An Open Letter to My Anxiety


What triggered you this time?

Was it the way that man looked at us on the street?

Was it the test we have in chem. tomorrow?

Or maybe it was that crowded elevator from earlier today- the one where you got on by yourself and two other men, but then at the next floor down eight boys piled in like sardines in a can.

So closely packed together you couldn’t see the doors, but the doors weren’t doors- NO!

When they closed it was like the sealing of an airlock - you were left with empty lungs and teary eyes as you made your way down to the lobby, gasping for air that no one else had trouble getting.

But it’s not their fault. They didn’t know that you don’t like tight spaces.

Of course, no one ever does.

No one knows there’s nothing you hate more in the world than public speaking and phone calls.

Not everyone knows about your fear of high places and crowded street corners.



We’ve met many times before, but our encounters have never lasted so long.

Always a brief rush of terror when the situation gets dire for you.

Like waves crashing over and over and over again, being dragged down by the undertow.

But I was always able to surface. Able to cough the water out of my lungs and suck in a gulp of fresh air once again.

But not this time.


You are an unwanted houseguest outlasting your uninvited stay.

Oh I can’t kick you out- I’ve tried many times before.

Your scent lingers everywhere I go, reminding me of your constant presence.


The earliest memory I have of you is from our first encounter; simple, yet overwhelming.

You came to me late one evening when tensions were high and relationships were being tested. Although I did not know your name, you knew mine- Worse- you knew me

All of my insecurities and qualms. You played me. You knew exactly what to say to get in my head.

Every new wave you sent my way was a punch to my stomach.

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak.

You left me a blubbering mess with raccoon eyes and tear-stained cheeks -my shirt dampened by tears and snot.

I was fragile and paranoid the next day- constantly looking over my shoulder to see if you were still there.


I know that you may come and go intermittently, but never gone for good.


So now I take it one day at a time.

When you are gone I will shine and blossom into something unapologetic and unstoppably strong and beautiful.

I will push myself to new limits and set new boundaries for the next time you stop by.

And when you return I pull on my galoshes one foot at a time, shrug on my coat and push through.

I will still be strong and unapologetic of what you make me feel. I will not be crushed by your tsunami- like waves, or your world-shattering earthquakes that threaten the foundation of my happiness.

I will not be silenced by your voices in my head.

You may be here, and be present, But I Will Also Be Here And Be Present.

- A Girl Who Refuses to Be a Slave to Her Anxiety Any longer

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