Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dear Anxiety | A Letter in Honor of Mental Health Awareness Month

Dear Anxiety | A Letter in Honor of #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth - A Simpler Grace



Dear Anxiety,

My dear nighttime thief. It is 3 a.m. as I write this letter. You kept me up late last night, rolling under the covers, gasping for breath, not finding a comfortable spot in which to rest. Tonight will surely be a rerun of the last seven. I'm exhausted, not only from the lack of sleep but from fighting you. I have to keep fighting, though, because if I stop, I'll sink into you so deep, I may never come out.

If I'm lucky, I'll wake in the morning with bloodshot eyes, dark circles lining them, having stolen a wink and a nod. If I'm not so lucky, I'll watch the minutes tick by, shut my alarm clock off long before it rings and watch the sun rise with you. Either way, when you are around, there is no rest for the weary.

Some days, you feel like a quiet premonition, like the stillness in the air before a storm rolls in. A subtle uneasiness in my chest, nervous fingers, deep breaths that never seem to fill my lungs with enough air. Sometimes, it's a shaky leg. Eyes that can't focus on one thing too long. I stay "productive" by bouncing from one task to another but never really accomplishing much at all. It's just easier to temporarily drown you out with tedious chores rather than listening to the constant nagging.

Other times, if you show up with your old pal, depression, my symptoms come as days in bed, feeling so dark that it hurts to move. Curtains pulled, any fragment of light will shatter me. I spend these days trying to free myself from your grip, breaking each finger and prying it from my neck. Some describe you as an elephant sitting on their chest. On these days, I rather think of you as a herd of them and they are doing the tango.

Dear Anxiety | A Letter in Honor of #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth - A Simpler Grace


I know that I have to stay active to keep you away. I have to work out. I have to get fresh air. I have to practice self-care and I have to talk with friends who know my struggles. I need to have time with people I love, people who know my heart and how to calm me. I also need to be alone and have time to sit quietly and process the whirlwind of thoughts in my head.

Living with you has been a learning experience. I've learned a lot about empathy. When someone else says they are struggling with you, I know how they feel and I share in their grief. It is hard to have a friend like you. I've learned that you do not define me. I am bigger than you and I'm stronger as well. I've come to realize even though the light at the end of this dark tunnel is but a pinprick in my visual field, if I keep running, I will get to it eventually. The most important thing I've learned from you is patience. Beating you takes time and there is no quick fix. It takes a whole lot of hard work and dedication, but it will be worth it. Every moment without you is worth it.

One day, I will beat you. One day, this storm will pass. You might leave wreckage in your wake, but I will find the strength to rebuild and keep moving. I will overcome you. Because I'm afraid of who I'll be the day that I can't.

Sincerely,
A Fighter

For more info on mental illness or Mental Health Awareness Month, please visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness. If you are in a crisis and need immediate assistance, you can call (800) 950-NAMI (6264) or text "NAMI" to 741741.

The post Dear Anxiety | A Letter in Honor of Mental Health Awareness Month first appeared on A Simpler Grace. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends!

36 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful.
    Your strength in this post to bully it back is very clear.
    I have bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder and I connect with all of what you're describing.
    Thank you for writing about mental health and bringing about awareness so that others don't have to suffer in silence and so that others can learn from this as well.
    Keep fighting girl. Keep kicking ass! You've got this! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much Kimberly. I'm tearing up over here... I'll admit that I was nervous about posting this because of the stigma attached to mental health issues, but if I don't tell my story, who will? I appreciate your sweet comment and encouragement! <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is incredibly powerful writing,Lecy. And this:

    "You might leave wreckage in your wake, but I will find the strength to rebuild and keep moving."

