Anxiety is a quiet struggle that I and so many people deal with internally everyday. You don’t see it or hear it so it’s hard for you to understand.
It’s a tiny little battle that is going on inside my brain each and every day. Describing it as a battle seems the most appropriate and the most illustrative way to explain it to others.
It’s like a battle in that there are two sides, each fighting for what they believe. One is rational and one is not.
The problem though?
I’m stuck in the middle and I don’t know who to believe or what side to be on. It’s very hard to tell who is the good guy.
Have you ever done something that made you nervous and it gave you butterflies in your stomach? It made you nervous and shaky? Like your intestines had bundled up into a slip knot?
I am going to assume you said yes. Maybe you are nervous to fly on an airplane, or you were doing something exciting like bungee jumping or riding a roller coaster. You felt nervous and unsure and worried about that what if’s… What if the rope breaks or the seatbelt comes loose?
We’ve all been there.
But people with anxiety get that knot-in-the-stomach feeling throughout the day, everyday. I get that feeling many times when I leave to go to the grocery store, when I go on a date with my husband, when I leave my children for basically any reason, when my mind races to all the things that could go wrong, when I go to bed at night…
And you’d never have any idea. The only way you may be clued in if you know me well, is that you may see me breathe differently as I’m taking deep breaths trying to calm myself down. Or if I can’t reel it in, it boils out of control and it results in a panic attack. That you would definitely notice.
Here is why it’s a battle: I can’t tell if this alert inside my body that says, “if you drive that car you’re probably going to crash it” is a ridiculous notion my ill brain is planting or if it’s some sort of warning I should listen to. People like to think they listen to their intuition but what if you had nothing but negative intuition every single day?
So I have to make the choice to battle back and do the things that my body is telling me is a bad idea. If I didn’t, I’d probably never leave the house.
And I know that some people really can’t – there is severe mental illness that is sad and scary that I’ll hopefully never experience. It’s mental illness that makes me want to hug my anxiety, look it in the eyes and say thank you so much for being here, I am happy to carry you around with me.
People need to understand that anxiety isn’t just a little nerves. It is so much worse than that. Anxiety is a battle we are fighting so hard against even though you can never see our wounds.