When you feel a cold coming, what do you do? Wrap up warm, drink lots of fluids, maybe a hot water and lemon. Get plenty of rest, eat good food.
Are you 100% prepared for the fact that the cold is coming? Yes. Do you already have ideas for things that may help get you through that cold? Yes. Does it still make you feel drowsy and snotty and not in best health? Yes.
So you were aware the cold was coming, you did a load of things to try and prevent it from coming, you did even more things to try and make it bearable, and yet you still had a cold, and felt the symptoms, and felt under the weather.
When you feel anxiety coming on, you often try and work out where it’s come from. You might talk about it, perhaps write about it, and analyse the Why’s and work on How you’re going to get through this. Deep breaths. Remind yourself you are in control of your body. Remind yourself you know what the root of the problem is, and work it through in your mind.
Oh look at that. Your chest is pounding. Your muscles are shaking. You feel hot. You feel shaky. You feel agitated. You are willing your body to calm, and it’s now causing you physical pain.
You were aware it was coming, you did a load of things to try and prevent it from coming, you did even more things to try and make it bearable, and yet you still have anxiety, physical symptoms, and you feel terrible.
Go back to the cold scenario. Imagine that despite all of the physical symptoms of you’re having, people say that you’re imagining it. That it’s a ‘fad’. That you’re overthinking things. That you take things too personally. That you’re dramatic. That you’re just causing problems for other people.
That is life with anxiety.
Not being able to speak without feeling like maybe what you said was wrong. Or did I offend someone? Should I have used a different word? Maybe I sounded too emotional. I reckon that because I was shaking, they think I’m just playing a victim. I got too flustered, I didn’t make the important point clear.
The above is not from anxiety itself. It’s what you become when you live with it for a long time, and are surrounded by those who don’t understand it. You second guess everything because society has told you all your life, that you take things wrong, you take things to heart, you make up situations that aren’t there.
The truth is – you’re more acute to situations, behaviour, vibrations in a room. It’s not that you imagined it, it’s that you felt it where others didn’t. Maybe things affect you more than others. The moment people start blaming your anxiety for the real feelings you’re having – move away from those people. They are not helping.
The sad thing is, you feel alone. You don’t really know where to turn, or what to do.
You’re exhausted, and sometimes, when the pain is really bad, and you just can’t live like this anymore, you wish that maybe you just won’t wake up in the morning.
That is life with anxiety.
“Mental illness is like fighting a war where the enemy’s strategy is to convince you that the war isn’t actually happening.”