Here is a post I wrote a couple of years ago. I occasionally look back to give myself strength. It is very metaphorical but it helps me understand.
My anxiety - The scar that unravels.
My anxiety is like a wound in my heart. It is the result of my parents divorce: the shock; the secrets; the change completely altered my life. At the time I felt I was OK, but slowly a couple of months later a wound began to show on my heart.
At first, I didn't know what it was. I felt very alone and frightened, I didn't want to tell anyone. The wound bled every day internally, until eventually I couldn't hide it anymore and I told someone. Like with any wound I went to the doctors and I was given a bandage. It took a year for the wound to heal; the bandage kept falling off until eventually I added some cotton wool, which formed a soft layer between the wound and heart and stopped the bleeding. The comfy cotton wool was soon forgotten, the wound was still there but it bleed a lot less.
Years later, more hardships occurred and a small pain where the wound was began to appear. After a year, the wound had re-opened only a lot deeper this time. After a year of awful stress: being hit; feeling vulnerable; pressured at every turn and exposed the cotton wool fell off and the wound bled and bled.
It was harder to control this time.
Waiting for help was the worst bit.
Trying to control the wound consumed me. I felt I lost sight of my family, my friends, my house and my security.
I bled internally everyday. I was undiagnosed and afraid; I lost my dignity. The bleeding on the inside began to show on the outside. I grew pale, stopped eating, I became very thin, I suffer bad side-effects and eventually lost all my independence and was in too much worry to even walk to the bathroom.
Finally, I was referred to someone who could help. Stepping out from under the dark shadow I had been consumed with, I released I had spent so long alone with the wound, studying it and thinking about it, that I had actually become a master at managing it.
I had bottled it all up, and talking to someone who had a similar wound made me feel so much better. I sat and let my wound bleed out, until it finally stopped and then I took a needle and thread and applied a stitch across the wound, it was time to sew it back together. I was only 18.
Over a year the wound was slowly sewed up and a couple of years later, thanks to a counsellor from mind, a lady helped me remove these stitches, which had began to ache.
There was no wound anymore, just a faint scar.
My scar is now on my heart forever and I have to learn to live with it. I am now 23 and a teacher. I live with the scar everyday.
Occasionally if it is picked at it stings and bleeds a little but it reminds me that I can fight anything.
I consider it my badge of honor.
Pain is hard to forget but I remember I fought a dark world and I survived. I can do anything.
Every time the wound bleeds a little, which it does occasionally it heals up quicker.
And I say to myself - don't worry you are still healing.