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  • sarahjmaxwell

Anxiety is my companion

"If I sat for days upon a rotten log, I was fearful no one would notice. That I might disappear altogether." Billy Lemonade.

I can’t be the only one who has gone through life thinking that. A feeling of unease, unexpected at times, but often brought about by anxiety, because anxiety can chip away at the foundations of who we are.

I never wrote myself into the role of Jane in Billy Lemonade, yet I glimpse myself in her. If I look around, I see her everywhere.

It surprises me when people say they never get anxious or stressed. Does wealth remove stress? Does a non-caring attitude eliminate anxiety? Certainly, I care too much about what other people think and I worry about money and health. Mostly, needlessly.

I can trace sleepless nights back to my early teens. By my late teens, I’d rebelled against the confines of growing up in a strict, overbearing household. Rebellion was a statement—the same statement youth have always made in defiance, but doesn’t that bring its own anxieties? Sometimes—often—the rebellious attitude compounds the anxiety, whether it’s in the form of illegal drugs, sex, alcohol, or all of the above!

Freedom is sought after, but ironically is often confusing, scary, disorientating, nothing more than a blurry mirage, especially if you’re always second-guessing yourself.

Anxiety is my companion, and it can be soul-crushing. Hope is my companion, too and that can be liberating.

Having hope—in life, in yourself, in others—can transform a moment. Our lives are made up of these moments and every time one of them is given over to negative energy, we’re not living our best lives. Find hope in nature, in a song, in your pet, in somebody’s eyes, and cherish it. Allow it to flourish and more and more of your life’s moments will be positive.

My dream of becoming a writer set me on a path from which there was no looking back. The many years of writing, of hoping, transformed my life. Negative energy couldn’t overthrow the positivity I continued to nurture. Never easy, even now, but here's the thing: One moment at a time. One step at a time.

Mental health is something close to me. Someone I love, dearly, suffers from excruciating anxiety. Most of us, thankfully, can travel through life co-existing with this rather unwanted companion, but if it lives within you, snuffs out light and hope, tell someone. Get help. You don’t have to be alone.

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