How I Turned My Anxiety Into A Positive
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Health and Wellness

How I Turned My Anxiety Into A Positive

I allow my mental illness to better myself, rather than tear me down.

How I Turned My Anxiety Into A Positive
Elizabeth Colagrande

Anxiety can give you a lot of negative moments. There are days when it completely puts you down and you hear the voice in the back of your head saying: "You are not enough". Then there are moments when you hear this voice and instead of agreeing with it, you reply with: "I am, and here's how and why." While anxiety can easily be romantisized, it shouldn't be mistaken as being somthing positive. Here is how I have embraced and turned my anxiety into a positive.

It has allowed me to strive to do better than my best. Because of my anxiety, I tend to lean towards being a perfectionist and over organized. I also have to do better than my best, or I will put myself down for not trying as hard. While this does put a crazy amount of stress on my life, it pushes me to be the best person I can be. It makes me create sustainable and achievable goals, that when I do achieve them, I prove to myself and others that I can do anything despite my mental illness.

My overthinking has made me more aware. With some forms of anxiety comes overthinking. I can easily overthink about the littlest things. If someone doesn't respond to a text right away, I can overthink it into them not wanting to be my friend anymore. If someone doesn't wave or smile back to me, I take it as I'm annoying them or they don't like me. The smallest things that don't mean anything can easily be overthought into something bigger than it is. However, my overthinking has also allowed me to become more aware of everything around me. For example, if I see someone has posted something on social media, and I don't agree with it, I don't automatically respond with why I think they're wrong and why I don't agree with them. Instead, I think things through and realize that they are entitled to their own opinion, just like I am entitled to mine. While my overthinking doesn't allow me to react to things right away, it has allowed me to embrace other peoples beliefs and opinions.Thus, it has allowed me to show empathy towards people, and really think about why someone might be acting a certain way. It has allowed me to not judge, assume, or belittle someone just because they have a different opinion, they didn't smile back, or because I think they don't like me. Instead, it has allowed me to become more aware of those around me.

It has pushed me to take risks. There are times when all I want to do is hide in my room with no social interaction with anyone. I can get scared of not being welcomed at a party because I didn't receive a direct invite. I can get nervous about performing a specific scene in my acting class because I'll automatically assume it's not good enough. But it is because of my anxiety that I take risks. Yes, there is that voice in the back of my head that constantly says "what if it's not good enough?" or "what if they don't want you there?", but there is also that voice that asks "but what if it is good enough?", "what if they do want you there?" By listening to these more positive questions, I have pushed myself to become more social, I have pushed myself to do more risky work in class and learn, and I have pushed myself to really break the glass ceiling and do more than I thought was possible. As Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote: "Tis better to have loved and lost than to have loved at all." My anxiety has taught me that it's better to take a risk than to wonder what would've happened if I didn't.

It has allowed me to embrace who I truly am. While I do have my moments when I wish I didn't have high functioning anxiety, it has made me the person I am today. It has made me a strong, empathetic, brave, kind, and an overall better person. While it has made me sad and angry at times, I have learned more about the things I am capable of doing than the things I don't think I am. I have learned to embrace my anxiety as something to overcome. We all face challenges in life. Mine happens to be anxiety. If I didn't overcome it, I'm not sure where I would be.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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