I cannot remember a day in the recent past that I did not feel anxious and stressed out. I am aware that people have stressful jobs and big responsibilities to take care of—I don’t have that. Yet with my not-so-stressful job and my lack of familial responsibilities, I could not help but feel constantly worried about the smallest things.
For years, I thought it was my type A personality that contributed to this over-organized and a bit too OCD tendencies. I checked if I locked my door three times and double and triple checked if I had my wallet, phone, and keys. I thought I was being careful, but I also had to make sure the volume on the television was always even numbers.
I thought it was good to be organized because I paid all my bills on time, I cleaned often, and I always had my to-do lists. I was proud of that trait till it started to affect my quality of life and relationships with other people.
I wonder if I am genetically prone to stress and anxiety or if it is something I learned along the way by being the overachiever who always tried to always do well in school. I believed good grades in school would promise me a successful life. And let me tell you, it is not true. It took me a long time to learn that my self-worth did not come from professional success.
I had always had anxious tendencies, but I did not think that it would turn into full-blown panic attacks. Something small would trigger me and I would suddenly feel like I was burning up from the inside. My heart would start racing—not like what happens after you work out, but when you literally feel like your heart will burst inside of you and that you will die.
This is my life with anxiety. This is my everyday story. This is how it feels to live with anxiety.
People close to me are always telling me how to be less anxious. They are only trying to help because they think if I make the effort, anxiety will not be a problem anymore. I do not know how to tell them that I know all the ways and I have tried it all, though probably not for long enough.
Here is another truth about living with anxiety: When you try any method to not feel anxious anymore and it does not work, it makes you feel like a failure. You become frustrated because all the people who care about you are trying to help you, but nothing is working. It irritates you because you would do anything to feel that peace that you have heard so much about but are unsure if you ever will.
It is not the end of the world. There are worse things out there, but when your mind is your biggest enemy, it is hard to run away from it. It follows you everywhere. You ask your brain to leave you alone, but it continues to silently traumatize you with the daunting thoughts.
I was not born anxious; anxiety is something that happened to me over the years. It is a combination of incidents and events that made me who I am. It is probably what I trained my mind to do to protect me. I remember the time when I was a hopeful optimist full of dreams, but life happened. Anxiety used to be just a word, but now it is a part of my existence.
When I lash out or walk away, people see a difficult person, but I am so overwhelmed by my inability to handle life’s minor issues that it is too hard to explain why. I do not expect most people to understand, because it is a lot and it takes a toll on you.
I struggle with anxiety every day. People think I am an attention seeker, but I am scared of the unknown. I am mostly scared of all the bad things.
Life with anxiety makes you restless, unable to relax, and leaves you mostly on edge. Little things get to you because you are already responsible for way too much happening in your head.
You don’t understand how people can just turn the switch off and enjoy being in the moment. And you hate that you cannot be like those people who can just watch TV and sleep.
A friend of mine suggested that I talk to myself the way I would a loved one who is going through a hard time. There are many ways to deal with anxiety—different methods work for different people. Just remember that you are not alone in this. It is nice to talk to someone else who experiences anxiety like you, but there is a fine line between that helping you find a way or making your life messier.
The awful truth is that there is no quick fix, but I have heard there is a lasting change when you find what works for you. You need to constantly show up for yourself, even if no one else does.
You did not get anxiety overnight, so it will be a gradual process of letting go. The first step is to try, and I wish I could tell what direction my first step should be. You have to test out different methods, and it sucks to try and fail.
I am at a point in my life that finding the root of my anxiety is not my priority, I want this feeling gone, and I am willing to do whatever it takes. I do not want to hold on to my past to sort out my present issues for a better future. I need to let go.
I just started yoga and acupuncture. I will try anything. I should have addressed my anxiety sooner. I shouldn’t have let it get to this point.
I thought it was fine to be so anxious because there are so many people out there like me. It’s not fine when you act like a crazy person, because as an adult, you have to take responsibility for your actions. I have to move past making excuses.
People who do not feel the same anxiety as you will never understand what it feels like to be anxious. All they can do is try to be supportive, and most people will probably distance themselves from you, because no one wants the frequency and chaos of the mess. It is extremely overwhelming to the outsider.
With anxiety in your life, it is inevitable that you will walk away from people and many people will walk out of your life. But the ones who truly love you will not give up on you, no matter how bad it gets.
If I had to explain what it feels like to have anxiety and ask for help, I’d say this: It is like asking someone to save you from drowning when they do not see you underwater.