Anxiety is a term that often remains shrouded in stigma and misunderstanding, but has been a constant companion on my journey through life. I want to share my personal experience, not just to open a window into my world, but to shed light on the complexities of anxiety that many might not fully grasp.

  • The Unseen Struggle - Anxiety isn't always loud. It's not just sweaty palms or racing thoughts. It can manifest in ways that are invisible to the casual observer. For me, it's the days I spend overthinking every interaction or the times when my heart races without warning, and sometimes at. The most bizarre moments. It’s the days that:
    • Fear overwhelms me, and I will bring a box of contact lenses on a 3-day work trip because who knows, I might get stuck there forever or get ‘adult-napped’
    • My heart races with palpitations and I schedule several doctor appointments to only learn that its my anxiety
    • I plan and plan and plan to try to control, control, control
    • Literally eat off my cuticles until they are so raw just to try to channel the energy elsewhere
    • I set 10 different alarms on 3 different devices because I might be late when I never am
Anxiety is a skilled actor, concealing its grip on my thoughts, decisions, and emotions.

  • Discovering the Uncharted Territories - My journey with anxiety led me to uncharted territories within myself. It made me question my worth, my abilities, and my relationships. I've had moments where even the simplest tasks felt like climbing mountains, where self-doubt felt like a constant companion. Anxiety taught me that vulnerability isn't weakness, it's the bridge to healing.
  • The Power of Connection - Amid the turmoil, I found solace in opening up about my struggles. Sharing my experiences with friends and family forged a connection I didn't expect. Their support and empathy became a lifeline, reminding me that I wasn't alone. Often, conversations about anxiety bring forth stories from others, stories that remind me that we're all fighting battles unseen.
  • Seeking Silver Linings - Anxiety has taught me that even amidst the storm, there are silver linings. It led me to mindfulness, to the practice of grounding myself in the present moment (which will always be a work in progress for me). It pushed me to prioritize self-care, to celebrate small victories, and to embrace imperfection.


Anxiety is an intricate tapestry woven into the fabric of who I am. It's a reminder of my strength and resilience, and a constant invitation to compassion – both for myself and for others. While it still challenges me, I've learned that by embracing vulnerability and initiating conversations, I can turn it into a source of connection and understanding.

If my journey has taught me one thing, it's that we're all navigating storms within ourselves. By sharing our stories and creating a space for open dialogue, we can bridge the gap of misunderstanding and build a more empathetic world for everyone grappling with the invisible struggles of anxiety

August 06, 2023 — Stefanie Clifford

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