“I am not my anxiety”

Sometimes I feel like I have a sign on my forehead warning people that I don’t work well with others. I have what some people call “standing bitch face.” I don’t walk around with a smile or even a relaxed expression, but rather a tense almost angry look most of the time. And I know it makes me seem unapproachable, but I can’t help it. It’s the only thing I can do that keeps me from from looking scared. And there is nothing in this world that scares me more than the idea that some aspect of my life, success, or even failure is out of my control.

I don’t know when my distrust of the entire world happened, sometimes I think I just woke up one morning and exploded.
“oh you’re such a spazz”
“don’t be such a bitch”
“what a control freak”

I’ve heard these things time and time again, and dreaded it every time. It’s not that I thought I was smarter than everyone, better than everyone, or even more prepared than everyone, I just couldn’t bear the thought of not being in complete control. The notion of a poster or paper or presentation that I couldn’t completely micromanage began to spill over into non-academic aspects of my life as I entered high school and college.

I let my anxiety eat me alive for years before I finally got any semblance of help. I lost friends by being so utterly overbearing that I pushed them out of my life. I tore myself down and beat myself up over every poor grade, every pair of fat pants, and every lost game until all I had left was my desire for control. But I am not my control issues, I am not a bitchy face, I am not my distrust.

The sum of all of my parts does not equal my whole. I am a human, with flaws and mistakes, and beauty. And the part of me that is scared will not take hold over me. I am not my anxiety.