By Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
I am strong. But my anxiety makes me feel weak. My heart is happy. But my anxiety tells me it’s not. My lungs are powerful. But my anxiety makes it hard to breathe. I am a strong woman. But my anxiety makes me forget that.
I am 24 years old. I’ve still got a lot of living left to do. I’ve still got a lot of learning left to do. I’ve still got a lot of loving left to do. But I’ve been through a lot of heartbreak and grief in these 24 short years.
I went through a breakup at 20 years old that nearly broke me open. It was the kind of heartbreak that makes you not want to get up ever again. It was the kind of punch to your soul, that makes you not want to even try.
You see, when I was in love, I had someone to help me with my anxiety. I had someone to hold when I shook. I had someone to rant to about my mind and my never ending questions. I had someone who could ease me, with just a touch. With just a whisper. With just a kiss.
But then I was alone. Without him. Without someone who I would marry. And as my heart fell apart, so did my mind. My anxiety came back in full force, and that’s when I realized that my anxiety would never be gone for good. This is my brain. This is how my mind works. This isn’t a broken leg.
My anxiety effects me to this day. And it’s honestly incredibly terrifying what it makes me thing and feel. It whispers dark thoughts that run round and round my head for hours on end. It tells me I don’t deserve love again. That I blew my chance long ago.
On first dates, my anxiety tells me to just give up already. It turns my hands into pools of sweat. It turns my legs into shaky leaves. And it turns my heart off to anyone that comes my way. Because anxiety makes me think that it’s not worth it.
Anxiety makes me think that even trying, is a waste of time.
Some days, I don’t have any anxiety. I laugh with my friends and for a minute, forget that soon, it will creep on back. Some days, I love being alone, but at night anxiety tells me that I deserve to be lonely. Some days, I go on dates and everything goes perfectly. Until anxiety gives me every reason to cancel for the second one.
I am strong. I am good at being single. But I’m also good at loving. And I’m good at being in love. And I know deep down, I deserve it. I deserve to at least try. But, sometimes my anxiety overpowers me. Sometimes, my anxiety tramples on every positive thought I have.
And sometimes, anxiety makes me think that I’m not strong at all.