Reflection: Hurt You First

I love the world, I truly do. I appreciate how the wind feels on my cheeks when I’m standing by the Columbia River. I adore small animals with big eyes and the way flowers will grow out the cracks in sidewalks. I’m fascinated by the smell of rain and the way a tree’s canopy looks like an umbrella when you tilt your head the right way. I love the world, or at least the way I see it, but sometimes I am the clouds blocking my own sunlight.

A common trait people can agree on about anxiety is a connection to worrying, or being anxious. Though the images we first have of “worrying” can be diverse. Insecurity. Paranoia. Wringing of the hands. Lying in bed at night. Questioning everything. But what about something more loud and powerful than trembling in the corner with rapid thoughts? Something as forceful as hurricane winds or blood pumping in our veins?

My anxiety is aggressive. It balls my gentle hands into hard fists, it turns my softest whisper into harsh screaming, it puts words in my mouth that taste like metal.

People will ask, “what’s wrong with you? You’re being mean.”

My anxiety makes me mean because when I was 15 I was nice to a guy who ended up betraying my body. And I don’t want that happening again.

My anxiety makes me mean because​ I’ve seen nice women get beaten by their husbands. And I don’t want that happening to me.

My anxiety makes me mean because the last time I hid my feelings she stole kisses off my lips and then flipped me over to stab me in the back. And I don’t want to be used like that anymore.

My anxiety keeps me safe by holding people at Bay, as if avoiding the waves and staying in the shallows will save me from drowning but anxiety is a stone tied to my neck.

And it took years to understand that. To realize that I wasn’t a bad person when stressed and overwhelmed, I was an inflicted soul, I was someone in need of healing who was being protected by the wrong guardian. I used my anxiety to make me stronger but it did not – and could not – ever do that for me. Hurting others does not save me from the past nor does it bring light to my future.

By seeing my self and my problems for what they are I was able to start the journey of healing and becoming myself again.

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