• Rachel Paige

Thank You for Everything

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for everything. I know reading this blog hasn’t been easy for you and I know you feel guilty in many ways. You have nothing to feel guilty for.

When I was in preschool and wouldn’t talk to the other kids, there was no reason for you to think anything was “wrong.” People would have thought you were nuts if you brought me to counseling and back in the early 2000s, no one would have diagnosed a five-year-old with social anxiety. You didn’t know. I didn’t know. Would things have been different if we had? Probably. Do I want them to be? Not one bit.

Yes, growing up with anxiety was hard and frustrating. But that experience made me the person I am today, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. You know what would have made it a whole lot worse? If I didn’t have both of you.

My fantastic parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for everything. Thank you for trying to be patient with me when I was so overwhelmed that I hid under furniture and refused to move. Thank you for not giving up on me when I threw tantrums about going out. Thank you for doing everything you could to make me feel safe in a world I was afraid of.

Thank you for pushing me outside my

comfort zone. Thank you for making me go to school, church, and play-dates. Thank you for making me order for myself at restaurants and talk to adults and everything else I didn’t want to do.

I understand this contradicts much of what I’ve said in past posts, but the rules are different for you two. I was a child. A child that needed to be able to function in the world. If you hadn’t pushed me like you did, I’d be so much worse off. Plus, and this part is key, you made sure I knew I could come to you. If something turned out to be too much, you’d be there, no matter the time.

My mom with her favorite donkey

Dear Mom,

Thank you for everything. Thank you for helping me even when I didn’t ask. Thank you for becoming a leader in my girl scout troop, because I wouldn’t have gone if you weren’t there. Thank you for telling me time and time again that the girls at school would be lucky to be my friend. Thank you for forcing me to be uncomfortable, but not pushing me so far that I’d break. Thank you for knowing where that balance was.

My dad being silly (as usual)

Dear Dad,

Thank you for everything. Thank you for not letting me tell you I was fine or nothing was wrong, even when I got mad at you for asking. Thank you for being as patient as you could with me when I refused to talk. Thank you for all the pep-talks. Thank you for the day you drove half an hour to my dorm just to take me to work, because I was freaking out and needed your help. Thank you for being a “three a.m.” parent.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for everything. Thank you for being willing to learn about my anxiety and do everything in your power to make it easier to live with.

Thank you for all the times you’ve said you love me, that you’re proud of me, and reminded me how strong I am. Thank you for helping me believe I can do more than I think, that I can survive anything for an hour, and that life can be taken one minute at a time.

Nothing on this blog is about what you “did wrong.” Nothing about my anxiety is your fault. Nothing could have prevented it. So many things could have made it worse. But Mom? Dad? You are not those things. You’ve done the very best you could in a situation you knew nothing about, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thank you for everything.



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