By Holly Riordan
I don’t want my heart to beat three times faster at the thought of talking to someone new, driving somewhere new, experiencing something new. I don’t want to be stuck inside of a bubble, trapped inside of my own home, because I’m too terrified to walk into the world.
I don’t want to let my friends down by lying about why I can’t go to their parties or make a speech on their wedding day. I don’t want to let my parents down by accomplishing nothing, by being too afraid to follow my dreams and staying in one place, in a comfortable place.
I don’t want to let myself down by avoiding opportunities that only come around once in a lifetime. I don’t want to end up regretting all of the things that I never got to do, because my anxiety was tethering me into place.
I don’t want to assume that everyone hates me before they even get to know me. I don’t want to assume that I’m going to get rejected before I even apply for a job or attend the first interview. I don’t want to assume that I’m going to fail when I’m entirely capable of succeeding, when everyone except me believes I have what it takes.
I don’t want to be a loner anymore. I don’t want to hold myself back from speaking, because I’m worried about saying something insulting, or because I can’t find the perfect moment to jump into the conversation. I don’t want to push people away before they have the chance to push me away.
I don’t want to be controlled by my anxiety. Manipulated into thinking that I’m not good enough, that I don’t deserve the love that everyone around me seems to hold. I don’t want to feel like I’m lesser, like I did something wrong.
I don’t want to accept the lies that anxiety has forced me to believe. I don’t want to think of myself as an outsider, as someone who will never fit in. I don’t want to feel out of place wherever I go.
I don’t want anxiety to ruin my life, so I’m going to fight against it, and I’m going to win. I have no clue how I’m going to make that happen in between sleepless nights and panic attacks, but it’s going to happen, I swear it.
I know I’m going to have setbacks, days when I hide inside of bathroom stalls or beneath my bedroom blankets. There are going to be days when I can’t summon up the energy to answer a text, let alone leave my house and interact with other people face-to-face.
But there are also going to be days when I’m brave enough to leave the safety of my apartment and step onto a plane or go on a first date or just take a walk around the block by myself.
I might hyperventilate beforehand, I might cry myself to sleep the night before, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that there are going to be days when I have the energy to push myself to do something terrifying. There are going to be days when I silence my anxiety for long enough to really live.
There are going to be days when I’m going to win — and those are the days I’m going to focus on from now on.