Growing up as a child who struggled with their mental health from a very young age, anxiety was something almost inevitable to me. It became one of those things that I have to control and manage in order to get through my daily life.
Anxiety comes in its own set of colors. There are different shades of anxiety, with some being more intense than others. Some of us may need extra help and care for our anxiety and some may not. But anxiety is all the same when it comes down to how difficult it can be dealing with it.
The things that I have learned in outpatient therapy when it comes down to understanding anxiety and the roots of it are endless. But when I try thinking about the "how do I overcome" parts of dealing with anxiety, the answer remains unknown. Therapists and doctors always teach us about the CBT and DBT skills, some of which are supposed to help us manage the levels of anxiety we may be dealing with. But when I look back on the things I have learned in the past about understanding my anxiety from outpatient therapy and the therapy sessions I have had, I realize I have to overcome some of the "personal" aspects of mental health struggles in order to grasp what anxiety is about.
If I were to describe myself and the mental health struggles I have gone through in the past in one word, I would use the word, "enigmatic." Mental health can be a struggle for those who have previously suffered from a specific diagnosis or illness. I sometimes think that my anxiety could have come from the time when I have had anorexia nervosa. Whenever I feared eating, that fear may have been the start of the anxiety I have now today.
Although I am not necessarily proud of my anxiety, I consider it a part of me and who I am today. Anxiety is responsible for the part of me that has become stronger from struggles with mental health illnesses. It is reminiscent of the blood and tears that I had to overcome to get to where I am now. I think every illness or mental health struggle has its own story and the story shouldn't be unheard. As someone who has struggled with anxiety for more than a decade, I am proud to say that "I am anxious!"
I wear anxiety on my sleeve like it's an emblem of the years of therapy and medication I have taken to overcome it. I sometimes wear it like a cape around my neck when I go to large social gatherings or meet people for the first time. When they ask, I just tell them that it's my favorite cape and I have had it for all these years. I introduce them to it and tell them the story of how I got this cape called anxiety and what it has meant to me and the person I was becoming.