Chronicles of anxiety: What it’s like

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It wakes you up. I mean….sometimes I can be sleeping so peacefully and I’m awoken in sheer terror. Of what you ask? Great question, I don’t know.

I think one of the most common questions people ask those who suffer with anxiety is “what are you worried about? What’s going on?“. I will answer this one right now for everyone….WE DON’T KNOW. I mean sure, sometimes you can pinpoint a trigger. But there’s other times when it is heightened that you have no clue why.

And that’s the worst. Not knowing what’s causing it, and not having an answer for those around you. Sure, they mean well, they want to help. After all, if they knew what is worrying you, they can just take care of it, right? But sometimes the worrying is the worrying part. I know that won’t make sense to someone who hasn’t experienced it…and I honestly have no other way to describe it.

“I’d be somewhere, lost inside a crevice, like Alice…trying desperately to figure it all out.”

This is what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder.  Everyone has anxiety to a point.  Worrying is a normal part of the human condition and is okay to do under the right circumstances.  When you have an anxiety disorder though, you worry in excess.  A slight headache? Must mean I have a deadly brain eating virus.  Husband hasn’t responded to my text in over an hour?  He’s either dead in a ditch somewhere or is clearly planning on leaving me.  Had a nightmare about someone dying?  Clearly it means I’m a psychopath who is going go clinically insane one day and need to be locked up and the key thrown awayYes, these are really things that go through your head in the midst of anxiety. Every thought, every bodily sensation sends the mind down a rabbit hole…panicking, afraid, and most of all wondering how to get out.  I know it’s irrational. I’m a very intelligent person.  As a matter of fact, while I’m in the middle of the thought I am very aware that my thoughts are irrational.  But it doesn’t change the fact that those thoughts still come and there’s not much I can do about them outside of tell myself the thought is irrational and find a healthy way to cope.

In the middle of panic- I feel like if I were to draw my brain out for you to try to explain what’s happening, it’d look something like Wonderland.  And I’d be somewhere, lost inside a crevice, like Alice…trying desperately to figure it all out. Sure, at the end of it all (my anxiety attack) I’m a stronger, more insightful person- I learn new ways to conquer the beast and become my own heroine.  But it doesn’t change the way it feels to be in the midst of it all.

I realize this post isn’t my typical self-help stuff…but I think it’s an important conversation we all need to have.  The conversation about mental health and that it’s okay to take care of your own mental health.  It’s one of those things…we all talk about it, but we don’t really “TALK” about it and I want to bring awareness about what it’s really like to struggle with mental health issues.  I want to bring awareness that, while we have come a long way in erasing the stigma against mental illness, we still have a long way to go.  I know how cliche this sounds but IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP!

Until next time,

Jenn

REACH OUT FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT

National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255

www.suicidelifelineprevention.org

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help

 

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