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A Letter From My Anxiety (And What I Wrote Back)

Misbah has done her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has access to a wide range of mental health experts who treat mental illness.

Sometimes you don't get it. Sometimes you don't even understand yourself. What is the source of your anxiety? Should you live with it for the rest of your life, or can you get rid of it? Anxiety is a constant battle that more and more people are facing these days.

It is essential to know our enemy in every battle, but anxiety has a thousand faces, and each time it performs with a different one. This time, I'm going to reveal a letter I received from my anxiety. So, if you are also a sufferer, this letter may be of help and support to you.

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

— Søren Kierkegaard

The Letter I Received From Anxiety

Dear friend,

I'm not sure why you insist on removing me from your life when I refuse to give up on you. Do you remember the first time we met? At the hospital, they told you my name is Anxiety. You thought you were going to die at the time. You were terrified because you had no idea what was going on in your body or mind. You lost control and began to see everything in a different dimension. That was me, who appeared out of nowhere and caught you off guard. And here I am, so many years later, still by your side.

You may have noticed that it is quite difficult to mislead me, that sometimes you think I am not present and then I reappear. I like it when I catch you off guard, and I like to surprise you. Recognize that sometimes you see me coming from afar, such as when you broke up with your partner, lost your job, or a friend became ill.

Other times you feel very near to me, you know that I'm there waving my hand on windy nights when you get on an elevator when you have a work presentation, when you go to the dentist or the gynecologist, when they invite you to a dinner with lots of folks, when you sit at the table at a family meal or when you get on that train.

I'm always there, changing your pulsations, making you sweat and shiver, preventing you from breathing. But don't be concerned because you already know that anxiety presses, but does not drown. I am when your hands fall asleep, your muscles stiffen, your head hurts, you can't sleep, you obsess over something, and you can't think clearly. I'm there for you when you're tired and scared. I'm not sure why you want to get rid of me when I'm with you in the worst of times.

Can't you figure out a way to get me out of your life? I know you'll succeed because you're stronger than me, even if you don't realize it yet. One day you'll wake up feeling more rested than usual, the next you'll believe in yourself again, the next you'll learn to relativize, the next you'll convince yourself that you deserve to be happy, and the next, I'm sure, you'll start to feel so strong that you can handle anything. And the day you rediscover your dreams and wake up ready to pursue them, I'll be gone forever.

Your anxiety

Landing where you belong

Landing where you belong

My Reaction After Receiving This Letter

My worry was relieved after receiving this letter. I felt good and relaxed. I thought to say goodbye to my anxiety. So I had a conversation with it while having coffee together one evening. It was the last time we talked.

A Conversation With My Anxiety

I told my anxiety that I have packed its bags for it to go far away and do not worry because I will put in there everything it needs to survive. I said to my anxiousness that I have carefully folded insecurity, bagged anguish, and wrapped anxiety pills in silk as I don't want them more.

Fear, crying and the desire to flee are also in the suitcase. I triggered a warning to be careful while opening the bag as they are all so fragile emotions. I said I'm not going to need them anymore. I encouraged it to take distorted, recurring, and obsessive thoughts as I don't need them as well. On that day I clearly said to anxiety that I can live without it and opened the door wide for my anxiety to go away.

It went out without having an argument with me because that day I became strong enough to face everything. To bear everything with great courage. It was all because of that power that I received with the letter anxiety wrote to me. It told me that I am stronger and I can fight well. It's been a long time it has gone. My lifestyle has changed and I feel better now.

The other day I was thinking about the anxiety. I realized, why it was here with me for so long. There must be some reason for sure. Then I decided to write a letter to my anxiety to tell how I feel now and what I learned from it.

It is a letter that everybody who has ever suffered or suffers from it can relate to and I believe this can help them to battle and overcome the anxiety.

Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.

— Walter Anderson

Read More From Patientslounge

The Letter I wrote to My Anxiety

Dear anxiety,

You decided to enter my life and begin living with me some time ago. At first, you were a complete stranger to me. To be honest, I didn't enjoy having you around. Your presence annoyed me, overpowered me, and made me feel uncomfortable. Because of you, I felt horrible emotions that I had never felt before.

When you came close to me, I broke out in cold sweats and shivering, my breathing and heartbeat quickened, but what I hated the most about you was when you wouldn't let me sleep at night. At times, I thought you were going to kill me.

I did not give up, every day I did everything possible to kick you out of my body, my house, my life, but the more I tried to annihilate you, the stronger you came back.

Then there came a time when I realized I couldn't win your pulse, you had fully weakened me, and I couldn't continue fighting you alone, I decided to call for help. Then everything changed.

I realized that arguing with you was not the way to forget about you. I stopped yelling at you to leave me alone and made an effort to sit down and listen to what you had to say. If you bothered to contact me, it had to be for a reason, isn't it?

