Living with Anxiety
Sanchia Marshall

As I stand in front of my freshly painted oil painting, admiring its beauty and waiting for it to dry, I can't help but reflect on my journey with anxiety and art. For years, I avoided oil painting, believing it to be too slow, messy, and frustrating. But when I finally took a class and gave it a try, I fell in love with the medium. It's a reminder to me that we should never say never and always be open to new possibilities.

Living with anxiety is not easy, and it can prevent us from doing many things we would like to do. However, it's important not to use it as an excuse to avoid life altogether. Instead, we must learn how to manage it and live with it, and not let it control our lives.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety for most of my life, I know first-hand how challenging it can be to step out of your comfort zone and face the world. Creative pursuits, like art, have been a source of comfort and a way for me to connect with others. When someone connects with my work emotionally, it feels like a homecoming.

While anxiety has prevented me from doing some things, it has also led me to discover beautiful things that I might not have found otherwise. However, I have also experienced burnout and depression because I tried to push through it without fully understanding how to manage it. It's important to learn about it, understand it, and seek help from professionals when needed.

I used to attract needy and narcissistic people, who drained me of my energy and left me feeling inadequate. It took me a long time to realise that it wasn't my fault, and that I needed to take a step back for my own well-being. It's challenging for me to be social, and it takes a lot of courage and energy to put myself out there. Sometimes, I need to take time to rest and prioritise self-preservation.

Despite the challenges, my art has flourished, as it provides a space for me to decompress and express my innermost self. In sharing my journey, I hope to raise awareness about anxiety and help others who may be struggling with similar experiences. We don't need others to over-cater to our issues, but we can advocate for ourselves, meet our needs, and pursue our desires. We don't need to feel alone, and it's okay to take things at our own pace.