    Beautiful. I can relate and the days when depression shows up with anxiety, well, those are the days I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'm sending you much strength and love, my sweet friend. I am here should you ever need :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much, Charlotte. I'm glad you found connection with my words today. You are such a sweet friend and have been a blessing to my life. <3

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautifully writen, Lecy. As written below me, your last paragraph is so powerful. I admire you for telling your story, because so many others can't. I wish you all the strength in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you so much for coming by to read and for your sweet comment, Johanne.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a powerful message and as a fellow anxiety sufferer, I feel this. And I agree that anxiety has taught me a great deal about empathy too. It's nice to hear from others and know you aren't alone. Hugs my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, it's nice to know others can relate to our struggles. Thanks for coming by to read, Beth. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog.May 18, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    Beautifully written. My former roommate used to suffer from anxiety and she used to feel so frustrated when people told her to "get over" things and "not to worry." It would drive her crazy.
    Now, having heard HER stories, hearing things like that re: anxiety drive me crazy too. I think we need to bring more awareness around what exactly anxiety is, how people deal with it, and how it's NOT something you can just "get over"

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes times a million. I struggle with anxiety and depression as well and you truly captured it. Thank you. <3

    ReplyDelete
  12. shootingstarsmagMay 18, 2017 at 1:50 PM

    This is a beautiful post. I'm thinking about doing something for Mental Health Awareness month too, as I suffer from anxiety and depression as well. Thank you for sharing.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  13. There is a huge misconception when it comes to anxiety and other similar mental illnesses that people are either seeking attention or that they can just snap themselves out of it and this is simply not true. I feel for your roommate. The frustration that she was feeling is one of the main reasons people don't share what they are going through or seek help for it. I hope she is doing better now! <3

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm so glad you connected with this post, Steph. Thank you for coming by to read!

    ReplyDelete
  15. You should, Lauren! The more awareness we raise, the better!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So honest and heartfelt. I have family members who have anxiety, and you captured their struggle so well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, are you me?? This sounds like me to a T! I am having a few of those days to where depresion has decided to show up for the party. I am trying my hardest but i didn't want to get out of bed for work, so i showed up 2 hours late. Ugh! Keep on pushing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This was beautifully written and so meaningful to me. Thank you so much for sharing <3

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have been doing yoga, meditation and journaling and it has helped me so much...I feel like I have many tools to help deal with anxiety now

    ReplyDelete
  20. I guess on days like this, we should look for the good things. At least you got out of bed. That's a win in my book. Keep fighting girl! <3

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yes, these things help me as well. It's always good to have a few "weapons" up your sleeve to fight the symptoms when they show up.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My husband struggles with anxiety too and it's so overwhelming for him. We've learned a few techniques to help him manage it but it's still hard. I always appreciate when people open up and talk about it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It is hard to watch people you love battle with something like that. I'm glad he is learning how to manage it. Thanks for coming by to read, Ashley!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I struggle with social anxiety, although I've gotten much better at dealing with it as of late. Still, sometimes all I want to do is hide inside and not deal with ANYONE. It's too much. I hate that it holds me back from living sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Social anxiety is the worst because people always think you are avoiding them and take it personally. I've had so many people think I was stuck up because I'm so afraid of social situations. :(

    ReplyDelete
  26. Elizabeth JohnsonMay 18, 2017 at 11:23 PM

    Lecy, what a moving post. I felt like it was me going through this and experiencing every moment. I am still processing this. You are a beautiful soul and writer. Wow! I never really dealt with anxiety until recently. Having children has brought back an old experience concerning their safety and it has been really tough. I still haven't really processed through it mostly due to being scared. But for now just taking it one day at a time. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    ReplyDelete
  27. You are so sweet, Elizabeth. Thank you for coming by to read and for your kind words. <3

    ReplyDelete
  28. The feeling is completely mutual <3 XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  29. Lecy, by the looks of your comments, this has struck a chord with so many people. Including myself. I think so many people can relate in this instant-gratification-at-your-fingertips kind of world. It spins and spins and I always feel technology is to blame.
    Part of my depression came drom comparisons on social media, which is why I don't act "social" anymore unless I am in true face to face contact with someone. I used to call that face time until apple...
    Anyways, good vibes are being sent your way. I hope whatever method of self-care you partake in (working out, getting outside) help calm your mind.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The comparison game is so bad for us, but it seems like everyone is trapped in it. Thanks so much for coming by to read, Brittany. I've missed seeing you around here!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks, Lecy. I have been reading, just too busy for my own good ;-)
    And I usually am reading at say 2am.....

    ReplyDelete