HealthMental Health

What Most People Don’t Understand About Anxiety

Anxiety, according to the dictionary, is a state of apprehension and unease of mind caused by fear. As Wikipedia says, “it is characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil.”

Most people will ask the question, “Why?”

“Why do you have these fears?”

“What are you so afraid of?”

This is what some of my friends would say: “You have no reason to be anxious. You are healthy, you have a job, and you have your family and friends.”

I wish it was that easy to reinstate those words into my brain. Sometimes, saying you’re okay is easier than explaining all the reasons why you are not okay.

As an introvert with a mild form of anxiety, it is difficult to explain or put it into exact words. Because yes, they might say it’s a phase of introversion where you are afraid of social interaction, rejection and uncomfortable situation, and due to this, you are anxious. But it is not that simple.

An extroverted individual can have anxiety too. It is a mental problem. It is not curable overnight by doing yoga, repeating mantras, reading self-help books, or having a psychological intervention. It is an everyday struggle. Whatever you are feeling, it is valid.

There are days when I don’t feel anxious at all and I am able to be a functional and productive human being. But there are definitely days when the feeling of dread just incapacitates me from doing anything at all. Even you ask yourself, “Why? What is wrong?” You convince your brain over and over that you are okay and there is nothing going wrong in your life, but it just won’t cooperate. You feel overwhelmed with everything around you, and just the thought of any conversation with strangers gets you to the brink of a meltdown.

Trust me when I say that people with anxiety have already tried to find the reason why they are the way they are. They have an overactive brain and they overthink a lot.

One second I was thinking of getting an ice cream, and then a second later I was wondering if after 12 years and the debilitating effects of climate change becomes irreversible, the apocalypse will surely come next.

Physical symptoms are the worst. Panic attacks, palpitations, tightening of your chest, hyperventilation, blurring of vision, feeling sick, headaches, dry mouth, feelings of choking, etc.

The psychological symptoms are hard to manage too. It is the feeling that people are observing how anxious you are, and you feel detached from your surroundings and the people there. It is the feeling that you want to run and escape from a situation. It is the feeling that you are hyperaware of the people around you, and you always feel like you’re on edge. You are in an endless pit of impending doom.

Hear me out, my dear anxious friends.

Anxiety is not the enemy. It is normal to feel anxious. It is our body’s natural response to unknown territories that may potentially harm us. But we need to understand how severe our anxieties are. It is okay to take time out to renew our energy and breathe. You owe yourself the love you freely give to others.

Anxiety should not enslave us. We need to challenge these unhelpful thoughts of self-doubt, judgment, and expecting the worst in every situation. Let’s reduce avoiding the situations that make us anxious. We need to break out of this cage and live our lives, discovering our full potentials.

You are not alone in this journey. Don’t feel bad if there are days when you can’t fight it. Bad days are not reliable measurement of progress. Give yourself that chance to grow and experience this beautiful life you have. You got this! TC mark

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ICU nurse, book nerd, theatre geek, random doodler, music lover Follow Kimberley Anne on Instagram or read more articles from Kimberley Anne on Thought Catalog.