Have you ever looked around at all the shiny, happy people and thought ‘Wow. I wonder what it’s like to be so darn calm and cool’?
When I was younger, I used to cry about it. Sob, actually. I’d lie in bed alone and obsess about all the amazing parties and trips and picnics I was missing out on. I assumed the rest of the world was living in a sepia-hued Coca-Cola commercial – you know, a beautiful bevvy of bikini-clad besties running into the surf in slow mo while laughing about their effortless existences.
I truly thought I wasn’t enough. I was too difficult, too troubled, too sensitive, too anxious. Too fearful, too unlovable, too weird. So I didn’t deserve happiness or love or magical moments. I only deserved my despair.
Then I wisened up!
I started talking about my struggles. And as I did, I found similar souls who felt just like me. Suddenly I didn’t feel so alone. I was one of 300 million people around the world who woke up every day to do battle with their mind.
That’s a HUGE number. 300 million people feel just like you right now. How comforting is that!
There are HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people out there who think and care as deeply as you. Who have battle scars. Who are marching on despite their heavy baggage and fears of the future. To try and survive. Thrive. Find something worth living for. Keep on keeping on.
Hell. Fricking. Yeah!
That means you belong to a bloody big tribe.
And that’s pretty cool.
Because finding others who share your struggles creates a community. You’re no longer lonely in your aloneness – and when you are, you can go to your posse for support.
Whether you need advice, a virtual hug, or simply a reminder that you’re going to be OK, you can reach out for it. From people who totally get what you need – because they need it too.
Even our loveliest friends and most supportive family won’t always know how to help. And sometimes our anxiety is SO intertwined with our relationships, it’s actually unhealthy and unhelpful to rely on them.
We have to dig ourselves out of the ditch. And reach out for a hand from other warriors when we can’t.
And here’s another truth bomb:
Even the cool kids get wobbly
A few months ago, I caught up with an old friend who always appeared to have the perfect life. She was (and still is) pretty, popular, perfectly preened, and always seemed to say the right thing – and wear the right thing – in every social situation.
I desperately, achingly wanted to be her. Not like her, but actually be here. She epitomised the sparkly perfect person I longed to be.
But when we met up, she revealed to me her struggle with mental illness and self-esteem. It was something she’d been battling with her whole life.
And she said it was thanks to Worry Warrior that she felt empowered to accept and speak up about her struggles. She’s now making a HUGE effort to lower her pursuit of perfection, let people get closer to her, and carry her mental illness like she does a designer handbag: with pride.
I mean, that made my month! It was like a ball of glitter exploded inside me!
I left the cafe feeling inspired and reassured: everyone is fighting a silent battle.
We are all the same.
We are not alone.
So I’m sticking with anxiety
Sure, life might be cruisier, calmer, Coca-Cola-ier without worries.
But that’s like saying we’d all be happier if we didn’t experience sadness. It might be nice, but it wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t be human. It wouldn’t be truly living.
So let’s connect. Let’s inspire and support each other. Let’s shake off the unrealistic expectation that we should have our shit together. And let’s celebrate our quirks and muddled minds. For they bind us.