Anxiety Is My Super Power
By Shari J. Ryan
Sometimes, I care too much about silly things. Silly things like the weather, making mistakes, or whether or not someone likes the person I am or the books I write. I think the way I am may be considered unhealthy to some. However, telling me not to care what others think will not change the questions I ask myself when letting someone new into my life. Telling me not to care when someone doesn’t like me won’t change the way I feel when someone snubs me or uses me. Telling me not to pay attention when someone criticizes my work won’t deter me from trying to make it better the time around.
We live in a world full of lies and for some it’s an understanding—an acceptance, for others it creates discomfort, which is understandable. Our judicial system states that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, a person with anxiety and possibly even people without anxiety often believe the exact opposite. It is a way of protecting ourselves. Just because we are told to think one way does not mean that is the way we will think. We walk by people on the street and wonder what they are thinking, will they hurt us or continue to walk by. The thought of them hurting us proves that we label people as guilty until they prove themselves innocent. While this might be a symptom of anxiety, this is also a symptom of human instinct.
We all stumble and trip on our own, and yet, most of us have been purposely tripped at some point in our lives too, but watching where we walk is a lesson we learn after peeling ourselves off the ground one or more times, and that’s how I live, and I can assume others are the same—always on the lookout.
My weakness as a human being is that I am passionate about unimportant things and little details, which sometimes causes more pain than good. I was the perfect diagnosee for anxiety—a person who focuses too much and too hard on unimportant things and little details, then lets it affect every part of me. It may be referred to as anxiety, but I call it passion.
I have been called sensitive as well as emotional, and it’s true. It’s something I love about me. I try to place myself in other people’s shoes. I ask myself how I would feel if I were them, and sometimes I may obsess over it in fear of cuasing pain on someone else. Obsession is from anxiety. Obsession gives me intuition on the feelings of others.
The amount of friendships, trust, hope, and hurt we allow into our lives defines us from the inside out. Some people can separate themselves, others cannot. If I were to be analyzed by the way I care for my friendships, have difficulty with trust, and sometimes think more pessimistically than optimistically when considering hope, my defined outcome points to anxiety. My defined outcome protects my heart.
In reality, anxiety highlights all fundamentals of my life, creating questioning of others thoughts, feelings, and emotions toward me. Does this make me broken or weak? No. I know what I love, what I believe in, and what could hurt me, which means my anxiety shields me from anything other than what makes me happy. When I encounter a thorn, I don’t have the desire to touch it just to see how much pain it can cause. Therefore, I’m not one to speak up, scream, or fight. Instead, I back away and allow myself to forget—to forget what I’ve let in because forgetting is the best survival technique to getting through life.
People tell me to be honest, show my feelings–wear my heart on my sleeve, but I have the same response every time someone makes this suggestion. “Why bother?” Outside influences will never change, just as people are who they were born to be. I don’t owe explanations or reasons for my silence because the result is futile and monotonous, typically leading to meaningless apologies. So I walk away, pride still intact and there is nothing wrong with that.
Despite the “normal” side effects of anxiety, I surprisingly have patience and understanding; I give to others until all is taken from me, regardless of trust. When there is nothing in return, though, it’s time to move on. These are the rules I live by–the rules my anxiety has created for me. When I walk away from what I believe may become a tumor in my life, it’s because there are no chances left to give or not enough benefiting risks for the taking. No one can ever say I gave up too soon, but some might say, I give up before it was too late.
I love anxiety. I do. It defines me, and not the weak part of me. It defines the strong part of who I am. It’s not an ailment or a stigma; it’s a protective guard—it keeps me safe and it enhances the protection of my heart and mind. Anxiety is not the broken wheel on my ride in life; it is a light in a dark room–a perception of who to trust and how to know when to leave. It keeps me the introvert I am but my bubble is perfect and small, just right for only allowing in the quality I need.
Anxiety isn’t a state of being, but rather a capability to comprehend what I’m supposed to be reading between the lines—a tool to overachieve in knowing too much and coping with a greater understanding for details in life that are commonly overlooked.
I look at my weakness as strength—a quality not everyone is fortunate enough to have. While I may find a lot to worry about as I go through life, my awareness to weed out the liars, the users, the cheaters, and stealers is a super power I hope I maintain forever. It pays to focus too much and too long over silly things, whether we refer to Anxiety as a stigma or not.
International Bestselling Author, Shari J. Ryan, hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates.
When Shari isn’t writing or designing book covers, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.