What It’s Like Having Anxiety

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30

Anxiety is difficult to explain. I don’t remember a time I didn’t feel anxious. Even before it was confirmed last year that I really truly have anxiety, I knew that something wasn’t right. My friends never seem to have nearly the amount of worry and stress over small things like I do. Being late somewhere, getting a cold, or telling a little white lie doesn’t send them into a panic. I on the other hand assume a cold will turn into Ebola and if things don’t go according to schedule, I my heart rate increases and my brain starts zooming with unnecessary worry. As far as lying goes, one time I “stole” a single pistachio from the grocery store when I was seven and it took me a month of feeling so guilty that I couldn’t eat until I finally admitted to my mom my terrible deed. Then I made her drive me to the store so I could apologize to the manager about it.

The worst part about it is that I can’t control it. Not at all. Of course there is therapy, pills, and brain exercises to help people manage it, but there isn’t a true “cure”. Random strangers most likely don’t even notice I have it, it’s not like I walk around with a sign announcing I am an unnecessarily anxious human being. It’s a silent issue of mine, but it is difficult. I have to live with anxiety for the rest of my life, it is a part of who I am. I am hoping with describing my experience, other people will feel less alone in their struggle with anxiety or be able to understand better those who have it.

~ Anxiety feels like you are always fighting a second self for control ~

You are constantly in a battle between yourself and your anxiety to see who is going to be in control of your life that day.

~ You wake up in the morning wondering what your anxiety will ruin that day ~

There is this fear that comes when you wake up and you wonder at what point of the day will you anxiety show up to ruin everything.

~ Anxiety is a skilled liar ~

It’s hard to win a battle against anxiety because the worst thing about it is that it stems from your own mind, making the fears and doubts it presents almost seem logical and true even when deep down you know they aren’t.

~ You always wonder if it’s you making decisions for yourself or your anxiety calling the shots ~

When you make a big decision, a little part of your mind wonders if it’s really what you want or if your anxiety secretly dictated the outcome right under your nose.

~ Therapy sessions are hair appointments, lunch with mom, or an oil change when people ask what your doing ~

In movies, the only people who go to therapy are the psychos or characters with “issues”, and you know that’s the first thing people will think when you tell them you see a shrink.

~ Anxiety makes you feel depressed ~

When you have something as heavy and consistently overwhelming as anxiety, it’s hard sometimes to keep an upbeat attitude and power through it. For a lot of people anxiety and depression go hand in hand.

~ Sleep becomes a precious form of escape ~

When anxiety becomes too much and you just can’t find a way to get yourself to calm down, going to sleep at night is the best part of your day.

~ You’ve stopped trying to explain it to people because they don’t always understand~

Your friends think it’s funny sometimes when you get really anxious and upset about something totally silly because they just don’t understand that you can’t always control how you’re feeling. Also, when you try to explain to them how it feels to have an anxiety disorder, they try to relate it that one time they were really worried about a test during finals week last semester so you just quit trying and nod your head instead.

~ Everyone hates you. Or at least you think they do ~

When you have anxiety, you feel like you are always on edge with trying to never say the wrong thing that will piss someone off. If you are two minutes late to work you assume that now everyone thinks you are lazy, when your friend forgot to call you about lunch plans you concluded that she must be mad at you for something, and when the lady in the lane next to you flipped you off for no reason you dwelled on it for the rest of the day. Anxiety causes you to be hypersensitive to what people think of you because it tells your brain that everyone is always watching you and judging you and critiquing you when they really aren’t.

Anxiety is miserable. It sucks. But It isn’t easy to deal with any form of mental disorder or handicap, physical handicap, or piece of yourself that you feel the need to hide. The important thing though is to realize that you are not alone with whatever you are going through. These are my personal feelings towards anxiety, but there are hundreds of different ways people deal with and relate to this disorder as well as thousands of other disorders themselves. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, learning disorders, as well as all of the other possible things that someone could be challenged with are not things you are facing alone. Your friends, families, classmates, and coworkers may be facing something you know nothing about. Never forget that there is always help when you need it and to always be the help someone else may need. Everyone in this world could use someone to tell them that they are loved and not alone, it might be you who needs that person and it can definitely be you who is that person for someone else.

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