I want to break up with you.
Our relationship feels toxic, because of everything you do.
I don’t want to live with you anymore. Why won’t you go away?
I don’t want to feel you anymore, and I really don’t want you to stay.
You make things way too hard for me, you always bring me down.
Sometimes I feel paralyzed by the overwhelm that you cause me, it feels like I’m going to drown.
Sometimes you creep in slowly and I don’t even notice that you’re there,
Until you are ruling over every move I make and I start feeling like your puppeteer.
Other times you storm in so fast, I feel instantly afraid,
Afraid of you and the damage that will cascade.
I’m sick of this and I want to say goodbye.
But I can’t seem to get rid of you no matter how hard I try.
Even when I catch my breath and start to calm myself down,
I know it won’t be long until I start to feel rundown.
Even the times when I’m feeling great, I know that you are still there,
And then before I know it, I feel like I am running out of air.
You seem to always be waiting for me, do you think I’m just a pushover?
There you are waiting to catch me off-guard, waiting to take over.
Anxiety, can’t you see it’s no wonder I don’t want you.
But if you’re not going anywhere, what am I going to do? “
“Don’t you know I’m trying to help? I’m here to give you guidance.
I need you to consider what it would be like if you were to give me a chance.
You keep trying to get rid of me and figure out if you can be stronger.
But each time that you push me away I have no choice but to push back harder.
Our relationship feels toxic because you won’t acknowledge why I’m here.
As long as you keep doing this, I’m going to stay near.
I really wish you’d start to see - I’m not going anywhere…
If only you would lean in towards me, listen to what I have to share.
You need to start to realize that I’m here because I care.
I think that you would learn a lot and I could help you to get stronger.
I really wish you knew that when you acknowledge me, I actually get smaller!
Of course I’m always here for you, waiting to step in,
I do this when I see you need me, when your resources are running thin.
Don’t you know I’m here to warn you? To remind you to slow down?
I think that if you could learn from me, you might not feel so rundown.
To get what you are really seeking, you don’t have to look very far.
All you really need to do is look within, to the essence of who you are.
In the meantime while all you’re doing is trying to run,
I won’t be going anywhere unless one day my job is done.
So please stop trying to break up with me, you’re really just wasting your time.
I won’t be going anywhere until you’re no longer mine.“
- Sincerely, Anxiety.
This letter to & response from Anxiety was written to demonstrate how paralyzing the fight with anxiety can be, and how important it is to understand what purpose your anxiety is serving in order for you to find healing.
All of our emotions are wise messengers and powerful things can happen when we LEAN IN to our emotions rather than pushing them away.
Understanding our emotions is so important to be able to manage our emotions effectively and not get overwhelmed by them. Although…. sometimes our emotions are so powerful that the idea of this can feel overwhelming itself! Exploring your emotions more deeply needs to be done cautiously so that it feels manageable and doesn’t make your anxiety worse!
The first step towards managing anxiety is to learn tools to prevent the intensity from becoming debilitating. You can find my three favourite strategies here. Once you become skilled at decreasing the intensity of your anxiety is when you can begin the journey towards exploring the root of it more deeply to expand your awareness and allow opportunity for long term healing.
Getting support from a counsellor experienced in anxiety can be an extremely useful support for anyone struggling with this. There are also many other approaches to managing anxiety that can be useful either alongside counselling. Each individual experiences anxiety (and all emotions!) differently and it is important that you choose a treatment path that feels right for you.
-Jen Reddish, RTC, MTC, The Essence of You Counselling