I have moments of anxiety.
It’s not an all the time thing, but when it’s there – it’s there.
You all know it if you read deep enough or if you’ve read my previous posts about anxiety. I don’t particularly like talking about it because it makes me feel inside a bit weak and then in the weakness I’m really hard on myself. I’ll replace the feelings of weakness with words about why I don’t seem to have it all together or that I just need to let things go or with words about what is wrong with you and all of that lovely positive self-talk.
I think sometimes I live and parent and am that friend that never fully puts a foot in the other court for such fear that the rug will be ripped out from underneath her.
Oh yeah, you know, that feeling of fearing being blind-sided or burned.
So I kind of live hesitant.
Or, I guess, anxious.
You probably wouldn’t know it from the outside.
I think that’s what people with anxiety can be really really really good at doing – hiding. And we don’t hide, at least I don’t hide because I don’t know what to say – oftentimes I hide because I feel shame and embarrassment. You know, go back to that list of statements that I’ll tell myself often when I’m in one of those anxiety induced moments and that would explain that way too hard on myself fear.
The funny, or perhaps not so funny, thing about it in my life is that it can sneak up on me in the most unexpected places or at the most inopportune times. I can go months and months great and then it’s like I’m struck by lightening and the thoughts that go through my head baffle even me. It’s not like I’m sitting in my house thinking about what can I worry about today? – it’s more like I hear a word or feel an emotion or go to sleep – and then all of a sudden I’m dealing in this spiral of worry. Honestly, I think my mind just wants to go over everything, and I mean everything, one hundred million times and look at it from eight million angles and is afraid to rest and move on.
I just don’t want to get hurt, I think.
But the anxiety? The hyper-analyzing of things? The critical nature at which I look at myself?
Well, that’s not right either.
I suppose I could blame it on so much. On being bullied in school. Or having dealt with real emotional scars. Or that it’s super hard for me to trust anyone. And that one – holy moly – I wish I could just jump off the cliff and free fall and move and simply trust- but I cannot. Or at least it is super hard because truthfully most people, and people that I love deeply, have let me down. That brain of mine has turned a bit skeptical, I think.
I used to despise that part of me – the skeptic – the detail part of me that analyzes every single thing. In fact, a good portion of me still does. But I’ve also realized that the detailed part of me is also the part of me that can get in touch with the emotions that we all feel tucked under surfaces of I’m fine and it doesn’t matter and so forth. And I’ve learned some truths. The more I try to fix me the more anxiety creeps into my heart. Do you know why?
It’s because, honestly, this is me.
A deep emotional creature that really wants to live finding joy but has had moments in life that hurt deeply but still wakes up every day looking for the good.
I’ve been really hard on myself. Maybe you have too.
I’ll criticize myself so quickly for having a day where the anxiety trickles in and I’ll forget all the times where I reminded myself of truth and about worth and value and was able to find joy. I’ll discount the tenacity and fight that I have and I’ll remember with great details the times where I let tears fall. I’ll look in my mirror and be critical instead of remembering how the real me – the feeling me – has tears that fall every time she passes an ambulance simply because of her empathy.
I think maybe, just maybe, I need to forgive myself.
Because I have learned over these past years where anxiety has creeped into my life to dislike that part of me and apologize for it. I don’t need to apologize for being me. Oh I will work to resolve it and to find joy but I will also resolve to look at myself in the mirror and resolve to see the good I bring to this world versus those stumbling, and very human, moments. I may have moments where I stumble and trip and allow past worries taint the present but I have never ever even once sat in them for days. Every time I stand up, brush myself off, and try again.
There’s so much power and beauty and awesome in trying again. Risking. Being open. Loving.
So to all of you who have dealt with anxiety I just want to tell you a couple things.
One, you’re not alone. Two, don’t feel shame. Three, you will get through. Four, you are valuable and important and loved. Five, your emotions matter. Six, you are worth way more than I’m fine. Seven, you are a really great person. Eight, anxiety doesn’t define you. Nine, fear and worry are liars. Ten, you have this moment – it’s never too late to fight.
Do you know what I did tonight? I stood up, brushed myself off, looked in the mirror and replaced all the anxiety and worries and fears with truth.
I am valuable. Beautiful. Worth it.
And so are you.
<3 just a big heartfelt thank you from someone who knows exactly how you feel.
Thank you. It made me really think about things
I don’t know how you do it but every time I get a chance to read one of your posts it seems like you telling me my own story. Thank you from the bottom of my hear for sharing your stories. It helps to know I am not alone.
Wow…Thank you, knowing I’m not alone with my anxiety & fears makes me feel a little lighter. They have been a daily struggle lately so thank you again for posting your thoughts and words of encouragement.
