What’s it like to live with anxiety?
Waking up in the morning and wondering if this is the morning that I will physically not be able to make myself get out of bed. A million thoughts run through my brain before I even move and then continue throughout the day.
“Do I need my job that bad?”
“What if I have an attack at work today?”
“If I break down, will anybody understand?”
“What do people think about me?”
“People are constantly judging me.”
“No one understands what I’m dealing with. They think I’m lazy, weird, that I don’t care.”
“I don’t have any friends anymore. Nobody would want to be around me anyway.”
“I want today to be a good day but what if I get my hopes up and it is a really bad day?”
“I am such a burden to my family, friends, and coworkers.”
“I am such a mess. I don’t want to be though! How did I get this way??”
“What if someone asks me a question that I can’t answer?”
“What do people think of me when I stutter?”
“What if a customer yells at me again and I actually lose it this time and start crying?”
My mind never slows down. At night when I just want to sleep because I’m exhausted from fighting through another day, my mind is plagued by a constant stream of anxious thoughts. When or if I finally fall asleep, I wake up extremely early and the battle starts all over again.
Most days it takes every ounce of energy that I can muster to even get out of bed and make myself take a shower and put some clothes on. I don’t even bother to do my makeup anymore. But then I stress that people judge me for wearing no makeup.
Going to the grocery store to shop, but only at a time of day when there aren’t likely to be many people. Avoiding any aisle that already has somebody in it. Self checkout is my go-to because I don’t want to talk to the cashier. She is probably judging me and what I’m buying anyway.
A lot of the time I don’t even know why I am anxious. But I won’t be able to breath and start hyperventilating. I feel like I can’t take a deep enough breath to get the air that my lungs are craving. An overwhelming feeling of needing to cry comes over me but then I may not have to energy to. When it’s really bad, I start trembling, my hands and legs shake and I find it difficult to stand. I want to run and just get out, away. My mind will feel separated from my body and I will feel like I am floating. Everything around me will feel like a dream that I’m in the midst of. I just want to be held, but if you touch me, I may shrink back. I long for physical affection, even in the smallest ways: a big hug, squeezing my shoulder, rubbing my back, playing with my hair, poke me (gently) for all I care! I just want to know that someone is there. That they care about me and love me. To know and feel that I am not alone.
My jacket is something I have to have with me even if it is too hot to wear it. When I am inside I wear my jacket unless it steaming hot. It gives me a feeling of security I guess. I feel open and vulnerable if I don’t have it on. If I am not doing something with my hands, I am hugging myself. People tell me it looks weird, but that also gives me security. It helps to calm myself down little bit. Folding my arms does not cut it, I’ve tried.
This is what I deal with day after day, it rarely goes away. I try to be normal, act normal, and look normal. I don’t know why I’m sharing this, except maybe I’m hoping that someone will understand. Maybe someone else who feels like I do will find this and it will help them to know that they are not the only one either.