In 2015, my life got flipped upside down. I lost a loved one that I had a very close relationship with. During my process of grief, I noticed that my experience was going a much different direction than the rest of my family's processes. However, I didn't look into it because in my mind I didn't want to trouble the rest of my family if I didn't know for sure what was happening.
It wasn't until someone else said it to me that all the pieces finally fit together: I have anxiety.
My anxiety tends to manifest in the form of nervousness, constant stress, difficulty eating and sleeping on occasion, and isolation from others in more trying times. The most important thing to note here is that every person who has anxiety experiences it differently. No two people will have the exact same symptoms.
For a long time, I didn't want anyone knowing that I had anxiety because I was worried that my mental health struggles would become the only way they saw me. I didn't want people tiptoeing around me like I was a bomb waiting to go off. But once I started speaking up about what I was going through, people opened themselves up to me. They wanted to learn more about what was happening and how they could help me or others that struggled the way I did.
The journey I've been on with my mental health has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. I've had really good days and some really bad ones. A major upside of having anxiety has been the learning aspect of it. I learned a lot about myself, including how to love myself unconditionally and how to radiate positivity. I also saw how negatively anxiety was portrayed in the media and how inaccurately we are painted.
My anxiety DOES NOT define me. My anxiety taught me more about myself that I never knew before. It showed me my true strength and control over my emotions and what I allow to bother me. My anxiety showed me a whole community of support and people like me.
So yes, my anxiety is a major part of my life. I have learned to tame it and how to help others. Sometimes it still holds me back, but that's okay! Once I stopped letting my anxiety define who I was, I began to find my true self again. I discovered a powerful and strong-willed young woman ready to take on any challenge presented to her.
My anxiety will never define me again.