I want to be clear about something before you get the wrong idea – I am not and have never been the shy type. I’m confident in who I am and I’m naturally inclined to want to lead others. This makes me sound like I’m one of those very upfront ‘what you see is what you get’ people but unfortunately, I am not that type of person at all.
For the most part I can handle myself, because, heck I am almost 41 years old. I spent many, many years being mislabeled, misunderstood and misdirected, believing that I was suffering from just being to overly sensitive – but why did it seem to be so much harder for me than everyone else?
As far back as I can remember I began showing signs of anxiety. I struggled with panic attacks and would often find myself sitting alone feeling worthless, numb and frustrated. These feelings and experiences have followed me for most of my life. The days of panic attacks have dwindled. Do I still have them? Yes, on occasion my anxiety will rear its ugly head! But I know how to control it. I am physically healthier making my mental health easier to manage. I have a tribe of amazing friends who support me every single day and I have an incredible husband who has been by my side during the good days and the bad!! I no longer feel like I’m being judged for who I am supposed to be but loved for who I actually am!!
When people look at my social media or see me out in public they don’t see me on a bad day. They don’t see me grinding my teeth, tensing my muscles until my body cramps up, ugly crying for hours or locking myself in my “safe place” to do my breathing exercises. Instead they see somebody happy, ambitious, living the best life she can. All these things are real and I’m grateful for them, but the bad days are just as real and not as easy to share.
So next time you open your social media feed consider that behind every smiling selfie could be a girl or a guy with an anxiety disorder, that works really hard to manage it every single day. But also consider that this doesn’t stop them from living their best life. Not every day is a good day but finding the courage to share what you’re really feeling, is half the battle.