Lately, I haven’t been feeling very well. It has impacted different aspects of my life. I have unfortunately had to acknowledge that I am, yet again, in the throes of a major depressive episode. My mood, energy, and motivation have all suffered from it. As I’ve mentioned before, it sucks. Depression is an all-encompassing disease. However, today I want to talk about something else with my mental illness. That’s living with anxiety. Anxiety can be more of a silent pain. Depression impacts different aspects of life and can leave more of a trail. Anxiety is a silent battle raging in my head against myself.
What’s it like living with anxiety? Some people think it is just someone who is nervous all the time, always biting on their fingernails. For some people, it may be. However, like every other chronic illness, there isn’t a one size fits all type. So, what is it like living with anxiety?
A lot of really stupid worries.
I worry over everything. And I don’t mean a concern in the back of my head. I mean it’s thoughts-to-the-forefront, all-consuming, obsession. It’ll be all I think about, and even when I’m not, it’s still lurking in the back of my head. My anxieties truly become obsessions. I mean, I can’t even choose an outfit sometimes. This might be where people scoff and think, well everyone has moments when they feel like they have nothing to wear! Except that’s not the issue. I analyze every aspect of my outfit. It truly becomes a mini-obsession, wondering how every aspect of it will be viewed and looking at views that really don’t matter. How I’ll look, how others will view it, when I wore it last, how it fits with the day, the temperature versus the temperature in the building versus leaving the gym versus if the weathermen are completely wrong and any other completely unnecessary scenario. It gets to a point where at least I can recognize that this is my anxiety leading me astray and that (a) no one cares about my outfit, (b) whatever I pick will be fine, and ( c ) that I need to take a step back and rethink the amount of effort I’m putting into it. It sounds crazy but once my thoughts start going, it’s hard to get the cart to stop. I will leave and wonder if I turned the light off, even though I know I did, and worry over and over again. I will create many ideas of of potential problems that have a miniscule likelihood of happening, ever. That’s one stupid example. My brain goes on all wheels just thinking about this scenario. What is living with anxiety?
It’s chest pain that won’t go away even when you *think* you’re relaxed.
It’s a constant feeling of a “drop” in your stomach, like you got caught doing something wrong.
It is being afraid to send a text message or email because you are sure that you are a bother.
It’s not speaking up because you feel you’ll sound dumb or no one wants to hear your opinion, anyways.
It’s callouses on my hands and fingers from fidgeting the skin so much.
It’s a constant fear of judgement, even when you – the real you, the part of you that isn’t riddled with anxiety – don’t actually care what others think. It is a contradictory of self.
It’s not saying what’s wrong because you can’t get the words out.
It is so, so desperately wanting to talk to someone but being so afraid to go to anyone.
It is being afraid to try and make plans.
It is being nervous for when you have plans and wanting to cancel them because of the “what if.” (I get anxiety even going to yoga classes, and I love yoga)
It is being afraid and having no idea why.
It is trying to find your real self through the clouded part of your mind.
It is trying to calm yourself down so no one sees your hysteria or worry.
It’s knowing the real you is still there, and you wonder if you’ll find her again.
It is wanting to relax and having not a goddamn clue how.
It is exhausting.
It is trying to push through the fear.
It is pushing through the fear to keeping living.
That’s anxiety, to me, at least. In a nutshell. And yes, I did have anxiety writing this, in part because I think I visited those negative emotions and they are the strongest. The other part is just because, well, I have anxiety. I’m looking to treat it better, but anxiety has been so hard for me to treat and so hard to figure something out. Eventually, I hope there’s a day where living through anxiety isn’t my primary concern of the day. Some people think I should just be able to stop thinking and worrying so much, but unfortunately my brain doesn’t work like that. It might not seem very serious but it impacts me daily. I know it’s hard for my friends and family to understand. It’s hard for me to understand too. I never thought “worrying” could manifest itself in such a way, physically and mentally, until the switch decided to flip in my brain. And I haven’t even talked about panic attacks. I just hope this gives a little bit more understanding.
Peace and Love,