What It's Like Being Fiercely Independent With Anxiety
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

What It's Like Being Fiercely Independent With Anxiety

Don't worry, you're not alone.

256
What It's Like Being Fiercely Independent With Anxiety
Flickr

Anxiety is a strange thing. It's gotten a lot of attention in the media these last two or three years, being actually accepted as something that is real and devastating. Which is definitely good--there's no doubt about that.

But with the overflow of listicles and essays and treatises on "What It's Like To Live With Anxiety!" and "What It's Like To Date A Guy/Girl with Anxiety!" I always come away feeling... discouraged. Because yes, sometimes it does apply. But most of the time, I either don't identify with those articles at ALL, or it's just another of the cliches I've seen circling the internet for the last five years.

See, I don't want catchy phrases that make me laugh or witty reaction pictures to someone asking me to come to a party. Not every time, at least, and especially not when I was first struggling with anxiety. I want someone to understand. Even now I'll click into an article with new hope, only to find it's everything I've read before.

A few months ago, I had bought a new outfit. I know, but stick with me here. The point is, I was feeling really good, really confident. I wore it out and got some really nice compliments, but one especially confused me. A girl hugged me, groaned in frustration, and said, "You're just so perfect."

What? I thought to myself, so caught off guard I could barely respond. I had bought a new shirt, not achieved world peace. And really, the shirt was only six dollars. I asked my roommate later what our friend had meant, since she had been with me when it happened. She took a moment before replying: "Don't take this the wrong way, but a lot of times you give the impression of just... having it all together." She waited a beat, then added, "That's how I saw you when I first met you.

Ah. Okay. Except really not at all. Because that is not, I repeat not, as in nearly never, how I feel inside. So if I feel like my life is one constant Fireball ride (which I never went on more than once because more than once, people got stuck up at the top for hours at a time), why does it look to some people like I'm this unflappable patron of cool, calm and collected?

The answer is simple: I'm independent. Crazy independent. As in "no you are not paying for my two-dollar drink because I refuse to owe things to anyone" independent. And I also have major anxiety. Nice to meet you.

I'm not the only one. So if you're reading this and in the same situation, know that there really is someone who understands. We don't ask to be reassured by people caring about us every day, because God forbid we show that we're afraid. But when no one's there, maybe we stare at our phone for ten minutes, just trying to work up the courage to send out that first text, our throats tightening just a little when we imagine them saying no, they don't want to hang out. We don't panic any more than anyone else at the thought of a public presentation (at least, we don't show it). But maybe half an hour later we're in the corner of our room while no one's looking, having a panic attack because someone didn't say hello back and we felt like an idiot.

And here's why--at least for me. Weakness is the number one enemy of my amazing adventure for independence. I don't want to be handled delicately, and I don't want anyone thinking I can contribute any less than anyone else. So whenever something goes wrong, whenever I just can't get my breath, or whenever I have to actually rely on the help of someone else? I berate myself. I tear myself down. I say that there's no reason for me to be so pathetic, and yet here I am, so why don't I get a handle on myself?

A recent example: Just a few days ago, I stopped to get gas before going to a bridesmaid function. I was feeling good, I looked good (I think) and I was going to spend time with people I loved. Right before I got gas, I checked my bank account. To find that it was overdrafted by over one hundred dollars.

My mind spiraled. Fast. There was no money in my account, so I couldn't get gas, so I couldn't go to the dress fitting, so I was a terrible friend. Everyone is disappointed and I've failed my parents, they're crying right now (okay, maybe it didn't go that far... you get my point). In the midst of terror, I called my mom, not knowing what to do. And she helped, we worked it out. But I was now half an hour late, exhausted, and I just wanted to give up and go home.

But I didn't. I started on my way, yelling at myself. For not fixing the problem before my account was overdrafted. For calling my mother instead of just handling the problem myself. For being so pathetic that any of this actually affected me. For being weak. Because that's what you do when you are so independent but can't always get ahold of your anxiety. Small setbacks aren't acceptable. Even struggling with anxiety feels like a failure, because if other people can handle problems, why can't you just suck it up and deal like everyone else without having a quiet breakdown?

But here's the thing. I went to the fitting. I dried my eyes and I went in and I had a good time. Because here's what I have to say to all of you who struggle with this-- the thing I have so much trouble saying to myself.

You're not weak.

Your struggle is not an excuse. It's real. And you are braver than you imagine just by making that decision to stand back up. And it's not giving up to rely on other people. The good ones aren't going to think of you any differently. It's okay to be vulnerable. We were created to need others. I want to scream from the rooftops how proud I am of every single one of you. Never let fear win, not in the end. Because you're stronger.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1844
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

303943
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

190567
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

92732
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

286102

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

172244

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

114736
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Take A Look At The Extravagant Lane Woods Jewelry Collection For Valentine's Gift Ideas

So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection

335093

Just like diamonds are a girl's best friend, so are pearls, rubies, gold, emeralds, and any type of luxurious jewelry you can get your hands on! A woman is incomplete without a piece of jewelry on her and it is a gorgeous accessory required for all occasions. So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments