For All the Anxious People

I feel like my brain never shuts off. 

It’s constantly whirling, thinking, planning, worrying, overthinking, and quite honestly its draining. 

I try to think back on a time when I didn’t have anxiety, and I honestly can’t remember my life without my overthinking. Things that people don’t give a second thought about, I think about constantly.

I’ve lived in this continual state of anxiety for what feels like forever. I don’t talk about it often, and I think most people would be really surprised to hear how much I struggle to fight against my brain. But I think it’ important to vocalize, because so many of us put one face out into the world and suffer internally and oftentimes in silence.

It wasn’t until I became serious in my romantic relationship that I realized just how badly my anxiety was impacting my ability to do normal things.

Let me break down to you how my brain tends to think about things, and why it is so incredibly exhausting. 

Here’s a prime example. I just made the permanent move to St. Louis, and figured it was time to finally get my Missouri Driver’s License and License Plates. Mind you, I could have done this at any point during college but the idea of having to talk to people at the DMV, fill out paperwork, and advocate for my own needs was too overwhelming. 

After trudging through the incredibly murky website in order to find everything I would need, I was suddenly overcome with feelings of overwhelm, convinced I was going to have to pay multiple fines, get laughed out of the DMV and denied a license. 

I spent probably a good month worried about this situation. Creating conversations in my head about what I would say to the people taking my information at the DMV. How would I justify taking so long to get my car registered here? I was inventing stories and situations that consumed me constantly, making my stomach hurt and my heart ache.

When I finally mustered the courage to simply go into the office and ask for help on my paperwork, the woman could not have been nicer. In fact, it was probably one of the best customer service experiences I’ve ever had… at the DMV of all places!

I walked out of there knowing exactly what I needed to complete the process and the next week, it took me all of 20 minutes to get a new drivers license and new plates. 

Wow. 

What could I have done with all the time I spent worrying about situations that never came to life? I could have spent more time reading a good book, enjoying time walking my dog or making dinner with Collin. All things that had been overshadowed by my constant anxiety. 

It’s taken me years like this to realize that part of my personality has become so dependent on living with anxiety and stress, that I create situations to fulfill my worst nightmares.

It’s like I’m addicted to being stressed out.

Yikes.

Talk about a terribly personality trait.

But I wanted to write about this because I think it’s something we don’t talk about enough. Our mental health doesn’t always fit into a cookie cutter box. Sometimes the way we experience hurt and depression and anxiety is different than our friends, partners and coworkers. You might not always understand or even notice that someone is struggling with their own demons.

Having patience with others is so important, but having patience with ourselves is where we can start to heal. 

My Mom has always preached to me that being kind to ourselves should always be our first priority. And I think this is especially true for young adults who are just beginning to live our lives. It’s so easy to become burdened by our own brain, putting up roadblocks for ourselves that don’t need to be there.

I’ve become so comfortable living with my stress, that I often wear it like a security blanket, unsure what to do with myself when I don’t have a stressful situation to worry about.

It’s only recently that I’ve really begun to contemplate all the things I have held myself back from accomplishing because I’m weighed down by the security blanket of my stress.

Being a young adult is not easy. It’s a learning process that takes time, resiliency and lots of patience. I hope that being open about my own mental health might encourage you to begin exploring your own. Show yourself love, patience and kindness and know that your anxiety does not define you, it’s simply a part of who we are as complex people.


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