Anxious about Anxiety
I know several people deal with the monster called anxiety. It's normal to feel a little anxious sometimes, maybe before a job interview or meeting your significant other's parents for the first time. But chronic anxiety is a different being altogether. It is an irrational and debilitating sickness. I have panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and have dealt with it for the majority of my life.
My anxiety started very early. With the mixture of genetics and the environment I grew up in it was the perfect storm to perpetuate an anxiety disorder. When you have chronic anxiety, the easiest things become impossible. Some people misunderstand what the word chronic means. Sporadic anxiety is every once and a while. Chronic anxiety is constant. Imagine being more than on edge constantly. Imagine being terrified of everything to the point it is hard to breathe, constantly. For a long time I thought these feelings were just my "normal", whatever that was. I didn't realize that I didn't have to feel that way all the time.
My anxiety had robbed me from happiness for many years. It stopped me from connecting with friends, from doing new things, taking care of problems, and many other things. Fortunately my anxiety is under control now, but it was not easy getting here. In the past, I have sat next to my bed, crying and finding it hard to breathe because I couldn't find the right outfit to go out somewhere. It wasn't about just not being happy with my clothes, it was a tidal wave of fear. It was thoughts that didn't even make sense. It was an intense feeling of frustration. There have been times in my past where by the time I got ready to go out I was so exhausted it was hard to get in the car. Lets not even talk about the anxiety and fear about going somewhere. Social anxiety used to cripple me growing up.
Social anxiety can be so overwhelming. I used to feel like I would rather pull out my own teeth before going out in public. I was so paranoid that I would get physically sick. I'm talking throwing up in parking lots anxious. When I started college I was absolutely uncomfortable one thousand percent of the time. I had such a hard time feeling relaxed and comfortable. These feelings were my gateway to addiction, I just wanted to feel calm. I felt everyone was watching me, I was on hyper alert twenty four seven. I looked at the ground when I walked to class and tried not to talk to people at all. Team projects were awful. I couldn't connect with people because my anxiety made it too hard. My hands would shake and it felt like my brain would just overheat with thoughts. Who knows what kind of different experience I would have had if my anxiety had been under control.
If you have really bad, chronic anxiety there is treatment available. Take the time and effort to find relief, not unhealthy mechanisms, but healthy ways to treat it. I have had panic attacks that totally took me over, took me to the ground, sped up my heartbeat to the point I thought I was going to die, listen when I tell you, life does not have to be this way. This is not something you have to try and accept. Trust me, life is so much better with proper treatment.