For years, I’ve let you define me. You’ve held me back from social events, kept me in bed for entire days, made me have embarrassing panic attacks in public…. But that all ends today. At 22, when I finally had something to call you, you became generalized anxiety disorder and not just those feelings that made me crazy. I thought making you a part of who I am was me being strong when it was actually me putting on a front. I don’t want to be “The Anxiety Girl” anymore. I don’t want to introduce myself as “I’m Darrian and I have anxiety” ever again. I’m done.
You have ruined countless things for me, from joining clubs and sports in high school and college, to nearly making me miss my chance at the most amazing guy in the world. I’m not that high school girl who thought she was crazy anymore. I’m not that 22-year-old who thought fronting with my anxiety made me strong. Remember when Hermione says that line, “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself?” Well I do, and she was right.
Having something to call you, to define you didn’t make me stronger. The opposite is true, in fact. It gave me an excuse. If I didn’t get out of bed one day, it was your fault. If I didn’t want to go on a date with this great guy who was super interested in me, it was your fault. Lucky for me, you’ve met your match. No, not me. But that guy I was just telling you about. While he’s great at rolling with your punches, I refuse to let either of us live like this anymore.
I know that I will never be able to completely stop you. But I’m going to do everything in my power to do that. I will always be afraid to meet someone new for the first time, but I’m not going to let you stop me. Instead of panicking about what can go wrong, I’m going to celebrate all the things that have gone right, like next week when Justin and I celebrate our 6 months. Instead of worrying about what people will think when they read my writing, I’m just going to write what I want to write.
It will be a long process and I know that I won’t be perfect. But you will no longer define me. I will celebrate each victory and dust myself off after each setback, but I won’t give up. This journey and my life are what will define me, but not you… not anymore.