I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life. It has ebbed and flowed through the years but when I had my children it came crashing down on me in a debilitating way.
I have never really spoken about it mainly because of the stigma surrounding a so called ‘weakness’. Yet, as we know, a stigma can only be broken down through openness and dialogue. We are all full of weaknesses – that is what makes us human.
However when mentioning matters of the mind, people can become fixated on it, forgetting all else about you, or at least that is how it can feel if you are on the receiving end. I am, of course, so much more than my ‘weakness’. Like everyone, I am a kaleidoscope of differing skills, emotions and capabilities.
The few people I have spoken to of my anxiety have expressed such surprise, ‘but you seem such a confident, happy person’ which I most definitely am. It is these dichotomies that make us who we are and demonstrate how one aspect of ourselves cannot define us as a whole
I now try to accept my anxiety as simply part of my character. My anxiety is rather like an overtired toddler – it demands constant attention, is always there at my heels yet can be deflected with certain techniques acquired over the years.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day I must add that my husband has been a wonderful, non-judgmental support throughout. We can openly discuss my fears and he brings me back with his rational thinking. Or occasionally he just laughs at me which usually snaps me out of it, or makes me want to throw the remote at him.
My anxiety doesn’t make me less of a person, or less reliable, it is simply one of the layers that make up me – we are all multi-layered, rather like a lasagne. It can even bring with it some positives. I believe it has made me more conscientious, thorough and reflective towards the feelings of others.
So let’s champion our lasagne layers and congratulate ourselves for achieving in the everyday, despite or because of our weaknesses.