A Love Letter to My Anxiety
by Olivia McCormack
I cannot recall when we first met. It seems like I’ve known you all my life. You won me over with irrational thoughts and incorrect explanations. My popularity in kindergarten was only heightened by my four front teeth and tendency to wash my dainty hands until they bled (in my defense they really explained germs like they were monsters and that freaked me… THE FUCK out.)
We’ve really grown together, and I admire your persistence. I know whenever I lay my head upon my pillow you will whisper sweet nothings in my ear — it’ll range from the state of our planet to everyone I know has valid reasons to hate me. No topic is too big or small, you’ll list them all (God, am I Dr. Seuss?).
I used to pretend I didn’t know you in public. It was a futile attempt. It was probably my face that gave it away, I have what clinicians like to call “resting anxious face.” It’s terminal.
My posture? It’s never been poorer. I want to be smaller for you. Fit into spaces easier for you. Be more friendly for you, but not too friendly because what if they think I’m coming onto them? Even if I am, they absolutely cannot know that. Because what would you say if they did? You do know what you’re talking about.
Our lives were changed when Netflix began streaming. No longer were our 4am nights reserved for reruns of sports or vaguely religious programming (I’m still not really sure what the 700 club is but I am pretty sure it’s very different from the mile high club.)
Our spot (Hurst 2nd floor teaching classroom, 10/10 would recommend) is sometimes the only time we get to ourselves. Here you can tell me whatever you wish, and as always, I’ll listen. The smell of the room ensures we’ll be alone. It comes from, what I can only assume, is years of distilled misery (name of the new Fall Out Boy album? lmk.) The closest comparison I can make is to my high school field hockey bus after we lost yet another game.
These types of letters usually end with a thank you. I’m not going to do that, because tbh, you’re a major bitch. But it’s ok! Not every aspect of who I am has to make me happy. You’re not pretty. You don’t make me a “better person.” I’ve heard that before and it’s uhhh bullshit. But just like my five-head or my aggressively small chest, you’re mine. I can’t remove you and still have me. And while everyone I know does have very valid reasons to hate me, I’m pretty ok with where I’m at.
If you’re in search of resources or information NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a useful resource. You can call them at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org.