By Brandi Rice

I go to bed each night and awake each morning, much of the same way. Let me sleep anxiety. Let me wake anxiety. My anxiety is an imaginary friend, whose company I have grown accustomed to. He follows me ever where I go, he weighs me down, and he tires me out, but he also motivates me, he makes me productive, and he strengthens me. I used to view my anxiety in a very negative way, and anxiety combined with negativity is a recipe for melancholy.

Mr. Anxiety doesn’t ever take a vacation, but I can often communicate and reason with him to allow me to live my life. When I get anxious, I have two options: be depressed and stressed or be motivated and productive. I often have a friendly discussion with my dear friend, and instead of being two opposing forces, we decide to work together to catalyze positivity and not fuel the panic fire.

“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.” – T.S. Eliot

I’ve jokingly been called an “anxiety junkie.” I thrive on anxiety… most of the time. I am human, and therefore I am susceptible to strong emotions and feelings of discontentment. If given the choice, anxiety would rather knock you down than lend you a hand of support. I’ve felt the desperation, the hopelessness, and the anguish, but I’ve also felt the drive, the determination, and the incitement to move forward. My complex friend, anxiety, is capable of all of these things.

Just like every situation in life, when you suffer from anxiety, you have a choice. I know how easy it is to let depression, negativity, and hopelessness lead you, but I also know the power behind taking advantage of anxiety’s unconventional friendship. We don’t choose anxiety’s company, but we do choose whether it’s our friend or our enemy. I still struggle in my relationship with anxiety, its personality is often too aggressive and abrasive for me, but practice makes perfect. I plan to continue conversing and keeping an open dialogue with anxiety until the dark struggles are no more than a faraway memory.

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