By Lindsay Johnson
I decided it was only appropriate, and respectfully earned, that I announce and recognize my ongoing relationship with you.
If I could personify you, we would definitely be married with children by now, because we’ve been going steady since dial-up internet. I would suspect that you would be a lousy partner as an actual person, even more so than you are as an emotional relationship, or lack thereof, because you’re entirely exhausting. Honestly, there is absolutely no reasoning with you, and quite frankly, it’s selfish. However, after spending the last decade together, I felt that you deserved some recognition for your effortless input to this ongoing relationship we’ve had.
Now trust me, I didn’t welcome you at 13-years-old, when our first encounter was after a long night of listening in to conversations that were certainly not my business. But there I sat… totally engulfed by your presence, alone in the attic, for what felt like eternity. From the first time my heart rate soared so high my vision started to blur, from the first time I was freezing and pouring sweat at the same time, from the first time I couldn’t move my body, let alone speak, for over 20 minutes, from that very first time. You have not left my side.
My apathy has grown for you, and sometimes I do like when you’re around, like when I’m alone in a parking lot or failing a class, because after all, this is an expected relationship. I wasn’t necessarily forced into a relationship with you; however, I’m pre-wired to feel you even when I don’t want to. Everyone is forced into some sort of a relationship with you, actually… making you sort of an easy emotional relationship, no?
Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I have learned to accept you. You’re supposed to be there in ordinary times of fear, prompting my body to react. I have to love the fact that you initiate safety planning without my conscious effort or knowledge. There are many things I could thank you for, like the time you stopped me from attending the party in a sketchy area, or when I opted not to drive my car in the snow. But, what I need you to know is that as much as I understand our relationship and the purpose you serve my barely manageable life, I am going to end this relationship with you.
I think we should take time to see other people. Well, really, I’m the only one who needs to see other people. Most people don’t like you, so it would take another consumption case like me for you to be satisfied, wouldn’t it? I would definitely say that confidence is starting to look like a more promising emotional relationship. It’s not really that I’ve already thought about ending this relationship, because I truly didn’t think it was possible, it’s just that I’ve spent over a decade thinking about relationships I would rather be in and all the one’s you’re holding me back from.
I’ve given you a decade of my life. A decade spent re-reading text trains and analyzing every single detail. An entire decade consumed with random, nonsensical fears, like going to a movie theater or thinking my loved ones are forever in danger. A decade I dedicated to “getting past it” in order to function. A decade depleted from people pitying me for being so helpless to you.
A decade, over 11 years actually, spent with my head between my knees, praying for control, explaining to people why I couldn’t stop the thinking, wishing I could shut my mind off, hearing little noises which caused my blood to surge through my veins, and lastly, hoping that it would get better.
But here’s what I have decided to do. I no longer have hope for better times; I have a goal of easier days. I don’t want to be consumed by so much thought that I can’t enjoy my life. I want to wake up in the morning, benefit from my moment in time alone, and cease the constant to-do listing, planner checking, etc. I can’t wait for the days that I no longer feel defeated, and knowing I should feel proud of my accomplishments.
No more wishing, no more hoping, and certainly, no more being your wounded. I am my own person and I’m standing my ground by ending this toxic, abusive relationship we’ve entered into.
Now, I know it won’t be easy getting over you. I’m sure, just as if you were a person, you will send the equivalent to drunken texts or the innocent Christmas cards. You’ll notice me when I’ve moved on to better things, and you’ll suddenly reappear. I will miss you, in times of despair, but I will continue to not let you victimize me anymore. I am stronger than you. I have had such a vivid memory of you and you’ve been a part of me for so long that I’m not sure who I am without you. But there’s one thing I do know… I deserve better.
So long, my dearest Anxiety, I send you into the world with love and awareness, never to return to me again. I will use my experience with you to help others find the courage to let this ship sail, and for that, I thank you.