Anxiety Does Not Define You

Anxiety Does Not Define You

If you do not have anxiety, I want you to think about how much you stress out, or cry, or get upset. Multiply that by about 10 and you have someone with Generalized Anxiety. Multiply that by 100, and you have someone with Severe Anxiety. It seems hard to imagine but it is real life for some people. Including me. Now before we go on, I am not saying that those with Generalized Anxiety have it easier than those with Severe Anxiety. It is hard for anyone in many ways. 

I am here to tell you my story and to offer assistance to anyone who feels that they need someone. I am Rachel Kennedy, I am 18 years old, and this is my story. 

I am going to stop capitalizing 'anxiety' because it is not a proper noun. It does not define you as a person. 

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety last year. I knew deep down that it was there, but I didn't want to believe it. I felt alone. I felt like I was the only person alive going through it. I felt so weak. I already take medication for other things, so when medication was an option I decided against it. 

I am now in college. A freshman, which you can imagine only making matters worse. It is the first time I am away from home, I am doing more on my own. Although my parents are the best supporters out there, and by that I mean they answered a phone call at 3:00am because I could not stop shaking or crying. Hearing someone's voice that cares about me when I needed it most really helped calm me down. While my parents are not in the area I am while I attend college, they are always right there on the phone when I need them, and I am always welcomed home with open arms when I need them. But when they are not excessively bad, I have my best friend and boyfriend who are always there for me. It has gotten easier to deal with with the help of those that love me. 

I want you to know that you are not alone. You are not your anxiety. You are not weak. You are not a disability. You are not a "pathetic girl that cannot control her emotions." You are STRONG. You are LOVED. You are IMPORTANT. I am so proud of how far you have come and how much you have had to deal with. I understand your pain. I understand your shaking. I understand your tears. I understand your "unrealistic thoughts." 

On the topic of "unrealistic thoughts." 

People that do not suffer from anxiety do not understand that the strangest and simplest things can set us off. Someone without anxiety is not aware of how awful it is to feel as if you cannot control your thoughts and feelings no matter how irrational they seem to the outside world. 

Do not be afraid to talk to someone. Whether it be a parental unit, guardian, significant other, best friend or therapist; talking to someone may not be easy at first, but it makes for a start to a "healing process" as some could call it. If you do not know where to turn during late hours and you have an anxiety attack, or just feel alone, you can always contact me and I will most likely respond. (My information will be below.) 

You are NOT alone and you are NOT the only one going through it. It is not something to be ashamed of. I promise you. You can be someone who causes change in another individual's life if you can tell others your story and offer to help. You are the sun in a sky of clouds. Because individuals with anxiety are some of the strongest people I know. 

You are loved by me. 

You are strong. 

You are not your anxiety. 

I am always here if you need me. 

Rachel Kennedy

Cover Image By Kate Williams/