To those who don’t suffer or go through Anxiety or any form of Mental Illness and Mental Health Conditions issues such as Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks and any of their symptoms our episodes can be perceived as bad trips, overreactions or come across as some completely “dramatic” situation.
There’s a lot of stigma around mental health, and honestly it fucking sucks. Most of us carry the weight of the guilt and shame that comes with our mental health and episodes. Yes, sometimes we are being paranoid and tend to overreact to seemingly innocuous things. Yes, we’re aware that some of our fears are irrational, but guess what? We can’t switch it off. Sadly, it truly doesn’t work that way.
Our whole body and mind are reacting to an invisible but very real threat. To a fear. To The Monster that lives in our head hidden in the darkest corner that decides to come out and play at the most inappropriate times.
Sometimes, on our good days we are able to distract The Monster — for a while, with exercises, social interaction (whatever that looks to us), movies, video games, meditation, walks in nature, breathing exercises and even a few half assed attempts at a yoga routine we cannot handle, but they just work like a Band-Aid. It’s like throwing a tennis ball to this eight feet invisible Monster that no one but you can see, your own night terror that lives in your waking world and has his own long to-do list of ways of wrecking your days and ultimately, if possible, your life.
You will distract him a bit until it learns how the ball works and the way it bounces, you’ll distract your Monster until it becomes adept at catching the ball, but like most new toys it will get boring after a while and as soon as The Monster hacks this new game the hostile takeover will soon take place, again.
It’s an endless tug-of-war inside yourself and sometimes The Monster wins. It drowns you with your own voice and it suffocates you. It strips you off your peace and sanity. It’s a hard battle to win and getting back up again will probably be one of the most difficult things you’ve had to do after a particularly bad episode.
But some days YOU win.
Just because others can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. You are not your anxiety, but your anxiety is a big part of you. Every day you fight it, every day you get up is a win and every small victory counts.