Dear Anxiety,

After getting off the emotional roller coaster you have been making me ride, I finally have the courage to say this to you.

You are a bully. You show up without an invitation and create chaos within me. You feed on my fears and thrive on my inability to see reason. You’re always ready to start a fight – whether it’s through a panic attack, an anxiety attack, or an episode of derealization, you seem to enjoy the misery you inflict.

I can’t breathe when you come to visit. I try to gasp for air and my heart pounds uncontrollably. My body goes weak and I feel nauseous. There are a million thoughts racing through my mind, leaving me to deal with an excruciating amount of terror. Every time you attack me, you leave me vulnerable, like an open wound susceptible to even the smallest infection.  I feel scared every time you come and whenever you are not here, I spend my moments terrified of when you might show up again.

Even though I have my family and friends there for me, you’re still capable of making me feel completely alone; cornered in the dark, helpless and scared. Anxiety, I live in constant fear of what you will do to me next. I spend my days worrying that this will be my life forever – you invading my mind and consuming my life. The more I try to fight you, the more powerful you seem to get. You engulf me in your treacherous jaws, and it is exhausting having to fight you everyday.

Today, I realize: why be so scared of you? Why give you this much importance and glamorize your existence? Why let you take over every aspect of my being? I have finally figured it out.

8 Ways I Let Go of You, Anxiety

Here are the 8 things I do to let go of you:

1. Breathe

Every deep and long breath I take makes your presence get smaller and smaller. The longer I exhale, the faster I push you out of my body.

2. Go for a walk

Sometimes when you come to visit, you can get pretty stubborn and refuse to budge. So, I leave wherever I am and go for a walk. The change of environment and physical activity really help to get my mind off of you. Once I’m not thinking about you anymore, you seem to get bored and go away.

3. Do math problems

The worst part about you, Anxiety, is that you cloud my judgment. You make my emotions soar high without warning. That’s when I turn to math. It may not be everybody’s favorite subject, but it shifts my attention to the logical side of my brain, instead of keeping you company while you create havoc in the emotional side.

4. Color or doodle

When you make everything seem dark and grey, I start to doodle or color. I turn to the rainbows instead of dwelling in the dark side.

5. Tidy up and clean

You seem to enjoy making me feel like my head is not in order. When you do that, i just start tidying up and cleaning. As soon as my room is organized, you start to fade away and my heads seems so much clearer.

6. Watch something funny. And laugh.

Anxiety, if I’m being completely honest, you make life seem way too serious. And scary. You gotta lighten up. It’s true when they say laughter is the best medicine. I watch something funny and as soon as I laugh, you get bored. I suggest you find something your own size to latch on to, because trust me, it’s not going to be me.

7. Shower

If I can’t go to the beach and listen to the soothing sound of the waves, I settle for a shower instead. The feeling and sound of the water reassures me that you are being washed away. I feel calmer and gain so much more clarity.

8. Believe

Lastly, and most importantly, I believe I will be okay. At the end of the day, you are JUST a bundle of symptoms, you are NOT my identity. You do not own me, and you do not control me. Believing, having faith in, and remembering that I am my own person and I alone determine how I feel is the most powerful way of getting rid of you.

My dear Anxiety — you do not intimidate me anymore. I know that you will occasionally show up, not just in me, but in almost every other person in the world at some point in time. But remember, no matter what you have planned for us, we know that we will, ultimately, be just fine. Life is too precious to be living in fear. So next time you show up at my doorstep, I will not slam the door and hide under the covers, but instead, will let you in and greet you like an old friend.