When I first met you, I was just a child. You terrorized me with panic attacks and wouldn’t leave me alone. It was bad enough you entered my life. It was much worse when you visited my nine year old daughter. Picking on children. How dare you!
I think you got pleasure out of watching, as you overwhelmed us with the horrifying symptoms of panic.
Did you think it was funny to see our hands tremble and our bodies sweat, drenched in fear?
Did you get enjoyment out of making our hearts beat so hard and fast, it felt like they’d jump out of our chests?
Were you pleased when my doctor told me I had agoraphobia?
Did you laugh when I had to pull over to the side of the road because my vision was blacking out?
You probably thought it was hilarious when I nearly had to run out of a store because I couldn’t stop my racing heart and dizziness. Didn’t you?
Were you happy when my daughter had to miss three weeks of fourth grade because she was petrified she’d have a panic attack?
Did you want her friends to know how ashamed she was to be different?
Was it fun to see my little girl cry when she couldn’t make herself walk into the classroom, in fear of you?
What about when you saw me cry because I knew how terrified my daughter was?
You always wanted to be in control. And you were.
But not anymore!
I’m sure you were unhappy when I reached out for medical help, after twenty years of dealing with you.
I bet you were mad when I recognized my daughter’s symptoms and took her to the doctor.
I’m sure you weren’t thrilled when our medication worked. I wasn’t afraid to drive anymore. Or go to the grocery store, the mall, or the movies. My little girl went back to school. She was able to play basketball, be with her friends, and even go to sleepovers.
We learned how to get rid of you. Our doctors helped us develop ways to control you. We’re healthy and happy now. Our lives are full and productive.
We’re braver than you give us credit for.
Anxiety, thank you for empowering us.
We know we’re strong.
If we fought you off, we can do anything.
Sincerely, Jenny Marie
© Jenny Marie 2015
About the author:
My name is Jenny Marie. I’m writing to Anxiety.
I’ve had panic attacks since I was a child. I didn’t reach out for medical help until my early 30s. I was diagnosed with panic disorder and agoraphobia. I truly thought I was alone, and that no one else experienced the same scary symptoms that I did. I soon realized there are millions of others with anxiety. My daughter started showing signs of panic attacks when she was nine years old. She’s twenty now, and both of us are nearly panic free. I hope to motivate others who are dealing with anxiety and mental illness.
Blog: Peace from Panic
Facebook: Peace from Panic
“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin to Pooh (A. A. Milne)
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Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.
The wonderful photograph was taken by Ian Schneider and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!