Most people feel anxiety at some point in their lives. For some of us though we are overwhelmed by it. We simply cannot handle life in any other manner. Anxiety is part of our very being and we may have learned to move through life accepting it as the norm.
I found this article today about what it was like living with anxiety and it's fairly generic so I thought I would apply a more personal touch to it and perhaps create an even greater understanding of the daily struggles those of us with anxiety issues face.
1. How annoying it is when people tell you to "stop worrying about it."
While I know they mean well telling me to “just stop worrying” is like telling a baby to stop crying. It doesn’t work. My brain does not shut off. It keeps going and if I tell myself not to worry it’s almost as if I worry more. I can try and ease it somewhat but if there is something major going on, a school project, a medical test, my daughter’s birthday party, my thesis due date… I simply just keep “worrying”… I realize that most people do not function in this manner and that my worrying nature may confuse other people but this is how I function.
2. "Maybe" is the worst word in the English language.
I cannot handle “maybe.” I need concrete plans. I need to know where I’m going, what time, where we’ll meet, what I need to bring, what I need to where. I need a GPS or printed out maps. I need addresses and place names. Once my husband was helping to plan a trip to Florida and he knew a guy who was a travel agent and could get us this great deal on a resort. That was awesome news to me except that it wasn’t until about 20 days before we were to leave that I knew the name of the resort, the rates, the eating packages, the distance to Disney and if we had reservations or not. The entire rest of the trip had been reserved, tickets bought, maps plotted, days taken off work and I still wasn’t sure if we had a place to stay for the Orlando part of the trip or what kind of reviews it received. It turned out that the place wasn’t that great so my planning nature works well in some instances.
3. How loosely people use the word "panic attack."
No, a panic attack is not simply freaking out. It's like when you're crying and you cannot breathe and everything will not be OK and it never has been OK and you feel like you're going to die. And when you’re standing in line at a grocery store and the aisles start to close in on you and people are jostling their way past… that is a panic attack, your heart feeling like it’s simply stopped, that is panic, that is hell.
4. Waking up in the middle of the night and not falling back asleep because your brain is a spinning wheel of anxiety.
This happens at least once every few weeks to me. And then I’m dog ass tired the next day and guess what, the next day is pretty much ruined because I am so tired. BUT--- in the midst of that middle night anxiety nothing makes it stop. You cannot go back to sleep. You cannot take a sleeping pill or even an antihistamine because then you’ll over sleep and really mess the next day up. BUT--- still sleep doesn’t come. This is horrid. And I doubt this will ever end, it has been going on for most of my adult life. Imagine doing all you do in a single day and then imagine doing it on one or two hours sleep…
5. You get anxiety about the tiniest things.
They don’t have the turkey your husband eats. He’s going to freak out because he works all night and just wants a turkey sandwich when he gets home but his turkey is out of stock… he won’t like the other turkey brands even though they are very similar… WHAT the F am I going to do?
6. If you ever have to cancel plans, you're afraid everyone will hate you.
I have HUGE anxiety over this. HUGE! But I do sometimes need to just chill out at home. Sometimes I need to just finish what I’m doing during the day and then rest at home that night. Sometimes I’m okay and I want to go out and meet people but of course that’s when they don’t ask. When they do ask is when I’m suffering from major anxiety attacks and I just can’t manage to be friendly and talkative at a family event or a bar with friends. I’m sorry, I really am. Don’t stop asking me to hang out. I won’t always say Yes, but I also won’t always say No.
7. You have anxious ticks you don't even notice.
I grind my teeth incessantly. Morning, noon and night. I catch myself doing it while I’m driving; actually I’m doing it right now. Why? I don’t know why, I just find myself doing it. And picking the skin around my nails. I don’t even realize I’m doing it sometimes. Yes, I know it may be weird to see me doing it but remember that I’m not like you, just turn your head the other way if it bothers you.
8. When too many people are trying to communicate with you at once, your brain feels like it's about to explode.
I completely shut down at this point. I do actually explode and I probably say things I shouldn’t. I may even yell “Shut Up,” it’s like a million televisions are on at top volume and you are standing right up close to them. It’s that overpowering.
9. On the flip side, when no one's texting you back, it's definitely because they all hate you.
Yeah… I can’t even explain this anxiety. Especially when it’s one of my sisters, my brother or my husband. I just sit in anxious doom, wondering what I did…why aren’t they responding? Never mind that they may in the bathroom, or at a movie, or shopping or who knows what but I’m sure it’s because they hate me. Same with email... if I don't get a reply within a day or two.
10. Those terrible anxiety stomachaches. And the heart that palpitates…it just skips a beat, then another, then I’m hyperventilating… it’s exhausting. And it happens whenever I enter a roomful of strangers, when I have to go to the cafeteria during busy times at school, when I go ANYWHERE that is crowded. Anxiety is extremely catastrophic on the body and my body likes to remind me that it hates anxiety but that the anxiety is not going away.
11. You freak out if there's no order in your life.
I try to find things that will “calm” me…
Talking to Grace, hearing her laugh, reading, writing this blog, list making, grocery shopping, computer games like Mahjong or Solitaire, watching my favorite television shows. It’s hard to manage life with anxiety. Explaining to others is even worse. It causes anxiety to explain anxiety but I do try to explain so that maybe people will understand me better and be more sympathetic when I do something or act in a manner that is not like others.