I had a conversation with a friend this morning that really made me overthink. Let me first say, find yourself friends who do and say things that inspire you. I can’t even begin to describe how refreshing that is.
Our conversation was about anxiety medication. I know I have talked about postpartum depression and some feelings of anxiousness that are common after having a baby. That’s only what led me to realize that even before I became a mom, things I felt and went through were symptoms of anxiety or depression.
During our conversation it was said that “I would have never been able to go and do what I did, and enjoy it the way I did, had I not been on medication.” If you’re an anxious person who has discovered the freedom that getting help gives you, you understand this sentence. Deep down into your soul, you understand.
We talked about how people feel bad when you tell them you have anxiety, or when you share that you take medication. I have had people tell me “I am so sorry to hear that.” Like, my cat didn’t die. I’m fine, it’s FINE. I am just very uncomfortable and overwhelmed in life and social situations without it.
Nothing is harder for me than feeling confident enough to tell someone that I take medication, only to have them tell me they’re sorry. Actually, over the past year, I have become very open about it. I don’t want people to feel awkward or ashamed, so I will tell anyone who wants to listen.
To that end, here is an open letter to a non-anxious person, from an anxious person:
Do not feel sorry for me. I have worked SO hard to get where I am. I am maybe a little sad for the person I was before I knew what anxiety was. I am not sorry for the person I am now.
Don’t think I don’t want to come to things. I do. I really do, but somedays that’s just not what’s best for me. I know I need to do what is best for my mind to be my best self; unfortunately, sometimes that means I have to tell you no.
You should also know that I overthink and pay aggressive attention to your reaction and mood, EVERY time I see or talk to you. So I know when you’re annoyed with me, and I do understand.
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It doesn’t mean I’m no longer anxious just because I take medication.
It means that I can go to the grocery store without ditching a cart full of groceries because I feel like everyone is looking at me and get nauseated at the thought. It means I can come to your gathering that is a bit too people-y and speak to people, and I will leave there being proud of myself for doing so.
It means that while I may pay crazy attention to my surroundings (oh do you mean that girl behind me to the left three people back with the blonde hair and pink jacket *without turning around*) I am comfortable with who I am surrounded by, and I put one foot in front of the other and I showed up. Don’t make it weird.
I am OK with who I am and where I have been to get me HERE.
I can comfortably call myself a little weird. I know it’s a lot, and I know unless you’ve been there, it’s not easy to understand. I know to people I seem very outgoing and oh so hilarious, but I am also aware that some people think I am not because I don’t exactly (at all) interject myself into a conversation where I don’t feel I belong. I love to make people smile and I love to hear my friends laugh.
I am all of the things you are, it just takes a little more work for me sometimes.
Just because someone is anxious doesn’t mean you’re going to find them hidden in a ball in the corner; sometimes they’re going to be the brightest light in the room. You just have to give them a chance and learn that about them.
Your anxiously medicated friend
To all of my friends who got up and showed up. I am proud of you. YOU should be proud of you, too. Be extra kind, we never know how hard just a simple task was for someone today.
This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page
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