Oh, anxiety. My constant companion, my never-ending friend, it's always there. Even when I think it's not there or it isn't affecting me at that particular moment, it is. It's always lurking in the back of my psyche, ever-ready to pounce and demolish a perfectly good situation.

Unfortunately, anxiety plagues 40 million people in the United States over 18, and yet only a third of those who have experienced anxiety seek treatment. I am one of those 40 million, I have anxiety. I have been diagnosed, I take medication to keep it at bay, and I attend therapy to learn how to manage the onslaught of anxious thoughts.

I used to be afraid to admit that I had anxiety. I thought that admitting that I had anxiety made me one of the "less desirable," those in society who are cast off to the side because they are "different" or have something wrong with them that makes others uncomfortable. I thought that having anxiety made me, in a way, damaged goods. I thought that it meant I was "unlovable," or incapable of a "normal" existence.

It wasn't until I realized that these thoughts, these labels I had begun to assign myself, were a direct result of my anxiety that I began to understand how anxiety really affected me. I had unwilling and unknowingly allowed anxiety to take hold of my life and permeate into areas it had no business being a part of.

Once I realized this, I tried everything to keep it at bay, to make it stop, to keep myself from feeling the constant assault of fear and apprehension that seemed to accompany my every waking moment. I tried to smoke it out with pot, I tried to drown it with alcohol, I tried to silence it with avoidance, and ignorantly, I thought they were all working.

The truth is, nothing completely cures anxiety. There is no secret formula, there is no obscure remedy that can be found anywhere to cure anxiety. Sure, medication helps, but it only helps short term. You can't rely upon medication for ever. Anxiety never goes away. You can learn to manage it with cognitive behavioral therapy, you can practice mindfulness, you can try all you want to be present in the now and not live in the unknown, but all of that doesn't cure anxiety. 

Nothing cures anxiety. It will always be there. Anxiety is like the annoying relative, sibling, friend, you name it, that won't stop talking, that won't ever leave. They show up at the most inopportune time and demand to be noticed, demand to be recognized. Anxiety demands an audience and it is your job as the assembly to recognize its presence and then move past it. It is your job to realize that anxiety is there but to be happy despite it. It is your job to choose to look past the negativity, to look past the antagonism, and be you.

In a world of uncertainty (expressed uncertainty with anxiety), you can be certain that you will always have a companion. It may not be the best companion, but you can always brag that in a life threatening situation, you will always have the best flight response out of everyone as you have extensive practice and expertise on the subject, but it will be there.

The best way to prepare yourself against anxiety is to have an ever-ready set of tools to help equip yourself against it. Whatever those may be, practice them unfailingly. It will take time to get to a point where you can hold the fear at bay, but it will be worth it. The most confident of anxiety sufferers still endure an attack.

Take heart, there is a community of silent sufferers who know exactly what you are going through, who can empathize and sympathize in every situation. Find some of the good folk who can help you through difficult times, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and seek to be present no matter the circumstance.


Read the original post on my blog.

Published by Mackenzie Winterowd