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Telling My Anxiety to Shut Up

Anxiety is a rat of a vice that creeps up on you when you least expect it. But like other mental setbacks, I had to make the conscious effort to say it wouldn't frame my psyche.
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It's been several months since I've written a piece. I usually don't like to illustrate my thoughts regarding my own personal shit and worry that an overarching clichéd feminist infrastructure can cloud my own personal perspective, but this was too important to not acknowledge.

I haven't been very kind to myself lately. I recently began to distinctly notice myself entering into a dark place I didn't like. A number of personal challenges stunted my ideas and my desire to create. I allowed these feelings to drive me down and tell me that what I was writing wasn't worth traveling anywhere past my mind. I lived solely within the confines of my mind, forcing my thoughts to negatively stir until they spiraled into ugly, harmful false images. I allowed these thoughts to twist how I viewed relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and most negatively, myself. I continued to live in the memories of my seemingly blissful past, sometimes refusing to acknowledge my present. I would lay awake at night, convinced that any moves I attempted to make were futile because I didn't deserve to succeed. I felt myself sinking into thoughts of inescapable personal disappointment. I forced myself into isolation, telling friends that I was fine. Even though, inside, I knew I was being unfairly harmful to myself. And at the same time, I was an asshole and chose to not do anything to get myself out of it. I know this shit sounds dramatically dark, but, unfortunately, it was very real. I had truly become my own worst enemy.

And then one day I woke up. And realized it was all bullshit.

Everyone has their own vice. Mine is absolutely my anxiety. My anxiety has driven me to dark and weird places multiple times in my life, all related to judgments of my own personal success. I, along with many millenials of the time, sometimes have the tendency to create a ludicrous set of goals so ludicrously high that the likelihood of attainment is near nothing. Yet, we strive for them because the Internet tells us someone we know just did it. So we think we can. And then we don't get it. Multiple times. Thus begins an ugly cycle. I so wish I could escape these thoughts. But like I said, everyone has their inescapable vice. And we can sometimes let this burden take us to places we hate.

But at the same time, I know I am the keeper of my own destiny. I know that I have the power to shift the way I judge certain facets of my life. And I know that if I don't like where I am, I have the complete power to change my perspective. Free will is an amazing gift. In a 2013 talk at Chicago Ideas, Tracy Letts, a strong influence to contemporary American theatre, describes the ways in which he keeps a creative mind. The one that stuck with me the most was "Get Help." By getting help, we are choosing to acknowledge a stagnant frame of mind. And in acknowledging this plateau, we also affirm a willingness to move past it. The day I realized my reality wasn't making me happy was both a terrible and amazing day. I thought that I had hit my personal rock bottom. But once you hit rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. As cliché as that is, the rooted truth does exist. So I sought help. I told friends and family what was going on. And the amount of help distributed was the very needed first step in getting over this life hump. I was affirming my issues and stating that a necessary step was as simple as talking about it. Throughout my life, talking has always been the best way of getting past my anxiety. And everyone has their own method. The simplest task of talking and seeking help started a trend of, what are now, positive actions I am taking to re-instill a much-needed reset. It feels good, and I feel good. Finally.

Anxiety is a rat of a vice that creeps up on you when you least expect it. But like other mental setbacks, I had to make the conscious effort to say it wouldn't frame my psyche. There's too little time and I'm too fucking awesome to let it control me. So when all else fails, I encourage you to tell your anxiety to SHUT THE FUCK UP. It has nothing good to say.

This piece is for my parents. Because they are the reason for everything. And for Charlotte. Because I love her.