I wanted to tell you everything. I wanted to tell you what I did today, the conversations I had, and the places I went. I wanted to tell you how I saw Jesus around every corner. You wanted to know. I wanted to tell you.
I wanted to tell you that I was sorry. I wanted to tell you that it wasn’t your fault, but it also wasn’t mine. I wanted to tell you the truth.
I lost my words before I got the chance. The English language literally slipped out of my grasp before I could even take another breath. I was paralyzed. You were frustrated.
I wanted to tell you why:
I have anxiety. Real, physical, diagnosed anxiety. The kind that requires the maximum dose of daily meds, and an extra bottle of pills for panic attacks – panic attacks that make me feel like I’m dying. I feel like I can’t breathe. The world slows down, the walls close in, and I can’t hear anything over the sound of my own pounding heart. I panic more often than I wash my hair. This is my reality.
You told me to relax- to breathe more.
“Just calm down,” you told me. “Use your words.”
I wanted to tell you that I can’t. Anxiety is a part of me. It’s not a phase. It’s not a “moment.” It’s a lifetime. I wanted to tell you that it is more frustrating and confusing for me than it ever will be for you.
I wanted to tell you what it’s like to be trapped in my own mind. I wanted you to know what it’s like to feel like there are too many people in the room, when in reality you’re home alone. At the same time, I wanted you to know the feeling of being completely unseen and unheard in a room full of your best friends. I wanted you to know what it’s like to go from feeling safe to feeling threatened in less than a minute, all because of one thought that triggers another that triggers another that triggers another. I waned to tell you what it’s like to lose your words, leaving you defenseless and helpless.
I wanted you to feel it. I wanted you to feel anxiety and panic.
But then I realized, maybe you do.
Maybe you’re hiding it like I did. Maybe you feel like anxiety took your voice too. Maybe you were also told that your anxiety isn’t real or important. Maybe you think that anxiety makes you weak or less than.
I want to tell you that I felt the same way for way too long. I want to tell you that I’m listening and I’m here and it’s okay.
I wanted to tell you that I love you, but anxiety told me not to.
I want to tell you that I will love you forever anyway, because at the end of the day, anxiety doesn’t get to tell me how to live.
With all the love,