An Open Letter to Anyone Who Wants to Read It

While I don't believe that I should have to defend myself and my anxiety, I do understand that there A LOT of people in this world, and in my life, who do not understand anxiety, depression, and mental illness in general. Family and friends alike. This is for you.

Dear whoever is reading this,

I have General Anxiety Disorder. I have depression. I am a functioning human being. I lived several years of my life hiding my anxiety disorder and they were miserable years. Let me explain my life with anxiety to you.

Just because I have anxiety doesn't mean I am not happy. In fact I am happy a majority of the time. Do I fake my smile sometimes? Yes! I absolutely fake it until I make it some times. And  you know what? That is okay! Not everyone is 100% happy 100% of the time. Having depression doesn't make me sad all of the time either. You can be depressed and still be happy, I am. So please, just because I have these terrible things going on in my brain  at times does not mean I am not happy.

There are so many times that I make plans with people and literally have to force myself out the door to go. Sometimes I want noting more than to be at home, in my comfortable surroundings, with myself, my puppy, and my husband. I want to be where I don't have to talk to anyone if I don't want to, I can talk to myself, or I can even cry if I need to. Sometimes I need some coaxing to even commit to the plans. That does't mean that I don't [ever] want to make plans or go do fun things. I always want to have fun, get together with people, and be anxiety free. So please, keep inviting me out and know that I always do my best to show up, always.

It's not too often that I cancel plans. But if I don't show up, or if I cancel late minuet because I don't feel good, 95% of the time I don't feel well mentally. While I try my damnest to fight every battle in my mind I don't always win. It has nothing to do with YOU. I don't back out of things intentionally or to be mean. Sometimes I just simply cannot do it and I know that going would be worse for me than just staying home. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I know I need to listen to my gut and simply take care of me.

If I get quiet during a conversation I am most likely having a panic attack. I have them often but they typically are not noticeable. I know so many people who think panic attacks are this big, huge production. And they aren't, at least not for me. I have friends who have major panic attacks and friends who, like me, have them silently. That doesn't mean they aren't serious. Some of my panic attacks are debilitating. Just as others who suffer out loud when panic sets in. When I tell you I just had, or am currently, having a panic attack, don't ask why. Nine out of ten times I have no idea myself why I am having one.

I am tired, all of the time. Not because I am lazy [although that is probably partially the reason, ha!] but because being anxious for no [obvious] reason, having panic attacks, a racing mind, and maybe even feeling sad nearly every single day is down right exhausting. There are days I struggle to get out of bed. Those days are the worst because I know my anxiety is going to be high[er]. There are weekends it takes me until the middle of the afternoon to even shower or change my clothes to leave the house. There are days I go home from work and immediately put on my pajamas. When I get home from work it is nearly impossible to get me to leave again [unless it's planned ahead of time, like work]. I am NOT lazy. I am mentally exhausted, sometimes even physically, just from surviving a day. This isn't a daily thing. There are days I have more energy than I know what to do with. There are days I get home from work and accomplish 10 tasks before I sit down for the night. There are days I get an urge to leave the house at 7 or 8 at night just to "get out of the house". The problem is I never know how exhausted I will be day to day.

I live my life the best I know how, fighting, kicking, screaming, and winning. I never have to worry about fighting these battles alone, because my husband is my rock, and he ALWAYS brings me back to reality, always.


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