Definitely, the conversations with you were not easy, but I enjoyed them, and I soon altered my opinions about you, and I went from hating you to enjoying you and even needing you. How could you have gone from being my worst foe to becoming a friend, an ally? I didn't understand it myself at first, but now I do. I needed you to fix my completely warped way of viewing things. I wanted you to help me overcome the wrong notions that had plagued me my entire life.

I wanted you to limit everything that was hurting me, to teach me to say "NO", to stop continually demanding and ruining myself. I needed you to reconcile with the past, to let go of the fear of rejection, to stop trying to satisfy everyone all of the time, to be myself regardless of 'what others will say.' I needed you to stop punishing me, to teach me how to care for myself, to stop relying on others, to eliminate the toxic, and take control of my own life.

I needed you to destroy and reconstruct me in order for me to regain my inner freedom, my essence. In a sentence, I needed you to make me happy and satisfied again.

Anxiety, I can now publicly say that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. It's been a while since you left, and I don't miss you because you taught me how to protect myself very effectively, but if you ever need to return, don't worry, I will be ready to receive you, welcome you, and accept you back.

Thank you, dear anxiety, for discovering me, changing me, and helping me in growing. Thank you for giving my life a new meaning.

Your faraway friend

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

— Epictetus

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Misbah Sheikh

Comments are welcome: I always enjoy reading your responses

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 26, 2021:

Thank you so much for your very kind words, Linda. I am pleased to know you liked it. Much appreciated, dear friend

Many Blessings to you!!!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2021:

This is an excellent article, Misbah. Thank you for sharing the information about anxiety.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 25, 2021:

Thank you so much for your very kind and generous comment, Flourish. I really appreciate your kindness. Enjoy your weekend.

Sending Love and Blessings to you!!

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 25, 2021:

Many people have issues with anxiety. Thank you for sharing your struggles. Sending you strength, calming thoughts, and love.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 24, 2021:

Thank you so much for your very kind and beautiful comment, Vidya. Much appreciated, dear friend. God bless you! Stay happy and healthy!

Sending you lots of Blessings!!

VIDYA D SAGAR on September 24, 2021:

What a wonderful and unique take on an important condition, Misbah. I liked the idea of addressing anxiety by writing a letter to it. I enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for sharing.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 24, 2021:

Hello, Brian.

I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Creativity, I believe, is an art—a medium through which we can transmit the most powerful truths without hurting or blaming anyone. The world desperately needs love, peace, and acceptance. Anxiety sufferers feel horrible about their own behavior, and the worst part is when they lack the acceptance and love of others. They must be heard. It's a good trick to write a letter to our anxiety to get rid of it and offer ourselves a chance to understand why it came into our lives. Right? I feel that there is always a positive way to look at a negative situation. Thank you for reading and for sharing your kind thoughts with me. I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Take care and stay safe!

Blessings always!!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 24, 2021:

Love you heaps, Bredz. Thank you so much for your kindness. You too are a beautiful soul and I like your spirit too.

Hugs!!!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 24, 2021:

Thank you so much, Maryam. I am glad you found it interesting and creative. Your kind words are very much appreciated, dear sister. Take care and stay healthy!!

Love and Blessings as always!!

Brian from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on September 24, 2021:

Misbah, this is really an interesting approach you have here to tackle anxiety. You don't run from it but pen your heart out - peeling its' layers away, dissecting it, and understanding the depth of its' effect when it decides to rear its' ugly head. It is very brave to note that you chose to acknowledge that despite it crippling you most of the time, you are able to gain power from it too, through your response towards it. It seems anxiety will always be a part of us in one form or another, but we can decide if it's going to build or break us. A great read indeed.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 23, 2021:

Misbah

You are indeed a lady who keeps her word.

I knew there was a great reason you are my friend.

I like your spirit.

Great job.

Maryam Fatima from Pakistan on September 23, 2021:

An interesting and creative way to explain anxiety, dear sis. It must be helpful for those, who suffer from it.

Love and blessing to you.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Thank you so much for your kind comment, Amara. I am glad you found it interesting. Yes, Anxiety is a very common problem with every other person. We should try to see things in new light. Much Love!!

Blessings to you as always

Amara from Pakistan on September 23, 2021:

Hi Misbah, you shared an Interesting perspective. Anxiety is a problem with every other person. Thanks for sharing sis.

Blessings and love always.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Hi Bredz,

Remember that I told you once I will write a letter to my anxiety? See, I did it. I am a lady of my words. Lol! I'm pleased to hear the word "clever" again. I'm in love with this word, I think. Lol! Much Gratitude, dear friend. Love you!!

Blessings and Hugs!!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 23, 2021:

Misbah

This is a very clever write.

