At my lowest points of my teenage years, I have pleaded to an invisible force that I would do anything to be devoid of the anxiety that plagued my life. 

Around the age of fifteen, a traumatic event triggered the birth of an anxiety disorder that took over an enormous portion of my life and well-being. Too often in the midst of my attacks and episodes, I craved the normality I once possessed. I wanted so desperately to live freely without the weight of my illness as I once had. But after nearly three years of this battle, I don’t want to go back to who I was before my anxiety.

My life was admittedly much easier, but it was far less meaningful. It pains me to say I lived a shallow existence before my anxiety, and a lot of my time was spent worrying about meaningless things. I worried about what I looked like, what my classmates thought of me, who I would sit with at lunch. It was all brutally cliche. But now, in the anxious life I have, everything is different.

I despise every ounce of suffering I have endured and will endure in the future, but I no longer wish to be the person I was before this illness. I’ve often pondered the question, “What would my life be like if I didn’t have anxiety?” I have gained so much from this journey and battle to know that who I would be without anxiety is not a person I’d be proud to be. I fear that without my illness, the process of becoming the person I am today would be significantly delayed if not altogether prevented.

When you suffer, you see an incredible amount of pain, but amazingly, you see even more beauty. Anxiety made me weak and then it made me stronger than I have ever been. Anxiety made me bitter and then it made me fall in love with the world. Anxiety made me feel hopeless and now I feel capable of anything. I’ve learned the only way to get by with any shred of happiness is to find the good in everything.

Photo by Micheal Saisi

CC BY-SA 4.0 Devoid of Anxiety by Emma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

5 Comments
  1. Judge Thomas 2 weeks ago

    Emma,

    Your writing is beautiful and fluent. I have a quote that relates to the pain you felt in which you gained beauty. One of my favorite philosophers named Aeschylus once said, “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
    falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” I thought this quote is an amazing way to describe pain, knowledge and what you wrote, beauty. When you look at the quote, the “awful grace” are two words that normally do not go together, but that may be the beauty—how God or humanity forms us into unique individuals with which we accept or deny what may come our way…

    -Thomas

  2. Ceceli 3 weeks ago

    This is such a relatable post. It is really amazing you are able to talk freely about mental illnesses because I feel so many of us try to cover them up and pretend they don’t exist but they are a part of us. I think it is so important that we acknowledge mental illnesses and talk about them. I found this article about a man who also suffers from anxiety, you might find it interesting. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/surviving_anxiety/355741/

  3. Emily 4 weeks ago

    Emma, I love this post. Similarly, I have experienced something close to this. While I was in agreement throughout the whole post, I found paragraph three particularly compelling. When you said, “I fear that without my illness, the process of becoming the person I am today would be significantly delayed if not altogether prevented.”. I couldn’t agree more, and I often find myself thinking this exact thought. I thoroughly enjoyed your writing and how honest you were about this topic. People often find it too taboo to talk/write about, but I think you did a marvelous job. If you were to keep writing with this much thought and heart, I would definitely come back to your posts. And finally, however cheesy this article https://themighty.com/2016/11/good-things-that-come-with-an-anxiety-disorder/ might be, I think it does an excellent job and even backs up the points you made in your concluding paragraph.

  4. Bella 4 weeks ago

    This is an amazing post, and I think it is a really important message. You perfectly portrayed how restraining the illness is. I agree with Isa that this is a very inspiring post, and I think it will inspire others. https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress here is an article that I think applies to your post.

  5. Isa 4 weeks ago

    I really enjoy this. It popped up on my “feed” and I immediately clicked on it because anxiety is something that changes you. Your life is strongly influenced by anxiety, and will continue to be whether or not you want it to. I assume you have tried to “fix it” or “get rid of it”, but have learned it doesn’t work that way. It is inspiring that you accept the way you process things differently than others knowing it might make your own life harder. I found an article that gives tips to solve this problem, however I do know most of the time these tips don’t work.
    https://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/emotional-health/ten-ways-to-cope-with-anxiety
    Thank you for sharing your personal story with me, I enjoyed learning about the illness.

Leave a Reply

CONTACT US

We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: