Our generation throws around the word anxiety so much that it has become seen as normal.
I believe that everybody faces feeling anxious.
Everybody feels the pressure of impending tests and assignments, finances, family troubles, worries. These things are situational. We feel so comfortable saying “that gives me anxiety” that we forget that there are people who have an actual mental disorder which causes them to feel this way on a daily basis and at all times. By making anxiety the new normal, we belittle the fact that Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a serious thing and we make them feel as though the way they feel is normal. It is not normal.
I suffer from severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder. For a long time, I allowed myself to believe that it was normal. I allowed myself to believe that I was just being dramatic and I just didn’t know how to handle stress the way that others could. For a long time, I was frightened to say something because to say that I couldn’t handle my anxiety meant that I just wasn’t as capable as other people. I felt like I couldn’t ask for help because I was scared to be told that I was just too over-the-top, I just needed to stop worrying so much. I knew that it had to be more than that, but I couldn’t expect anybody to understand that because everybody has anxiety.
What does it feel like?
It feels as though there is a balloon in my chest at all times and it’s slowly leaking all of the air out, but the air is too thin to breathe anyway. When I am talking to people, I forget how to breathe when they’re speaking and by the time that it is my turn to talk, I’m so out of breath that I talk too fast. It feels like the balloon has completely deflated and will never revive. In rooms full of people I do not know, my vision gets blurry and it feels like I might faint. Nowhere feels safe, my hands constantly shake, it feels like the entire world is watching me and waiting for me to fail.
It feels like there is never any way out. The world is always ending. Nothing ever feels like it is going right and even when it is, I look for every possible way it could go wrong and usually incite it myself.
It takes every ounce of strength to get out of bed in the morning and face people. It takes everything in me to feign confidence when all that I want is to run away. I get so uncomfortable in my own skin that I end up in chills as though my body wants to escape my skin. The anxiety keeps me from sleeping and the lack of sleeping causes anxiety. When people are talking around me, I can’t hear anything that people are saying so I just nod as I feel my eyes water for no particular reason other than the fact that I feel completely overwhelmed by the bodies in the room. I get anxiety from my anxiety and the fact that I feel that my anxiety is causing other people anxiety or causing people to distance themselves from me. My anxiety causes me to overthink every situation and instance and convince myself of the worst possible scenario so that I feel no joy even when it does not happen because I have made it so real in my head that it has happened, every single time.
To feel that way 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year is exhausting and completely erodes a person especially when those things that they feel are being belittled. It is not normal to feel that way.
I’m sharing this because I want people to know that there is a way out and it can get better. I haven’t quite figured out how yet, but I think we can figure it out together.