I’ve been an anxious person for most of my life.
I remember staring up at the ceiling of my bedroom the night before gymnastic meets. Eight-years-old and stress pains beating up my stomach, until I finally fell into my fitful sleep.
Fast forward to my senior year of college, where it got so bad at times that I would barely make it through class and my short walk home before I’d fall to my apartment floor gasping for air, from one of my occasional panic attacks.
It’s been years since my last panic attack, as I’ve found ways to calm myself down with breathing, yoga and magical doses of self-love that naturally come with age. But I still have my “off” days. Looking someone in the eye at length can sometimes feel impossible. People have compared me to Kristen Stewart; not just because we look alike, but because we act alike, too. Watch her in any interview, and you’ll understand why I don’t love this comparison.
Other days, I’m able to smile at strangers and relax during conversations. Those are my “on” days.
I am revealing all this uncomfortable stuff about myself with a purpose in mind. It’s not entirely for selfish reasons, although I admit that it does feel nice to share something so personal and authentic, like a sigh of relief. And that’s my point; Fear can be your best medicine, if you push through it. I want you to know that if you feel this way, you aren’t alone and there are ways to overcome it.
What’s been so freeing for me is forcing myself into vulnerable situations, especially in my young adulthood. Public speaking and performing on stage are two things I’m very drawn to, and terrified of, so I’ve pushed myself to step in the limelight when I can. Like anything else, the more you do something, the easier it becomes. The easier it becomes, the less anxiety you feel.
Do something you would otherwise be too scared to try. Then do it again. Now, tell me it isn’t easier the second time :).
With courage, love, and intensity,
Photo credit: lululemon athletica / Foter / CC BY