A Letter to My Anxiety


Dear Anxiety,

We’ve been talking more than usual recently… well, you’ve been talking more than usual recently. I haven’t been able to get a word in edgewise, so I decided to write you this letter.

I’ll start with an apology. I’m sorry that I wear combat boots, I know they scare you. I’m sorry that I trip over my words as much as I do my feet. I’m sorry that I waited until last minute to turn in that assignment. Anxiety, I am so sorry that I allow change to happen without warning you. Most of all, I am sorry that I forget to breathe when you speak, I know this only makes you panic.

Anxiety, I know you are only trying to help me, but please, don’t forget that you are the poison in my veins. You explode against my bones and leak through my skin. You build dams between my head and lungs, forcing pent up emotions over the edges of my eyes. You puncture my heart and fill it with the ink until it can no longer beat… All in the name of keeping me safe.

I understand that this is how you function: filling each step with fear and doubt so that I will always look before I try to move forward. You see the unknown and understand the dangers that may appear, understand the risk it will take to step into this change, and you fight to keep me away from it. You do not want to see me hurt. You are trying to protect me: protect me from the heartwrenching pain that could so easily be inflicted if I take the wrong step.

This protectiveness is what causes our current dilemma. You fear the change that is happening, I understand. I understand that the unknown is full of danger and the possibility of hurt. You remind me often of endless possibilities, all ending in tragedy, yet for someone so obsessed with “what if”, you seem to have missed the most crucial question: What if it’s worth it?

Anxiety, I am not asking you to leave, you are apart of me and I don’t know what I would do without you, but I think its time to compromise. I will only wear my combat boots when you are sleeping and cannot hear my echoing footsteps. I’ll work hard to turn in assignments earlier so that you can rest easy. I will breathe when you speak.

I will do all this if you promise to do something for me: consider more than just tragedy when you venture towards futures unknown. More than that, consider the struggle, pain, and danger that these futures hold, and realize that every future, every possibility will be full of turmoil and unease, there will be heartbreak and danger, but this does not mean that we refuse to go on. Anxiety, we are going to die, but we can’t let this stop us from living.

I understand that this compromise will prove difficult for both of us. The challenges we face as we move forward will be great, we will be tempted to fall into old patterns, but I am willing to try if you are.