From Our Readers: An Open Letter to Anxiety
First of all, wait. Breathe in, breathe out. Hello.
Second of all, thanks for the visit last night, and the other night, and on most nights. I really appreciate it, especially now that I have fewer friends than before which is probably because I pushed them away in fear of something I don't know. Fear of friendship, is there even such a thing?
People say you're a myth, that you're my imaginary friend. My mother said it's just the stress getting to me. My father said it's just a part of growing up. Other people say I'll get over it soon enough. But two years later, we're still here.
I still remember when I first met you. I was cramming with my school work for the next day when suddenly I can't catch my breath. I called my best friend, but I can't even remember back then what happened because to me it was all a blur, like it never happened, when it really did. I knew from then on that I was yours for the taking. And I was. I still am, actually.
Fast forward to two years and many many panic attacks later, you still cling to me. Some days, you're not there to cause me trouble and my mind is as clear as the sky. But there are days when you're a rainy cloud over my head. Those are the days when I keep reminding myself to inhale for seven seconds then exhale for another seven seconds until I calm down, and people around me tend to steer clear from my direction because they know better not to associate with me. Sometimes, I wish I could not associate with myself, too. Because I do not know exactly when you have become me and I, you.
I have well-working lungs. But why can't I breathe? My body is perfectly healthy, but why do I feel worse than when I have flu. You made me this, anxiety. You made me this shell of a person with walls built on fear, exhaustion, and hopelessness.