Last week I shared with you a snippet on my journey with anxiety and how I overcome it. I also touched a little on how Bree, our eldest daughter, also has her battle with anxiety and, as promised, here is her take on it.
Bree shared this letter with me just a bit over twelve months ago, and she asked if she could share it on social media. We sat down with her and explained how proud we were of her to want to share this with the world, but it was also a huge step and she needed to understand by putting it out there, what that meant.
Bree thought about this for a few days and in the end, decided that she needed to do it. So, this is Bree’s letter to the world about anxiety is to her, in her words.
I think it’s time I share my story with the world... instead of dragging it on for ages, I’m just going to say it... anxiety, I suffer from anxiety. That’s hard for me to admit because to everyone I’m the tough one. I’m the strong one who doesn’t cry and get upset. In a perfect world that is what I am but in reality, I’m not, no one is.
For a while, I thought I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t who people thought I was. I thought that I was letting everyone down because I wasn’t living up to the expectations of what people thought I was and I wasn’t being what everyone made me out to be. I thought I was a bad person for not being who I was ‘supposed’ to be. This led to me crying myself to sleep every night and isolating myself from the world because I thought that I was letting everyone down.
I would constantly have panic attacks and even think the unthinkable. My mum would tell me that it’s ok and I’ll get through it, but I had a really rough time believing it myself. In my mind, I thought I was never going to get out and there was no way I could escape it and that just made it 10 times worse.
I thought that I had to be perfect, that I had to get good marks and get to class early. I thought that I had to be the perfect student, the perfect sister, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect teammate, the perfect coach but in reality, no one is perfect no one can be perfect. The world tries to make young people think that they have to be perfect to have friends. That you have to be pretty and make everyone like you. Unfortunately, that belief caught me too. I thought that I was invincible to it because I knew that that’s what social media and the news was trying to do but I believed it, I truly believed it and that’s what caused me to get anxiety. It’s what caused me to panic and to cry and to think the unthinkable.
So I will now only believe one thing ... that I am stronger. I am stronger than stress. I am stronger than panic, but most of all I am stronger than anxiety. I am much stronger than anxiety and I will no longer allow it to tear me down. I will no longer allow it to get to me because I am bigger than anxiety. I’m not oblivious to the fact that I will always have anxiety but I will not let it make me isolate myself from everyone and I will not allow it to control my life.
There will be times that I am stressed out, there will be times that I will again panic but it will not control me. I will never ever allow it to control me ever again. I’m only sharing this because I really want other people to know that anxiety doesn’t have to control your life, it’s ok to let it out and it’s ok to talk to other people about it. There is always someone who wants to help you, you just have to be strong and ask for it. You don’t have to be scared or afraid to stand up to it because you are much stronger than you think, you just have to find your strength because it is inside of you no matter how deep it is. You are not alone people really want to help, I wish I believed that sooner.
Sharing my story is my way of standing up to anxiety. It’s my way of showing the world that it is possible to harness it because I have. I AM STRONGER.
Our girl is brave! Our girl has used her knowledge, her voice and her story to raise awareness on adolescent anxiety and we couldn’t be prouder. As she said, she knows anxiety will always be with her, but we have shown her how to deal with it, how to harness it and how to turn all the negatives into positives. She has found her love of basketball and put a lot of her energy into her game and also giving back by turning her hand to coaching. Having to be responsible for teaching young girls how to play ball and show them how to be a team and support one another but basketball has helped Bree to not only grow but has shown her she is needed. She has a big heart and a lot to give.
Keep kicking goals Breezy, and telling your truth. No one is perfect, but to us … you are!