How Anxiety Has Helped Me Improve

Can anxiety, or any other illness, really be a blessing in disguise?

It can’t happen overnight, but choosing to see your own mental illness as something positive for you is really some great perspective to have. It’s a great mindset to be in when you are trying to conquer your mental illness enough that you can live a “normal” life.

I want to share with you some things I’ve improved on in my life, which I thank my anxiety for. That way, maybe you can look inside of yourself and see that while mental illness doesn’t define you, it helps shape you, and that’s not a bad thing!

I’m Empathetic

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You may notice that people you know with mental illness have this admirable ability to make others around them happy, and they often go above and beyond to help others. Often times, it’s hard to understand how these people could have a mental illness.

Many people with mental illness are also empaths. An empaths feels others’ emotions, pain (sometimes physical pain too), and they have an ability to understand a multitude of thoughts and experiences on a deep level. Empaths know how unpleasant pain and grief and loss and suffering is, so they will do everything in their power to help others not feel that way. A great example of this was Robin Williams.

My mental illness makes me an empath, which can be a blessing to people around me. I can connect with people at their core to not only crate meaningful friendships, but help people cope and learn and grow.

I Stand Up For Myself

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I’ve been what you call a pushover a lot of my life. I don’t like disappointing people so I would often keep my mouth shut when something bothered me.

The issue with this as my anxiety became worse is I cannot get over something that bothers me. Therefore, I’ve learned to speak my mind and stand up for myself and others which is always a great quality.

However, I have enough insight to pick my battles, and I don’t hold grudges.

I Create Deep Bonds With People

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Having heightened emotions and thoughts has helped me come so much more in tune with myself, which helps me connect with others so much more profoundly.

I’m very open about my experience and that helps me bond with people in a less superficial way. I’ve made some incredible friends in the past few years through this kind of bonding, and many of my existing friendships only became stronger.

I Can Make People Laugh

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Because I like to bring joy to others, I’m much more open with my humour which I use as a coping mechanism.

Being able to laugh about the things that are associated with mental illness helps them feel a little less intense.

I’ve Learned To Know Myself And Love Myself

I do definitely contribute much of my happiness and healing to others. However, I’ve fallen back in love with myself and have let myself be inspired by my own strength and perseverence.

I truly believe there is a unique and intense power in people with mental illness possess. We are fighters, we are survivors. We live with some really real shit and have to fight for our own sense of normalcy. Simple things that people take for granted mean so much more to us – like leaving the house, having friends, maintaining employment, going to parties; things like that. While unfortunately we know that not everyone is able to fight and survive, those of you that are here and are doing it – find your worth in the fact that you are here reading this, and love yourself for that. You are surviving like a damn superhero and you can continue to do that because you have already done it.

How do YOU find ways to appreciate and love yourself? Are you working on it?

Let me know.

Your friend,


Published by Alicia Gallant

I'm a 20-something girl living with severe anxiety and panic on a journey to love myself. I'm becoming a part of the conversation about mental health through honesty and humour. *Photo: Stefanie Moreau Photography

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