I’ve come to realize that a lot of people don’t understand anxiety. They don’t really understand what it is or the people who deal with it on a daily basis. About 40 million people in the United States (18%) suffer from anxiety.

People with anxiety:

  • Often feel out of control of their health and life
  • Experience higher levels of overall stress
  • Often struggle with low self-esteem
  • Feel nervous in many social situations
  • Have difficulty managing pressure
  • Have higher expectations of themselves and others
  • Feel returned love is performance-based
  • Often have unhealthy boundaries
  • Are often workaholics
  • Are more often sick
  • Often have unhealthy relationships
  • Visit the doctor more often
  • Tax the medical system (with frequent trips to their doctor or emergency rooms)
  • Are more likely to take medications
  • Are more likely to have other health problems
  • Are overall more unhappy
  • Experience erratic emotional behaviors
  • Often quick to get angry
  • Regularly feel unsettled
  • Regularly feel overwhelmed
  • Feel disconnected or detached from reality and life
  • Often feel they are just on the edge of losing control
  • Often aren’t reliable (because their symptoms may prevent them from following through)
  • Become inward focused and dwell on their health condition and personal problems
  • May jump from relationship to relationship in search of perfection
  • May jump from job to job because of higher levels of stress
  • Live a restricted lifestyle (within their self-imposed “safe zones”)
  • Feel life is passing them by
  • Question their faith and God’s presence in their lives
  • Feel at a distance from God

For more on anxiety, visit here. It’s got a pretty good lot of information.

Recently I have had to really try and open up about it to my boyfriend. It began to get between us and cause unnecessary problems that he couldn’t understand. Small and unimportant things to him, yet big and detrimental to me. To avoid my problem with confutation, I left a paper that i had written exactly what was going on in my mind. Basically a paper of jumbled nonsense. But never the less, my mind at work. I think it really opened his eyes to how I really feel and the never ending process going on in my mind. I feel 14 from the above list on almost a daily basis plus many things not listed. Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions? So, here is a  little note from my anxious mind to a conventional one.

I have Anxiety.

I fear situations that aren’t happening and may never happen. I stay up late at night just listening to sounds to make sure I don’t sleep through a tornado siren or an intruder. I stay up mapping out a plan of execution in the case of every possible situation. I may even get up a couple times a  night to make sure the doors are still locked and the everyone is still breathing.

When I don’t hear back from people in a “reasonable” amount of time I assume they’re dead. Andrew can contest to that. It drives him crazy. When I was little living with my parents, I always assumed the worse if my mom took too long at the store. I always fear that anyone who drives my kids is going to get into an accident and I’m not going to know because no one would know who’s kids they are. What if I never found them?

In crowds or large places I fear being lost or hurt. I start sweating and feel dizzy. My throat may begin to feel like its closing. Breathing becomes difficult. I’ve called a friend crying because I was scared i’d never find my car in a Wal-mart parking lot. I’ve nearly passed out in a mall, unable to find the store I entered. Family will warn me of the large amount of people that will be at certain events before I walk in. At events with a lot of people Andrew will tightly hold onto my hand or pull me close to remind me I’m not alone. Because I fear being alone, yet being around people at the same time. I fear places like Chuck E Cheese because I fear I’ll lose my child or someone will take him. At theme parks such as Stone Mountain I fear of massacres. Especially after all the racist bullshit everyone wants to fight about and shootings. I’m afraid to go on walks with the kids because if something happened to me, what would happen to them?

At work I have a manager who thinks I can’t handle my job because when we get crowed or busy I get a blank look on my face and walk at a fast pace, ignoring co-workers. What he doesn’t see is what I see. which is a lot of strangers. Ones that might be crazy and decide to shoot the store up. I start sweating, heart starts pounding, to avoid a freak out or over thinking a nonexistent problem I can only focus on the people I’m responsible for making happy.

After dark I absolutely hate making any stops. The walk from and to my car is the worse. Anything could happen and who would help me? Who would know? Someone could easily stuff me in their trunk.

Anyone who knocks at the door unannounced is assumed to be a danger. One time I almost tased a man delivering flowers to me…

If I have to call someone other than a friend or family member I may call and hang up several times before actually speaking. I get too nervous. They may think I’m stupid.

In a restaurant walking from my table to the restroom is a struggle. I have to really need to pee to make that walk. There are too many people to bump into. Or they might be looking at me. What if they’re laughing at ME?

I cry when disagreeing with authority. I like patterns and predictability. I enjoy sitting in silence with someone. It’s being alone without actually being alone.

Clutter stresses me out. Stress stresses me out. I over analyze everything. I don’t trust people because everyone will lie and hurt me at some point. I don’t like talking about my problems because they sound dumb and people wont understand them. Won’t understand me.

Anxiety is living in dark even though your life is full of light. It’s feeling alone, yet being surrounded by friends. It’s being loved, but feeling like a burden. Anxiety is having so much hope, but feeling hopeless with the inability to control your own mind and thoughts.

This is just a short insight into my daily life. As crazy as it all sounds, this is Anxiety. I know I have some friends who experience it as well. To loved ones of someone with anxiety, all i can say is continue to love them even if they reject it. Remind them of their beauty and worth even when they refuse it. Try to understand them, be patient. Never belittle their problems when they do open up!

Thank you Andrew, Mom, Hannah, Lennon, and Courtney for loving me when i’m unlovable!

What is your anxiety story?  

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