Everyone is scared of something. Everyone experiences anxiety in some way or form. And yet having anxiety is different. Chronic anxiety is debilitating, and can leave you a mass of nerves, too terrified and nervous to even so much as leave your bed. The misconception of anxiety is that it’s just fear, something that everyone feels.
I’m not sure how, but social anxiety has become “cool” and “common” today. When being anti-social became some kind of adorkable, quirky norm in society, suddenly people “related” to me. They said they understood. But until you’ve had that moment of distinct panic where the world starts spinning and you can’t breathe, do you really?
When you have anxiety, you’re not scared of the outside world, but often, you’re scared of getting sick in it and dealing with your anxiety in public. I’m not anti-social because I’m scared of people, I’m scared of people judging me and seeing me at one of the lowest points in my life. You can’t wrap your mind around severe anxiety unless you’ve been through it. I wish people would take it more seriously. But explaining something you feel is hard. How do you capture the real essence of what’s going through your mind and body?
Feeling an attack is one of the strangest sensations I’ve ever felt. You literally feel like your body is going to simultaneously collapse and explode. I experience weakness, stomach sickness, dizziness, tremors, breathing difficulty, heart palpitations, and fear that it can and most likely will get worse. My attacks come randomly, usually with no trigger. What’s bad about my anxiety is the fact that seizures, breathing problems, and heart problems have started to coincide with them, adding a level of fear you couldn’t imagine.
Anxiety has stopped me from taking a dream job, because it involved flying around the world. Anxiety stops me from dating or trying a relationship. Anxiety stopped me from living some of my dreams. Anxiety kept me inside my house for almost five months of my life. Anxiety made me stop cheerleading, touring, school, and my social life.
Anxiety gave me the courage to fight. Anxiety let me appreciate my good moments a million times more. Anxiety has given be a better understanding of others. Anxiety made me realize it’s amazing what you can hide just by putting on a smile.
I’m now trying to go back to my normal life. It’s an adjustment I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I’m not comfortable going someone over an hour away from my house yet, which is a problem with my job. But still, I’m trying.
Still, even though my anxiety disorder is very real, and not just misplaced fear, I won’t let it define who I am.