It is as if you are talking about me ! I have tried to talk to my husband about my anxiety and fear but he didn’t seem to relate much. Thanks for sharing this. It’s good to know I am not alone.
Thank you for, once again, expressing so eloquently what many of us feel. Love and hugs to you, dear Rachel!
Thank you. I’m in the middle of a major anxiety cycle so I just want to say so much thank you.
Great post- thank you! I also struggle with this. Honor Weber has helped me a lot and she is very funny, so I had to share. If you YouTube “Unmasking Anxiety” she has multiple helpful videos for all levels of anxiety. God bless.
Like the others before me you have told my story. I have also chosen not to let this part of me define me but to accept it. It’s very liberating and a sign of strength. We are seen as weak by others – I disagree. We carry on because we are strong. I was broken – really broken. Now I considered myself cracked. And I’m totally OK with that.
I love all of this, although I can’t relate to the line where you said you’ve never sat with it for days. I’ve had agonizing months of anxiety. People in my life have always wanted to know where my anxiety comes from & there’s no single event. But like you said it’s a song lyric or a dream and it catches you off guard & you feel that tiny bit of darkness shadow your day. More people need to talk about this. Thank you.
Thank you for touching and expressing in detail a struggle that at times is overcome and at other times leaves me puzzled. But I do believe self forgiveness, knowing you are tender hearted which is a good thing, and keeping a good self image are key. It is another day and here I am to try again!
You rock! Thank you for sharing, it feels so good to know that I am not alone in my anxiety and that other people get it!
Thank you for being so raw and open. Anxiety is ugly and it is real. You once again have hit home for so many of us moms and help us feel connected to each other as total strangers. 💜💜
I really appreciate all of your insight and the way you honestly illuminate very real struggles. We are all on our own journeys and honesty with ourselves is truly the beginning of revealing our authentic selves, knowing our worth and knowing ourselves. I have come to terms with my anxiety, I own it and recognize it …I don’t let it own me. I meet it and when I need help with it I ask for it. I don’t let it lie to me and take me to the dark place. But its always there waiting ..but that’s where I step in and do what it takes to bring me back to this moment, to my son wanting me to engage in right now….that’s where I need to be. Thank you for your articles…you have helped us see ourselves in you and that’s pretty cool for all of us!
I needed this so much today thank you you have given clarity and peace about me.
Blessings to you Maria.
A daily struggle, thank you for your openness.
“Fear and worry are liars.” I so needed to hear this. I mean, I have known this … but I needed the reminder. That is so potent. Thank you.
Like you, I don’t suffer with it every day. But too often. And when it comes, it’s usually in the middle of the night, so lack of sleep also compounds the problem. I’m right there with you.
You are so welcome, Terry. I appreciate you sharing your heart too — sometimes knowing that one is not alone is the greatest gift of all.
What a bright star you are, shining through to an anxious and hurting world.
Thanks, Sylvia. 🙂
I wish I had the nerve to post this.i could have written it myself. Posting it would allow others to see my weakness. That scares me too much. I am so thankful that you were brave enough to put it out there. Some days I have it. Today I do not. Today I cry at your words. I will try again tomorrow. It’s what we do.
Thank you so much! You put so beautifully into words what I’d love to explain to other people!
You wrote this over a year ago Rachel but it is so relevant for me right now and I am sure for many others at any given moment. Your posts always seem to pop up at the time I need to hear the words you write. I am so grateful you write such honest, sincere and heart felt posts. Your courage and compassion is beautiful and appreciated. Never underestimate your impact or your value. With love and gratitude, Lisa
Rachel, I shared this post 2 years ago…and am sharing it again today. Then, it struck a small nerve in my subconscious mind. Today it is a roaring storm in my soul. I fight daily to “Let go & Let God”. Some days I let go more easily, some days my fists won’t move. The fear keeps me from moving forward with the things I want to do, and from completing the things I know and have to do. It keeps me locked away in my little world, whispering “I’ll deal with it tomorrow,” as the tomorrow’s become days and the days become weeks. Missing out on so much. Knowing how much I have already missed out on. Once I was a mighty storm, churning the waters of today, now I dread the future will pass by without me even existing as a ripple. What I have to offer, I offer willingly, asking nothing in return. Getting knocked down at every turn. Thinking of the saying “Strength doesn’t always lie in victory, sometimes it is the tiny whisper, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” The mantra I live by, what I hold onto the most. Because if I don’t? Not only will I lose myself…I will lose my life.
Vanessa, thank you for sharing, for your strength and for your heart. You matter greatly.