The doctors describe me as a patient with significant anxiety…but really, I feel like I’m just going a little crazy. It feels like people look at anxiety as a modern thing, something that’s new and can’t be easily understood. Some people describe it as putting a label on ‘being sensitive’, that ‘everything has a have a diagnosis these days’.
It’s not that simple. My mind makes me analyse everything about a situation and think the worst, it makes me question all the good things and get overwhelmed by the bad. It’s so much more than being sensitive, it’s reacting to any situation, big or small, and not knowing what the rational thing to do is. It’s feeling overwhelmed by physical symptoms, a tightness in my chest, gasping for air, my head beginning to hurt. Trying to calm myself until eventually it passes, leaving me in a state of confusion and fatigue.
When trying to explain to people why I don’t act like them in a situation, they ask why it’s so hard to rationalise it.
The way my brain works with anxiety is like my emotions and body are disconnected. I can know what the rational thought is, but I can’t change how I feel or how I will react in that situation.
Confrontation and negative social situations can be a big problem for me. I try to people-please and mediate arguments in my friendship group and house, and the atmosphere of the group can drastically change my mental state, so I try to keep everyone calm. It can be so overwhelming that I panic and hyperventilate – or isolate myself in fear.
This brings me to the dreaded house group chat. The house group chat is a great way to sort out bins and make sure parcels are collected; my experience is mainly passive aggressive clean-up threats with petty remarks. When this chat pops up, I feel like I have been punched in the chest as if something bad is going to happen. I will obsess over whether I should open it for a good 10 minutes before I do due to the obsessive need to know what is going on. It’s exhausting!
I often get asked, what is my anxiety trigger? When will I just get over it? Am I ok?
That last one confuses me, people will ask it again and again as if one day I’m going to wake up and be like “I’M CURED!”. It makes me laugh as I know they mean well, but how can I answer that? I could just say I’m fine, or that I will be fine – but I think people are asking so that I know that they are there for me. Which is good I guess, so many people don’t have people like I do, that can try and talk to them about things.
This is the beginning of my second time attempting university as a newly diagnosed, happy, anxiety-filled student…and I will try to explain my experience to others to change their ideas around anxiety.