Maddie, December 13, 2017

a photo of the blogger, Maddie

The way I like to describe anxiety is that it is much like falling down the stairs. When you miss a step and your stomach drops for a second. That’s how anxiety feels: the only difference is it is constant, always there, tapping away at each part of me. It is sweaty palms, shaky fingertips and chronic headaches. It is the inability to breathe properly and stay calm. It is thinking "I shouldn't have said that" and "they are laughing at me".

Anxiety is not being able to hang out with friends as often as I should and feeling trapped in a crowded room. Anxiety is not making eye contact, not speaking up in class even though you know the answer. It is staying quiet in conversation because I don't want to feel judged. Anxiety is stumbling over your words and rehearsing everything I say before I say it. It is not wanting to be the first in line for something because everyone is behind you and can't keep them waiting. It is staying at home all day and missing out on fun things.

Anxiety is worrying about what I am missing when I’m too anxious to go out. It is having constant panic attacks and sensory overloads. That what anxiety is. Having a panic attack is a prolonged stream of this stress and worry. It is not a feeling of nervousness like you would get before a test or a big football game. It is a continuous loop of replaying situations in your head and working yourself up about them.

I often hear a lot of negative comments thrown around within certain places such as school, the workplace and the mass media. Things such as 'just get over it' or 'you don't look sick'. It is comments like this that can make those suffering from anxiety feel even worse. The same goes for any mental illness in fact.

Having anxiety makes you overthink everything. For most people, making a choice is easy. 'What am I going to wear today?', 'Shall I go to that party?'. Because of my anxiety, making a choice is a huge struggle. The worry sets in immediately, and I can't do anything about it. What's worse is that most of the time, I’m completely aware that my thoughts are irrational and that nothing bad is actually going to happen, but I can't do anything to stop it.

The anxiety is always there: it won't just go away because I want it to. When I had my first panic attack, I was told to 'go and walk it off'. If someone came to you with a broken leg, you most likely wouldn't tell them to do the same, so why is it any different? Having a mental illness is just as serious as having a physical one, and in some cases it can be a lot worse.

Anxiety is one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with and it is with me every minute of every day, but I’m not going to let it win. Instead of adding to the stigma surrounding mental health, we should educate people about what it is really like to have a mental illness. Stay fighting.

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.

Comments

Thank you Maddie

Thank you Maddie for sharing your experience of anxiety. I have lived with similar feelings for so many years, and you touched my heart with your description. The constant worry, overthinking everything, not wanting to be judged by anyone is constant battle. You sound such a kind sensitive person and so many people with anxiety have these lovely qualities. Thank you and good luck in the future, you may carry anxiety with you but with mindfulness and such a positive attitude you will be just fine.

Anxiety

I can totally relate to Maddie, I am having a really bad bout of Anxiety at the moment, I really wish more people understood this horrendous condition

Anxiety

I found this blog really helpful and 'Maddie' explained the condition absolutely perfectly. Cognitive behavioural therapy is offered by GP's and this teaches you to problem solve your anxiety however when your anxiety is constant this is difficult to do. I found this course quite helpful and would recommend going through your GP as you are not given a set amount of appointments so can really get to grips with the therapy.

I understand

I know what you mean.Its hard enough just to tell oneself it is just anxiety and another to just stop it. It's so hard. The blame seems to shift to the victim. It's like blaming someone for having cancer or a broken arm.

I have the same thing

Every single thing that she described, I have the same exact thing. I get shaky just by being in a car ride and I have to keep tapping my foot or moving my leg left to right because I’m afraid of having a panic attack. I’ve had this since I was 15 and I’m now about to turn 18 years old. I’ve tried antidepressants and they never seemed to help even when I was taking them for months every day. I think the reason I get scared and have anxiety is because I really hate the feeling of panic attacks and I’m afraid that I will have one. It literally feels like you’re falling in one of those dreams and your stomach drops and you feel like something really heavy is sitting on top of your chest. My anxiety gets so bad when I’m in a crowded room and I feel like everyone is staring at me even though they aren’t. I just don’t know what to do. I can’t imagine having this for the rest of my life.

Time to Change

Hi Brandon, thank you for your comment. I am sorry that things are so tough right now. Are you receiving any support at the moment? Take care, Jodie at Time to Change

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