Anxiety is feeling like your lungs have shrunk to tiny grains of sand and that the air around you has suddenly grown hot and humid. Anxiety is feeling like your throat is closing up, as if Hercules is putting his hands around your tiny esophagus.
Anxiety is not an attempt to gain attention from strangers who watch as you gasp for air.
Anxiety is feeling like you have just run a marathon, except you haven’t left your bed in two days and don’t have the strength within you to get up at all. It’s feeling like your bones weigh a ton, and your head is pulling you further and further down.
Anxiety is not a silly excuse we make to get out of work or class.
Anxiety is feeling like your brain is clogged up in fears and thoughts that make you frozen in terror. It’s asking people over and over again for support and for recognition that you aren’t going crazy.
Anxiety is not just putting on a show for people to take pity on you.
Anxiety feels like a lump in your throat that never goes away because you’re so tired. Tired of feeling like this and tired of not getting better. It’s feeling like your best will never be good enough. It’s feeling like your future has no hope.
Anxiety is not just you being lazy or having a poor work ethic.
Anxiety feels like working your hardest and going and going until you don’t have any choice at all, but to come to a screeching halt. It’s feeling tingles running up and down your hands and your legs as you think about your future. It’s feeling like a fire is burning in your heart as soon as people ask you what your five year plan is. It’s feeling like a failure. All the time.
Anxiety isn’t just a time of ‘stress’ for you.
Anxiety feels like you are on a constant search for answers to all your questions. It’s question marks being jumbled up in your mind, never ever having a chance to take a break from the demons that haunt you.
Anxiety isn’t just something to ‘get over’.
Anxiety feels like a sea of worry that drowns you as soon as you dip your head into it. It’s googling your symptoms at 2 am, and thinking you are going to die. It’s thinking you have cancer when you only have a headache. It’s never answering unknown numbers in fear of who is on the other line. It’s tossing and turning for hours on end, never being able to soothe your own mind. It’s biting at the fragile skin on your fingers, needing to find a way to distract yourself from your own misery. It’s panic attacks on sunny days, and feeling uncomfortable at your own graduation day or birthday party.
Anxiety is not being immature, or being a drama queen.
Anxiety is an illness. Not a mindset. Not just a worry we have to check off of our to-do list. It’s not a choice. We can’t just switch it off. Like a broken bone, or a cancerous blood cell, anxiety is something we cannot help.