Dear Cousin

This post is for my cousin (the rest of my dear friends can read it if they want).

Dear Cousin,

I’m sorry that you’re having a rough time. It’s hard to feel alone and afraid. I wish I could tell you that I had a magic wand to zap all the sorrows away in your life. Believe me, if I had one of those wands I’d use it on myself and then I’d share it with you. I don’t have a magic wand and I don’t fully understand what you are going through today. I don’t, because I’m not you. I do understand my feelings though. In the spirit of wishing for a magic wand, I’m going to be honest with you and hopefully the openness will help you feel a little less alone.


I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember.  It’s always in the background like a big cyclops ready to attack. I’ve named it Sally. Sally is rather annoying and has caused more stomach aches and insomnia than I wish to admit. I’ve done counseling, medication, yoga, exercise, fresh air, various vitamins, scripture reading, trying to make a deal with God that I’ll be really righteous if he just makes me normal, prayers, 12-step groups for people with anxiety issues, several rounds of 40 days of meditation exercises every morning, given up certain foods and a bunch of other stuff. And guess what? Sally is still there. Sally is like the annoying neighbor. She might stop pestering me for a while, but she still knows where I live. Her annoyance is lessened by all the good things I do, but Sally is still there. I know she is and she waits until I’ve had a bad day to come out and tease me. That’s what is so hard about the stuff that goes on in heads. You can lessen the effects but in some ways it’s still there, because it’s part of you. You live. You breathe. You fall flat on your face. You conqueror and sometimes the success is the gold medal and sometimes the success is that you are here breathing through the mess.  I don’t know if this makes any sense to you, dear cousin. I guess what I’m trying to say is this. You aren’t alone. You’ve got friends and family who love and care about you. Friends who have struggled themselves and want to help you.  Keep trying. Keep going. If you have a day that you’re in bed, it’s okay. Tomorrow will be better and it’s a new day. The world is a good place, because you’re in it with us. Call me if you need to chat.




“The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best”. – Henry van Dyke