May 26, 2020

A Love Letter to Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

We’ve had this weird attachment to each other for quite some time now.  Just when I think you’re out of my life, I get a call, a text message, you post on Facebook or Twitter and we’re right back where we were before.  It’s like you become my world.  You’re the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep (if I manage to sleep at all).  I don’t know why you’re here. I didn’t invite you back, but here you are anyway.  You’ve thrown me out of whack and it feels as if everything in my life is spiraling out of control.  I avoid. I procrastinate.  I flee.  I fear…everything. I don’t want anyone to know about our unhealthy relationship because I fear they will judge me.  They will blame me for being weak.  They will be unsympathetic and tell me to just suck it up and kick you out.  Maybe they will tell me that I’m mentally ill. 

As a distraction, I listened to some of my favorite artists in hopes of lifting my spirits and interrupting my thoughts of you.  One of the songs I listened to, though melancholy in tone, was surprisingly helpful to me. Now when I think of it, I am reminded of you.  The song is called “Good Morning Heartache” by Billie Holiday.

Good morning heartache, you old gloomy sight. Good morning heartache - thought we said goodbye last night. I turned and until it seemed you had gone, but here you are with the dawn.

Wish I'd forget you but you're here to stay. It seems I met you when my love went away. Now every day I start by saying to you, "Good morning heartache. What's new?"

Stop haunting me now - can't shake you no how. Just leave me alone. I've got those Monday blues, straight through Sunday blues.

Good morning heartache. Here we go again. Good morning heartache; you're the one who knew me when. Might as well get used to you hanging around. Good morning heartache. Sit down.

Listening to this song I realized just how much energy it took to be afraid of you, to avoid you, to wonder if/when you would return, to worry about how you would interrupt my life, and to feel badly about myself because ours is a relationship that makes me feel ashamed.  And I’m tired of giving you all that energy.  I’m tired of giving you all that power.  I accept you for who you are - an unfortunate part of my life, an affliction that cannot be cured, only contained.

I won’t be surprised when I come home and find your car in the driveway.  I won’t be surprised to see your clothes in my guest room.  But there will be no wake-up calls.  I won’t be sharing my Cheerios in the morning. You don’t get to ride to work with me.  I won’t give you gas money.  I won’t shop for your groceries.  I won’t listen to your bedtime stories. I won’t say hello and goodbye when I enter the room and I don't want to hear about your day. Yes, I know that you’re still there.  I can feel your eyes on me; but not only can I see you, but I can see through you as well.  I understand why you came for another visit; and I know how to limit your stay.

This is the last letter you will receive from me – the last flick of my wrist.  You are welcome to sit and watch as I live my life, not with you, but around you.  Watch me smile.  Hear my laughter.  Feel the absence of my love.  My life is full with wonder and grace whether you are near or far.


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