The Gift of an Anxiety Disorder

Living with an anxiety disorder is not easy. I could share lots of stories and examples to demonstrate. Or… you could take a couple seconds to think of that moment when you feared the worst thing in your life would happen, and you needed to try to talk yourself out of the fear. You knew you didn’t really know what would happen, but try as you might you couldn’t stop worrying  about the worst, gut-wrenching, life-shattering, I-will-not-live-through-this-moment outcome coming to fruition.

Those of us living with an anxiety disorder battle those thinking patterns all the time. I have learned how to recognize the anxiety but not pay attention to it. The anxious thoughts float through my brain almost everyday, but I ignore them as you would an aching knee when you are trying to dance. I can usually write them off with an annoyed, “My crazy anxiety disorder.”

“My crazy anxiety disorder” is a wall of quasi-denial I can hide behind sometimes, I have learned. When the truth of my sister’s cancer battle becomes more than I can emotionally carry for a while, I can deny that truth with “My crazy anxiety disorder.” I can write off my fears and my heartache as my brain playing tricks on me. I don’t have to feel it. I don’t have to live it… for a while.

Some of the most difficult times are when the truth comes crashing through my wall even though I have known it to be truth all along. Today was one of those days. Sis called me and said her physical therapist said Stage 4 Uterine Cancer is written on the paperwork Hematology and Oncology sent over.  I know my sister’s cancer is stage 4. It traveled from her uterus to her lung. That is a textbook-perfect example of stage 4 uterine cancer. The truth of it has never gotten past “My crazy anxiety disorder” other than in my therapist’s office. I couldn’t let it. Today… knowing Dr. Zon wrote those words about my sister… it did and caused a truth-filled gut-wrenching, life-shattering, I-will-not-live-through-this-moment moment.

I will handle it and be okay, but not today.

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