“Everyone feels anxious now and then. It’s a normal emotion. Many people feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders are different, though. It can cause such distress that it interferes with your ability to lead a normal life. For people who have one, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be disabling.”– WebMD
But what does that really mean? For anyone with anxiety disorder that general definition doesn’t explain why people do the things they do.
It doesn’t explain being in a moment of such panic, as ten scenarios play out in your mind all at once and you can’t make it stop. When all you want to do is crawl into a ball and cry and hope the situation fixes itself.
That definition doesn’t explain how an unanswered text can ruin your day or the guilt you feel when you send three more. It doesn’t explain this world you live in, inside your head as you automatically jump to a million conclusions.
That definition doesn’t explain lying in bed awake at night replaying an ending that absolutely crushed you. And you want to fix it. It doesn’t explain how you blame yourself for everything that has gone wrong even if it wasn’t your fault.
That general definition leaves out the part where you look at your reflection fixating upon every flaw, wondering what’s wrong with you.
It’s the hating yourself for overthinking and overanalyzing things as much as you do. That definition leaves out how much time you spend dwelling on something, rereading something and retyping. That definition doesn’t tell you how many times you’re going to say the words ‘I’m sorry.’
The definition doesn’t tell you how hard a relationship will be because even if you are dating a perfect person, anxiety is going to whisper in your ear ‘he’s cheating. He doesn’t like you. It’s going to end.’
Anxiety is being your own worst enemy.
Anxiety tries to ruin you and ruin relationships.
Anxiety turns you into someone who needs to fix everything, even though it’s a problem you created.
Anxiety is every worst case scenario coming to life in your mind.
What it should say is you’re going to try entirely too hard for everyone and everything in your life. You’re going to strive for perfection and beat yourself up every time you fail.
What it should say is there is no off button.
It should say your friends will get novel texts and have to hear every scenario you make up. It should say a lot of your friendship will be them listening and saying, ‘it’s okay.’
What that definition fails to address is always wanting and needing a plan and the moment it changes even a little you’re completely thrown off.
What that definition fails to explain is how you want to control everything because this small thing in your life is outside your control.
That definition doesn’t tell you how a night out will either result in you just leaving, not being able to explain to people why or a night you regret as you reach for hard alcohol to solve your problems.
Each scenario ends with numerous apologies and thinking you’ve lost friends.
That definition doesn’t tell you how hard sleeping will be. It doesn’t say you’re going to learn to function without it. You’ll cling to coffee and caffeine just to get you through a work day. When you think the day is over and you lay down, there are about twenty-five things you’ll become paranoid about as 3 am welcomes you.
That definition fails to tell you about every break-down you’ll have and how this thing controls you entirely. It doesn’t tell you how you’ll push people away the moment you need them most. It doesn’t tell you about those times you collapse into someone’s arms and they have to be your strength. It doesn’t tell you about the guilt you feel for being human.
But what that definition also fails to address are the good parts of anxiety.
It’s in the moments of danger where you completely catch on that something isn’t right and you act accordingly. It’s being hyper aware of everyone and everything, you notice a shift in someone and aren’t afraid to ask if they are okay.
That definition fails to leaves out how much you truly care about others. It doesn’t tell about the compassion and kind nature and the wanting only to be accepted, so you accept everyone else.
That definition fails to leave out the part about loyalty and the strong bonds that are created because you treat people incredibly well even if it is out of insecurity.
What that definition fails to address are the accomplishments because you’re driven so much by the fear of failure you have no choice but to succeed. But the most important thing that goes unsaid is how you love with everything you’ve got and at the end of the day, that’s what people remember about you.