It is an uninvited guest. The roommate you never asked for. The bad friend.

Yet, I am amazed by how natural a presence it seems. How it fits in and can go so unnoticed. Sometimes its thoughts are indistinguishable from my own.

I used to wonder why I was so afraid. Why ordering food or talking to strangers felt like falling. Why I needed constant reassurance and guidance. Why I always needed someone, needed to cling and hide and run, rather than simply be.

Sometimes all I can do is "sit and listen."

Anxiety is often masked by, and seen as "lazy." It can be difficult to understand why someone cannot simply get up and "move." Why crippling fear and worry could be so strong to drag a human down.

I often wonder why I cannot rip my mind from its perpetual loop. Why my thoughts are fed and run on "what if's."

"What if I go blind? What if I'm balding? What if I have an incurable illness? What if they leave me? What if I'm not good enough?"

It is all very silly, I know, especially when put in perspective. But in the moment, in the midst of it all, the fear is incredibly real.

I never understood that anxiety was not part of me, why this fear was not normal.

If there is anything for me to offer, here, is something my dad once told me; "No one is going to care as much as you do." At first, yes, this seems harsh. While others can empathize, while others can support and love and pray, they cannot fix the fear, they cannot take it away.

You are the one that must take action. You are the one to treat yourself as a good friend, to realize that constant fear is not something to be lived with. You are the only one who can change this. And I am speaking just as much to myself, as anyone.

I think healing comes in being good to yourself, in looking out for yourself. In not diminishing your accomplishments, and in feeding yourself thoughts that are healthy.

I understand that some days will be full of hiding in your room, napping and overthinking. They will be the days that your mind cannot escape that perpetual loop. But other days, the good days, will be just that, good. You will be productive. You will make breakfast and write letters and work hard. Your hobbies and your talents will not fall apart in fear of being perfect, but will be worked at knowing that nothing ever is. I wish very much for a life that is lived to its core; one that is full and lovely and impactful.

I know that this isn't forever, that there is kindness and softness all around. That someday, fear will be quieted by something greater than myself.