick worked for a long time. Anxiety found a way for me to just hang out with it all day. My parents would hear me vomiting in the morning before going to a birthday party, and then they’d call my friends and tell them I couldn’t come because I had the flu.
I became known as the kid who was always sick. It was hard to keep lasting friendships at school. I had a few best friends over the years, but because I was so flakey, they never stuck around. No one knew that I hung out with Anxiety. She was my secret bully.
Bullies have a way of making the victim go silent. No one wants to admit they are weak and powerless, so they just take the victimization and slowly shrink back into the dark corners of their thoughts. Anxiety dragged me into my own internal hell. I became closed off and remote, and no one noticed.
My story may start in sorrow, but it doesn’t end there. It’s a long tale, so I suggest you sit back with a cup of your favourite beverage and join me on the uphill battle towards this unlikely friendship.
Begin Chapter One.