I absolutely love it.

It clearly shows us how anxiety takes control over our body & life.

Then shows us how yo rid ourselves of it once and for all.

Excellent work on this one.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Mr. Bill, thank you very much for your genuinely nice and generous response. I feel that there is always a positive way to look at a negative situation, and this is something I have learnt a lot from you. 'Clever writing,' perhaps this is the second time you've complimented this on my work this week. It seems like I am really making significant progress. ;)

I really loved your comment. Thank you very much, Sir. God bless you and your family.

Blessings to you always!!!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Thank you so much for your very kind and thoughtful response, Rosina. I am glad to know you enjoyed reading these Letters. Stay safe and happy, dear friend.

Love and Blessings to you

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Srushti. I am pleased to know you liked the letter. Keep smiling and stay safe, dear sister.

Much love!

Sending Blessings to you!!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Thank you so much for your very sweet comment and for sharing your beautiful thoughts with me, Peggy. I greatly appreciate your kind words, dear friend. I am glad you enjoyed reading it. I loved the word "Excellent" in your comment. xx

Have a great day and keep smiling!!!

Blessings and Love as always!!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 23, 2021:

Your way of tackling anxiety can be a lesson for us all. I think that everyone at times deals with some type of anxiety. For some people it is a temporary nuisance. Others seem to be paralyzed by it. Writing down one's feelings is one proven way to get those feelings out in the open. Excellent work, Misbah!

Srushti Gamit on September 23, 2021:

So beautifully written piece Misbah!! The way you’ve written this article is so creative.

I really liked your letter to anxiety.

Lots of love and hugs to you

Rosina S Khan on September 23, 2021:

I love the way you made peace with anxiety via exchanging letters with it. I also think it is playful and highly creative. I am sure it will help out those who fight with anxiety in recent days. Thank you for sharing, Misbah.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 23, 2021:

This is such a very clever and creative way to express your thoughts about anxiety. Really, this is one of your best works to date; possibly your best. Thoroughly enjoyable read, my friend. Excellent approach to a very serious issue.

Blessings always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Hi, Li - Jen Hew. Thank you so much for your kind and generous comment. I am glad you liked it and found it creative. I appreciate your kind support. Take care and stay healthy!

Blessings to you!!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

You made my day with your very encouraging comment, John. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your very kind words. I'm hoping it would be beneficial to those who suffer from anxiety. Your kind words are greatly appreciated, dear friend. God Bless you! Keep smiling!

Blessings always

Li-Jen Hew on September 23, 2021:

You personified anxiety very well. I like the details you included to make anxiety come to life like fragile emotions in the suitcase. Creative and understandable work. Thanks for sharing.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Hi Pamela, I appreciate your kind words very much. Yes, no doubt, Trust in Lord is the only key solution to any problem of this world and beyond. I am glad you liked it. Yes, because of pandemic a lot of people suffered from anxiety and are still suffering, I believe. Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts with me. Take care and keep smiling.

Blessings and much Love, dear friend.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 23, 2021:

This could not be written any better, Misbah. A letter from and to “your anxiety” was a wonderful way to express this, and I am sure your article will be helpful for anyone else suffering anxiety. Great work.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 23, 2021:

Your letter sounds like you reached an important turning point in your life. I relate to your message, but I haven't felt anxiety like that in a long time. For me, the turning point was when I found faith in the Lord.

I hope anyone who is dealing with that type of anxiety will write that letter. Anxiety can make each day so difficult. I think this pandemic has caused many people to feel anxiety, plus just the problems of everyday living. This is a wonderful article, Misbah.

Many blessings and much love for you.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Teodora, thank you very much for your nice words. And thanks for showing the bravery to share with me your experience. I believe we all experience anxiety at some point in our lives. You're correct; it's a feeling like any other, and the only way to deal with it is to listen to it and embrace it. Much Love, dear friend. God bless you.

Sending you lots of blessings and Love!!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Rebels. on September 23, 2021:

Thank you so much for your so beautiful words of appreciation, Liz. I am glad to know you liked it and found it encouraging. Putting pen to paper can sometimes do wonders, Right? Much appreciated, dear friend.

Blessings to you!!

Teodora Gheorghe on September 23, 2021:

I can relate so well... I also wrote a letter to my anxiety in reply and for a while we became friends (it eventually went away) , but it is back. The difference is, now I know why. What I realized after years of battling with anxiety was that all it wanted was to be heard and embraced like any other emotion and part of my being... This is very difficult sometimes, but it is the only way.

Liz Westwood from UK on September 23, 2021:

This is a very original and encouraging take on dealing with a problem that plagues most of us at some time. I really appreciate the skill with which you have tackled it and, to coin an old fashioned phrase, put pen to paper.

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