This is me, Chasity. I look like your average person that has nothing going on and I look fine. I look like I have my life together, right? Wrong. I suffer from something that most people claim to be fake, or all in my head and it’s not- especially when many people suffer from it. We can’t all be making up the same ailment, right? So it isn’t all in our heads. We legitimately have something wrong and have to go about our day differently because some days it’s just hard. At this point you’re probably concerned with what I’m talking about, so here it is- I have anxiety.
Anxiety is defined in the dictionary as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety)
I’ve always struggled with anxiety but never realized what it was until a few months ago. In fact, I pegged it like everyone else. It was something just in my head, and if I ignored it long enough, it would just go away. I didn’t want to admit that something was wrong because I already face so many issues and I didn’t want something else on my plate. But deep down inside I knew what I was feeling wasn’t normal and that I couldn’t keep denying what was going on. I couldn’t keep suffering with the anxiety I felt every time I stepped out of my home, every time I was in a crowd, every time something changed in my life, etc. It all became overwhelming, and rather than let people in I shut them out. Basically I shut down.
What I mean by shutting down is that I hide from the world when I get in an anxiety funk. When I hit that anxiety brick wall that takes me down several notches and leaves me on the ground, I hide. I don’t like emotions, or dealing with them, I’d rather bottle them up and forget about them. And I wasn’t raised that way. I don’t like how it makes me feel to be sad, angry, anxious, etc. I wish I could just be happy all the time, but we don’t live in a fairytale where happiness grows on trees. And that’s just the way it is.
I think my anxiety plays a huge role in why I recoil and hide whenever my emotions are running rampant. And the most logical answer I can figure out is that I just don’t know how to state what I’m feeling or how to handle it. My body gets confused and the only thing it knows how to do is shut down. Kind of like when your computer freezes and it freaks out and reboots that’s what my body does. I physically reboot because of my anxiety. I freeze up and then eventually reboot. It takes me a few days after hitting the anxiety brick wall to get back to my normal self, which sucks, but sometimes you need to lie low and just figure it all out. Which is hard when you don’t know what caused you to hit the wall in the first place.
For me what triggered me to seek help was my anxiety causing my tics to be more frequent while at work. I would get nervous about what people thought if they saw me twitching thus making me more anxious and cause me to have more tics throughout the day. So I decided to tell my doctor what was going on. And I feel loads better after doing it, but not completely healed. I still have my moments where I hit that wall and feel like total crap- to be honest as I type this I’m there right now (which is why I’m typing this).
Other things that cause people to hit an anxiety brick wall is stress, and this is big for me. I’m a huge stressor. I allow everything to get under my skin. And right now there’s a lot happening. And my body just said, “Ok, I can’t take anymore it’s time for a reboot,” and I shut down.
Sometimes these shut downs come with tears. Sometimes they come with rage. Most of the time they come with me curled up in a ball in the dark just hiding trying to figure out what the heck I hit- or should I say what hit me. Because literally it feels like being ran over by a semi from time to time. And it sucks! Especially because people don’t see it as a real thing.
Anxiety is just as real as anything else, and it should be treated that way. If a person with anxiety says they don’t want to go out after making plans, it doesn’t mean they’re avoiding you, it means something caused their anxiety to flare up and they literally can’t leave. It means something restricted them from feeling like getting up and putting on pants because sometimes the smallest things like putting on clothes can be the hardest when an anxiety attack kicks in. Sometimes lying in bed is the only thing you can do because it’s the only thing you can do. It’s not because we’re lazy or don’t care. It’s because our bodies physically can’t do it. And we need you to understand that sometimes we just can’t. We want to, and we try, it’s just sometimes we really can’t no matter how hard we try.
In the end we don’t control when these awful attacks occur but we have to face them. And yes, those around us are left to suffer when they occur because they are left to deal with why we canceled, or didn’t do something. But know it isn’t because we didn’t care, or didn’t put in the effort. We tried, and all we want is acceptance for what you can’t see. Acceptance for the battle raging on in our heads as we go through our daily activities praying we won’t have a breakdown because of our anxiety. Praying we can make it out of the house and have a normal day. Praying that something doesn’t cause the anxiety to flare up and leave us shattered on the floor. Praying for those good days where everything goes right and we feel like a normal human being.
Instead of hurting one another with harsh words we need to build each other up. It will make things a lot better if we’re kinder to each other. Be nice, you never know what someone’s going through.
To learn more about Anxiety here are a few links to check out: