Living with Anxiety: A Journey of Acceptance

Baylee, a mental health advocate, shares her journey with anxiety and one tip she uses as a reminder everyday to stay present and accept herself. In her own WORDs:

Seven years ago, I was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I was living like a child with chalk: drawing beautiful designs and experiencing this colorful life I had created for myself. But there were cracks in the sidewalk and weeds poking through that I would just fill in with color. In reality, there was a lot of pain that was demanding to be felt, feelings calling for attention, a past that wanted to be seen, but all I knew was to stay busy and to work around anything that tried standing in the way.

Then one day it rained and, just like that, life as I knew it was wiped clean and all that was left were those cracks and weeds I had spent years ignoring. That was the beginning of a lifelong journey of sitting with my struggles and listening to what they have to say. It’s turned out to be my most beautiful creation yet.

My mental illness has taught me how to be there for myself. Some days I wake up glowing from the inside out, and I’m present - here and living. Other days I don’t feel like myself: my thoughts are loud, and my head is foggy. When it’s difficult to even muster a laugh, I turn inward and use those times as opportunities to practice self-care, self-love and acceptance. It has taught me that I am still worthy, AS IS - as myself, in the safety of the present moment.

It’s hard not to get angry with my brain sometimes. It’s hard not to place judgment on myself on the days I just can’t keep up and need to surrender. It’s hard not to create this expectation in my head of what I “should be” or “could be.” But I’m learning to arrive to each moment as I am- with my flaws, my quirks, my struggles, and my story. AS IS."  

The struggle with Anxiety is complex, but you’ve got this. You are NOT alone. What WORD will remind you of your strength, especially when the days are hard? Choose Your WORD and one for someone who has been on this journey with you!