Most days, you should push passed your anxiety. You should venture outside of your comfort zone. You should say screw you to your insecurities. You should take steps to move forward, even though it’s intimidating, even though you’re scared, even though you’re not sure whether you can handle the pressure. Most days, you shouldn’t let your anxiety win.
But asking you to do that every single day is unrealistic. When you suffer from anxiety, you’re already hard on yourself. You shouldn’t feel even worse about yourself on the days when you cannot manage to beat your anxiety. You shouldn’t kick yourself when you’re already down.
Everybody has bad days — and worse days. No matter how strong you are, when you have anxiety, there are going to be times when canceling plans is your only option. There are going to be mornings when you feel the need to call out of work to take a mental health day. There are going to be afternoons when you climb in bed right after dinner because you can’t imagine making it to ten o’clock.
You shouldn’t call yourself weak for succumbing to your anxiety because that’s not the case. You’re strong for making it through the day, even if you were only able to make it through the day by holing yourself away in your room and avoiding contact with everyone else. You still made it through the day. You still survived.
Unfortunately, when you suffer from anxiety, there are going to be days when you feel like you’re moving two steps forward and days when you feel like you’re moving two steps back. On the latter days, don’t be too hard on yourself about what you did and did not accomplish. Don’t feel too guilty about how unproductive you were. Don’t feel like a failure. Don’t feel like your progress is ruined.
Anxiety is unpredictable. You wake up, never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes, you can push passed the anxious feeling. Sometimes you can deal with the feeling with therapy. Sometimes, all you can do is wait for it to pass.
That means there are going to be some days when you’re able to push passed your anxiety and give a speech in front of an entire class — and other days when your anxiety is going to weigh you down until it’s impossible to send a text back to your best friend in the world.
Don’t be too hard on yourself during the days when your anxiety is extra intrusive. Having trouble answering the door for a stranger doesn’t make you weak. Needing a minute to calm down after making a phone call doesn’t make you weak. Spending an entire weekend in your pajamas doesn’t make you weak.
You’re strong, even though your anxiety might not make you feel that way. You’re strong, even though you don’t believe those words right now.
Remember, you’re allowed to let your anxiety win on certain days — as long as you don’t let it conquer you overall.