Dear Anxiety, Thank You.

Lauren Sullivan
4 min readOct 10, 2021
Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash

It’s just another day.

Another day with you on my shoulder. Another day to watch you criticize, doubt, and humiliate me. As I wake up and feel your presence draw nearer, I’m reminded of the tumultuous relationship we’ve held together for so many years.

You’ve been there through some of the happiest moments of my life, convincing me that maybe it’s all too good to be true. You’ve stuck around for some of the toughest times, reminding me that I crumble under too much pressure.

In my childhood, you tried to sneak in, but rarely did I allow you to. You were there, but for whatever reason, I rarely acknowledged your presence. I cared a lot less about what people thought about me, and in effect, what you had to say.

But when I got older, I became vulnerable. I allowed you into my life and I listened to your incessant chatter. I started to hate my body because of you. I lost friends because you convinced me that they didn’t have my best interests at heart. I developed an obsessive need to overthink every situation in my life because you always gave me a reason to doubt.

And today, here I am, still affected by you, but in different ways. When you wake me up in the morning you remind me that I should be further along in my career by now. You whisper that I should be making more money. You even dare to say that I should be closer to my family. There are no limits to the subjects you choose to infiltrate.

But above all, you never fail to alter my perception of what is true.

Anxiety, you are a master of distraction because you use the looming future and the distant past to threaten me. Just when I feel myself slowly moving away from your power, you sweep me back in again.

But even though you cause my breath to quicken, my heart to race, and my mind to wander, I am who I am today because of your influence in my life.

I’ve learned one thing from my relationship with you. Despite all your efforts to constantly attach yourself to my reality, there is one moment you avoid. You never use my present moment as a weapon. This is for a reason. You have no place in my present moment because there’s nothing for you to threaten me with here. There’s nothing to worry about now at all, and you only have…

Lauren Sullivan

A millennial living in Manhattan, eating too much sushi, and writing until 2am.