By Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
It’s true. I’d be different. I’d be a little bit less dark. A little less negative. A lot less pessimistic. A lot less obnoxious. A lot less paranoid. A lot less me.
I would be the type of person to wake up each morning and make coffee without endless thoughts racing around in my head. I would be able to sit down to work without already panicking about what I did or didn’t do.
I would be able to answer emails without apologizing for any sort of delay. I would be able to not say ‘I’m sorry’ so damn much. I would be able to make mistakes and not pace around my apartment terrified that I’d be fired.
I would be able to handle my stress in a healthy way.
If I didn’t have anxiety, I think I’d be happier. I wouldn’t have dark intrusive thoughts that make me want to hide in shame for days on end. I wouldn’t have to take a tiny little pill every day, a necessity for my survival now.
If I didn’t have anxiety, I’d be free.
Free from the nights when I stay up till 4 am, trying to breathe correctly and trying to calm my mind down to match the rest of my body. I’d be free from the days where I have to take off work, because my panic is out of control. I’d be free from my need to control everything.
Because you can’t control everything. But anxiety makes me want to.
If I didn’t have anxiety, I’d be more bubbly. More over the top. More extroverted and friendly. I’d be able concentrate on my goals instead of only on my fears and my failures. I’d be able to tell people who I am without shame or hesitation.
I would be able to drive to different cities without clutching onto the steering wheel waiting for my death. I wouldn’t have to be so morbid. To be so upset over every tiny little thing. To get so obsessed over everything I fucked up on in the past.
I’d be able to focus on so much more than the panic and the stress and the control. I’d be able to write about so much more than just anxiety. I’d be able to jump without fear of falling.
I’d be more lovable. I wouldn’t cancel plans. I’d go on more dates. I’d drink less. I’d probably be a much healthier and energetic person.
But I can’t help how my brain was built. I can’t help this chemical imbalance. I can’t make it go away. So it’s true, I’d be a completely different person without my anxiety. I’d be brighter and shinier, like brand new shoes from DSW. I’d be so vibrant.
But most importantly, I would be less strong. Because as much as anxiety feels like hell on earth, it makes me brave and vulnerable and outspoken. Anxiety makes me a better writer and it makes me incredibly powerful.
Because as much as anxiety wants to define me? It doesn’t. And it never will. It’s just a piece of me. A page in my book. It’s not my whole story.