Anxiety, Her Closest Companion

Dear Anxiety, her closest companion,

You have known her much longer than she has known you. 

You wreaked havoc on a small child’s mind. You snuck into her life, but you didn’t ask permission. Your presence demanded her attention.

You taught her to fear, taunted her with worries and teased her with the promise of safety. But you never provided it, you never delivered. You distorted, you misguided, and - you never left. 

You woke her in the middle of the night, made her scared and increased her terror. You provoked, poked and prodded. 

You were like slaying dragons in the night. 

Often you won, but sometimes just barely, leaving the little girl breathless because she fought so hard. Her own victory was rare, but when it happened, you shrunk and for a brief moment, she could taste peace. 

As she grew older, you stayed by her side. You were there as she matured, as her body changed, and as she learned about the world. 

You continued to taunt, to mock, and continued to provoke fear. You made her doubt. You made her panic. You told her that if she gave into fear she would feel peace. But you never delivered. You lied, and you twisted. Her mind was your playground. You had fun on her playground.  You distorted and manipulated. 

But slowly she became strong.

You were like a friend that was so bad she confused you as good.  She was scared to let you go. She couldn’t fathom life without you. You were safe. But not because you were good, she just couldn’t imagine battling you and winning. She would rather have you than lose to you. She didn’t know your power over her could be lifted. It was safer to stay with her closest companion than to fight battles against you.

She went to high school. You followed. You made her brain hurt. You choked her with fear. You paralyzed. Often she felt desperate. You constantly distorted truth.

She learned your name. 


Her closest companion and her greatest enemy. She thought she could get rid of you now that she knew your name.  She called you by name and told you to leave. You wouldn’t. You were relentless. 

You twisted truth, often leaving her reaching at anything resembling truth. She sought after things that promised comfort. She grasped for air, for truth, for moments of tranquility. But to no avail, you continued to mock and provoke. You still won. 

Her closest companion was her closest enemy, and oddly her greatest strength. But not because she enjoyed you, she actually despises you. 

But you taught her to be strong. You made her be strong.

She met another companion. 

As a child, she experienced glimpses of this friend. This companion had also known her longer than she had known it existed. In her pursuit of peace she met this friend. 

She met Truth.

She tasted freedom and she longed for more.

The fog of anxiety was lifted long enough to know that peace was possible. For her whole life, anxiety had distorted reality, but when she met this new companion, truth, she could begin to see clearly.

So she persisted in her pursuit for truth and discovered reason. She learned that anxiety distorts and is never the representation of reality.

Anxiety distorts, but Truth sets free. 

She paused at the freedom her new companion offered. Truth transcended her. It was known to her and yet unknown at the same time. She longed for more. She sought truth out. She desired its presence. 

Truth awoke in her a longing for the eternal and it gave her glimpses.

She savored those glimpses. Truth met her where she was at and wanted to take her further. Anxiety wanted to hold her mind hostage. Truth took her beyond herself. 

She began to taste peace. And slowly, she was set free. 

She’s an adult now. Her companions are still by her side: Anxiety and Truth. 

Sometimes her old companion still wins and sometimes she lets anxiety win. Some days she doesn’t have enough strength to fight. At times, she is weak. 

But truth is always fighting for her mind, and truth is stronger. Truth brings her beyond herself. Beyond the distortions and the manipulations that anxiety creates. 

Anxiety was never a friend. It only sought her destruction. 

But Truth is her friend.

Truth helps her see, lets her taste peace, and fights for her when she is too weak. 

Truth follows through with its promises.

It never seeks to destroy, but only to restore.

Now that she knows truth, she knows she is strong. Truth helps her be strong. Truth gives her a taste of the eternal and promises her a future of freedom. 

She fights with truth, and only with truth does anxiety shrivel and become powerless under her.

Michelle Nietzke is originally from the south but has meandered way up to the northern tundra (aka Saint Paul, Minnesota) where she lives and works for an amazing parish in the Archdiocese. She loves good humor, fall weather, black olives, tea, studying theology, bodies of water, Chick-fil-a, bookstores, and great company. She loves sharing her faith with others and considers it an honor that she is able to participate in the Church’s mission of making the name of Jesus Christ known and loved. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleNeitzke