Is Anxiety a Gift?

Mental Health

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I’ve written many times about my struggle with anxiety. One of the reasons I’ve been on this whole positive mindset trip is to try to find a way to live with it. To understand my brain and find some methods of controlling it.

Usually, when I sit down to write a blog post, especially one about my mental health, the first draft ends up being way more pathetic and self-centered than I like to come across. Not because I’m trying to hide those negative qualities–we’ve all got them–but because putting that kind of mess out into the universe is not productive.

My intention with this blog is to be transparent but also to leave my readers with a sense of encouragement. So when I write something personal, my rule is to let it sit for a few days, so that I can return to it and ask myself: is this really what I want to say and is this really how I want to say it?

Usually, the answer is no and I rewrite it. I try to do this from a more analytical perspective and less of an emotional one. That means taking a step back and identifying the lesson in whatever’s ailing me, because there’s always a lesson.

One of those recent lessons has been to forgive myself for having an imperfect, hyperactive brain that is obsessed with worst case scenarios. This is how my anxiety often manifests–as worries about the most horrible things you can possibly imagine. But the part of my brain that is capable of creating such sinister visions is also the part of my brain that is capable of feeling another person’s pain so deeply that it overwhelms me. It’s the part of my brain that obsesses over problems and solutions that could change lives if I could just get out of my own head, out of my own way, for five minutes. It’s the part of my brain that makes stories, stories that try in earnest to make readers feel seen and valued.

In my quest to accept my anxiety and all of the ways it manifests in my life I have yet to let go of my fears about my anxiety. I have yet to stop seeing it as the boogeyman under the bed ready to attack at any moment. But part of why I’ve been so afraid of my anxiety is because I’ve only ever focused on the ways in which it inhibits me, when really, that’s not its true purpose.

My sensitivity, my intense thoughtfulness, my ability to deeply empathize with others, yes it all overwhelms me sometimes but it is also a gift. And once I learn to cope with the stress and the responsibility of just…feeling…of being a facilitator of healing and connection, a translator of the human experience, then it will be a gift that I can give to others. And that is not something worth fearing. That’s something worth celebrating.

 

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