Anxiety Is The Suffering Beneath The Surface You’d Never Suspect

Joshua Earle
Joshua Earle

“I don’t think you understand how tough it is to explain what’s going on in my head when I don’t even understand it myself.”

Sometimes, I wish you could understand the madness that goes on inside my mind. I wish for sometime you could sit with me, and hear the running thoughts, hear the chaos, and hear the words. Then you’d understand how I operate and how I perceive life, but we both know that’s something unattainable. This letter to you is the closest vision I can give of the daily battle I have with myself, and I don’t expect you to understand.

I promise it’s okay if you don’t.

Anxiety is not something that’s just in my head, so stop telling me that it is. I am not being dramatic or overacting. It is something very raw and very real. It’s feeling everything and nothing at the same time. It’s practicing saying “here” when the professor calls your name. It’s desperately trying to stay afloat in the middle of an ocean as each wave takes you down. It’s trying to scream for help in a nightmare, but all that’s coming out is silence. It’s being trapped in your own body where nothing really makes sense.

High functioning anxiety looks like exactness and diligence. When it arises and shows its face you can see it. If you focus you’ll see it when I look at everything around you besides your eyes, I’ll bite my nails and my face will look like I put too much blush on, but just I’ll fake a smile and run my fingers through my hair. If you really pay attention you’ll see it in unanswered text messages, or when I bail last second. The sheer panic in my eyes when something shifts.

Or when anything shifts.

The thoughts will begin to surface and once the storm arrives it never calms.

I can’t do this. Why are they looking at me like that? Why can’t I get my shit together? Why am I so sad? I’m a bad friend. I’m a bad sister. I’m a bad daughter. He won’t like me. Calm down you’re embarrassing yourself. I’m not as tiny as her. I’m not as pretty as them. They will hate that idea. I’m not smart enough to do that. Nobody likes me. I’m such a mess. I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough.

After the voices scream in my head, I’ll start to feel it.

It feels like my heart is going to pound right out of my chest and then my mind will set my entire body on fire. Burning away at the emptiness that’s inside. It’s overthinking and overanalyzing every single little thing making it that much harder to know if I’m making the right decision or not. I feel like I’m constantly anxious, fidgety, and distracted. Like I can’t ever get it right.

You’d never guess the suffering that’s happening just beneath the surface. That’s what’s so scary about it, because I always appear amazingly calm.

I am constantly trying to channel the energy that burns inside of me. Anything to get it out of me, like running, lifting, jumping up and down, pacing, cleaning. I can never tire out the thoughts cemented in my head so I write I just write, if I get it all down on paper then its not longer connected to me. Right? These thoughts shouldn’t belong to me, it’s not fair, I just want it out. Maybe I deserve it.

I protect the demons with a smile.

I’ll walk into a party with a big smile on my face when minutes before I was sitting in my car, heart racing, rubbing my hands together, thinking of any excuse to bail. It’s unanswered text messages, because fear of the ending, fear of another soul failing at trying to understand me. I anticipate the ending before it even has a chance to begin.

Living with anxiety means waking up one day ready to take on the daily routine and the next day waking up feeling numb and wanting to hide from the world. It’s having to smile and laugh when all you want to do crumble into a ball and cry. It’s hearing something that triggers a memory that sends shockwaves through out your whole body and suddenly you find yourself trying to breathe before you go back to work.

I cannot control my anxiety, so don’t tell me I will be okay. Please don’t try to justify my emotions, because I already do that myself. I am learning every single day how to handle myself when the anxiety begins to sneak out. I do this by taking the time to validate every emotion that I have. Instead of it bringing me down, I transform it into inspiration, into a legacy, into being a mirror for the broken ones. I fight with the bully in my reflection to prove my existence in this world is important. I may not feel enough, but I know this letter was somewhat enough for you to have an insight what makes up my mind.

For you, I wish for you to learn about my anxiety and talk to me about it. I wish for you to be supportive, because I may not make sense sometimes. Lastly, I wish for you to be patient with me, because I’m trying. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Related

More From Thought Catalog