Everyone has experienced anxiety or stress, but anxiety orders are completely different animals. They often go unannounced and unrecognized, even by friends and family close to the people who have them. Where our culture fails to consider mental health to be just as important as physical health, we must step up to even the score. This is a letter of support and solidarity, genuinely written to each and every friend I have who has such a disorder.
To my friends with anxiety,
I write this letter as someone who may not always understand what you’re going through, but who wants you to feel understood. I may not always get “it”, but I want you to feel like I get you. And I like you a lot. I sometimes get irritated, because your tolerances for certain situations aren’t the same as mine. You have to fight to overcome so much more than I do, and I take that for granted. I know there have been times when I haven’t understood what you were going through emotionally, and I may have even said something that put you down or made you feel less-than because of it. A friend should never make you feel that way.
Like any other physical or mental struggle, some of the best medicine (but certainly not the only!) is the support and encouragement of those around us. I apologize for when you haven’t felt supported. Or when you were unable to reach out, and I didn’t meet you halfway. When I didn’t notice that you were feeling down or struggling. When I was too caught up in my own sh!t to notice that something was not quite right.
I hope you know that despite all of these shortcomings I really, truly care. You make me a better, more compassionate person. I’m super blessed to have you in my life. You prove each and every day that human beings can overcome incredible challenges, reaching out to others even when those other people aren’t accepting or understanding of you in the same way. You’re some of my role models, and the bravest people I know.
Mad love to each of you,