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A Monster Named Anxiety

My anxiety started early. I was eight years old when the foundation of my life shattered under my feet. Everything that I had ever known was methodically destroyed in a series of events too sad to tell here. These events led to a deep rooted fear of the uncertain. Unexpected upheaval was planted in my head and my heart like a small seed that grew so fast I was unable to control it. My anxiety started when I was eight, but it has been a monkey on my back every since.

Anyone with really bad anxiety understands that it is irrational. People can say not to worry about things but this is fruitless talking to someone with an anxiety or panic disorder. I happen to have both. I understand that from the outside, being around someone with anxiety disorders doesn't make sense. It seems that people want to rationalize a disease that can't be rationalized. If I were able to stop worrying or think through things like a "normal" person, I would not have been diagnosed with not one, but two anxiety disorders. People need to stop telling people with anxiety problems to just stop their disorder. It is a waste of time and makes the person feel as though their overwhelming anxiety is their own fault, when it's not. Finding ways to ground a person, helping them feel what they smell, taste, see or hear is a good way to help someone with anxiety. Practicing breathing techniques with someone who is panicking can help bring them back from that edge of panic. Simply reminding someone that they are safe can do wonders, I know it does for me, for someone with chronic anxiety. I remind myself every single day that I am safe and I am loved.

The way my brain works, before I started taking the right medications for anxiety, is absolutely terrifying. Like a retired veteran, I was impatiently waiting for the next catastrophe. I have broken down more times than I would like to discuss. I have literally been immobilized, embarrassingly paranoid, hands shakily abused by my anxiety. I have blocked out friendships and opportunities because of my anxiety. It has corrupted my sanity for far too long because it was bred in me from the beginning.

I have been told, by a very close loved one, that she couldn't wait for me to just get over all this (referring to the trauma in my past). If I were an adult going through the things I was put through I would have probably already moved on. But I was a child. This trauma, this fear of not knowing what was coming next, the constant fear of being confused, abandoned, and hurt was a part of my development as a human being. I developed emotional and physical milestones around this anxiety and trauma. I am literally rewiring what I have been built to believe. And trust me, it takes effort and time to relearn every part of your development.

My anxiety has not always had a negative impact on my life. It has driven me to try to become as successful as I can, to take on multiple things in life at a time, to be determined, to handle a major crisis with an unhealthy sense of calmness....but overall it has been a burden. The right medications, along with extensive and ever going therapies have helped me break out of the restraints of anxiety so I can be a much happier, healthier person. Not to say I still don't struggle with irrational fear, social anxiety, or overall general and forceful worry because I do. But I'm saying with the right team in my corner, I have been able to live without constant fear. If you live in fear, anxious misery, there is help. It's not easy to find, but keep searching for someone smart enough and compassionate enough to help you. I know it is so hard to live with anxiety and panic. It can literally take your breath away. But help is out there and you do not have to live this way any more.

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