I was told to write about anxiety and how you feel can make you feel better, so what better way to do this than to blog it. Apparently, so says on the grape vine, that to find out that someone else is suffering the way you are it makes you feel better. Which kind of sucks really, I mean, if someone else is suffering like I am then I’m so sorry. Do you need a hug? Are you okay? Can I get you a blanket and some movies?
It’s not a well known fact but anxiety sucks! You know what I hate?! My biggest pet peeve is the fact that people turn around and make anxiety out to be where you’re a little nervous to do something and that you can overcome it by being pushed into doing it more. Like what?! Um no.
You know the best response I’ve had to when I say I sometimes can’t handle the panic attacks…”Well can’t you just tell yourself to stop panicking?” Oh yeah, like that totally helps! Like why don’t you go tell that woman with depression over there to tell herself to stop being ‘sad’. Wow! Depression and anxiety cured! It’s truly a miracle. Not.
Google professionally describes Anxiety as:
“a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”
Okay great. I mean, it tells us that we feel worried, we get nervous, we get uneasy and it’s the unknown which freaks us out. But here’s the thing, anxiety can be crippling and anxiety attacks? Pfftt, they’re so breaking you can’t even get up afterwards.
I have anxiety, I’ve had it for years, I didn’t realise. I just thought that I was being paranoid or it was just the stress of exams and getting into uni. Yeah, it turns out having at least three panic attacks a week is not normal and that this constant feeling inside of me is really not normal. I mean that’s pretty tame too.
You see, here’s the thing, anxiety is what Google defines it but it’s so much more. Anxiety is waking up in the middle of the night, your heart racing, your breathing getting faster and faster and your chest getting so tight you’re not even sure if you are going to pass out.
Anxiety is feeling that crushing tightening inside your chest, where it feels like someone is grabbing you right inside and tightening their fist. It’s so tight that you struggle to breath, you can’t focus on what’s happening around you and the finale, the panic attacks start.
All the while you’re worrying that people might notice, you can’t have people look at you, attention is the worst thing that can ever happen. Attention means people are going to see you fall apart; they’re going to see you crumble in utter panic.
Anxiety isn’t just worry, it’s the crippling fear that you’re going to mess up, that even the simplest of tasks are going to go wrong and then you make an utter fool of yourself. It’s being constantly paranoid that you’re annoying someone, that you’re doing everything wrong and then apologising constantly because it feels perfectly justified.
Side Note: don’t ever tell someone with anxiety to “just stop apologising already”, it makes it so much worse. That harsh tone just makes it worse because, oh god, I’ve actually annoyed them. I’ve ruined this friendship right here, they’re going to want me out, they’re not going to want me around. I. Have. To. Get. Out. Of. Here.
Anxiety is that ugly, convulsing, snotty, uncontrollable crying. The never-ending flow of tears. Where they consume you, they tumble down your face as you sit there feeling numb and useless. Yet, you can sit there crying and there could be no reason, you just. need. to. cry. The crying is because sometimes you just can’t handle this entire mixture of feelings inside of you, that it’s crippling you. The crying is because you just don’t know what you’ve done wrong, that slight change in tone from that friend is because I’ve done something. That slight annoyance in that person’s actions/words is because I did something. That thing that was completely out of my control but went horribly wrong is because I messed it up. Those people laughing across the way are laughing at me, there’s something wrong with my appearance, there’s something on my face, they’re laughing at me.
Anxiety isn’t just a little bit of worry that you can fix easily, it’s not the slight uneasiness in a situation. It’s the what if’s. What if…I could have fixed that friendship that I broke. What if…I didn’t trip over in that lecture and knocked that girls bag. What if…I hadn’t said that. What if…What if…What if… It’s never-ending, it’s crippling, it forces you to look in the past and analyse every single thing that you did in all of those bad moments.
You see, we look for things to distract us from the panic, we look for things to distract us from the crippling pressure on our chest, we look for something to distract us from the What Ifs, we look for things to distract us from over-analysing every single bit of the day.
Don’t get angry at us, be patient. We’re trying. But sometimes we can’t fight it, some days we can’t just shrug it aside, sometimes things aren’t enough to distract us and we need a break, we need an escape.
I have days where I’m numb. I’m in my room and I just can’t handle people that day because the emotions are killing me, trying to understand people’s emotions, they’re actions, gaging whether I should say this or whether I should do this or whether I should sit beside that person or whether I should stay standing up for the next two hours. I have days where I just have to put a movie on, one I most likely won’t watch because I just don’t notice. I have days where I can’t get out of bed, I’m so exhausted from trying to handle this, so exhausted from the crying the night before that I just can’t do today. No matter how much I try, I can’t miss that lecture, I can’t miss those original plans, I can’t miss that tv show, I can’t miss…I can’t miss…I’m stuck. I’m physically stuck in this bed because I’m so mentally and emotionally drained, I. Can’t. Move.
Side Note: DON’T EVER CALL SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS LAZY!!
We are not lazy, we are not deliberately lying here on the bed unable to move, stuck because we’re exhausted.
It’s a feeling of being trapped. We’re trapped.
There are days where they are good, I feel on top of the world and that I can conquer anything. By night time I can feel absolutely crap and it’s all because I started to think back over the day and I over-analyse everything that’s happened and that one slight change of attitude and bam! I’ve done something wrong and that person is hurt because of me. It’s probably not true, there’s probably nothing wrong but to me? Well to me it feels like I’ve messed everything up and I don’t know how to figure it out and fix it.
Anxiety is exhausting, it can take everything out of you. It can ruin an entire day, it can ruin an entire week because of one simple thing that can trigger it.
Some people know what triggers their anxiety and panic attacks, others don’t even know where to start. For me? I’ve got no idea, but I’m learning slowly. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to make it all better all of a sudden, I’m going to have to learn to live with this and learn how to cope with it. Anxiety isn’t just some curable disease which, after taking a few tablets, is completely fine and miraculously gone.
It’s not that easy and anxiety isn’t simple. We’ve just got to learn about it and talk about it.
Knowledge is the key to both helping yourself and others who have it too.
Message me if you need to talk