Often when I'm writing this blog, I'm in a really happy, lighthearted state of mind. But, in all honesty, life is not all sunshine and rainbows all the time. There is a struggle, it is real, and sometimes it refuses to be silent. For me right now, that struggle is my anxiety.
There is a lot of misconceptions about anxiety. Anxiety is not just the feeling you get when life is going all kinds of wrong; anxiety creeps in when everything is good, when your life is full of laughter, full of good friendships, when there are a million things you have to be happy and joyful about, anxiety is the lingering in your head and in your heart that makes you feel like you could burst into a million pieces at any moment. Like you are bursting at the seams in the worst kind of way.
Anxiety and me go way back. We have been acquainted for as long as I can remember. At some point in my life the anxiety was paired with its partner in crime; depression. I don't know how to describe the feeling of when these two get together. When all you want to do is distract yourself from the anxiety, but the depression says it would probably be best to just stay in bed. To sulk. To sink.
Anxiety and depression are a daily battle for the people who experience them. I spend so much of my life fighting to stay positive, like maybe if my life is good enough, if I am good enough, that the demons of my brain will stay at bay. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. In the wise words of John Green, the struggles, "they demand to be felt." This can be confusing at times. Anxiety is when you feel too much, depression when you can't feel enough. So what do you do? In all honesty, I'm still trying to figure it out, as I'm sitting here writing this, not really knowing if there is a right answer.
I hate my struggle when it is loud and in my face, demanding that I feel it. I hate it. While my anxiety and my depression wage their loud war in my head and in my heart, my faith and my hope that one day my brain and I will be better friends, that hope is louder.
I know that anxiety and depression might be a battle that I face for a lot of my life. I know that trying to will away my struggle is not going to work, if that were the case, the battle in my mind would be nothing but a distant memory by now. While I don't have the answer to make my struggles vanish, I know that my life was designed with a purpose. I was given my struggle because I am strong enough to handle it, and while a lot of times I question what the blueprints look like, I know there is a plan. I know my struggle was planted in me to make me stronger, not weaker.
My anxiety has taken a lot of things from me. I have missed out on nights with my friends because sometimes going out was just too much. I have missed concerts. I miss a lot of sleep. I go through periods of time where I have lost my independence because being alone was too scary. I even missed a portion of my senior year. Anxiety has given me a lot though, and I like to believe that the things it has given me are found somewhere in Gods blueprints for me. My anxiety has made me compassionate, knowing that you never know what war is being waged in someone else's head, it has made me kind. I have become patient, because I have been shown patience by the people who love me. I am not a perfect person, I screw up all the time, but I have learned that not all anxiety is bad anxiety, and that the anxiety I feel when I have spoken poorly of someone, or lied, or gossiped, it makes me better because it keeps me from repeating this action.
I really don't have the answers to the struggle I am facing right now. Sitting here writing it, being able to put some of the confusion into words, it makes it seem less scary. I have anxiety and depression. I am not defined by it, even though sometimes it feels like it. I am capable of an extraordinary life. I am capable and deserving of love. For me in this moment, the hardest thing to do is explain my struggle, which is exactly why I am doing it. I will not feed into anxiety that tells me to keep my struggle to myself, because more often than not, someone, somewhere will relate to my struggle, and they can find peace knowing that they are not alone.
So whoever you are, whatever struggle you are facing, know that it is vital to your blueprint. It is going to make you better, and braver. You are not alone in this.