16 Reasons My Anxiety Is Real

16 Reasons My Anxiety Is Real

It's not just overthinking about relationships or getting stressed over a test.

Society has this misconception about mental illnesses. The media thrives off of the panic attacks and the tragedy that comes along with it. People constantly throw the words around without clinical diagnoses. Because of this, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression among other mental illnesses are taken lightly. Everyone thrives off the pain that comes with being a basket case, but no one knows the quirky things that happen behind the scenes.

However, I know that my condition is real. My day to day occurrences include the same symptoms. Symptoms they do not talk about in the media.

1. Fast Walking

Since I went to college I have several people tell me on the daily that I am "like a gazelle" or that I am too speedy to keep up with. I have tried to control this, but then I realized it is something that I cannot change. My mind runs 100 mph, and so do my legs. I always have to be on the go and I cannot take a break, or a leisurely walk.

2. When I'm Walking I Can't Step On Cracks

Remember when we were kids and they said if you stepped on a crack you would break your momma's back? That was a fun game for most children, but as an adult, I still cannot step on cracks. The game had nothing to do with this; however, if I step on a sidewalk crack with my right foot, I have to do so with my left, or I feel very unbalanced.

3. Greet

If you know me, or I guess in simpler terms if I know you, I will probably make it known that we are acquaintances or friends. If I see you at the gym or in class, I will scream your name or wave every time to make sure you know that I am happy to see you. My anxiety constantly has me wondering if people recognize me or if they are okay with my presence. Often times, I used to feel like a nuisance to many people. Because of this, I like to make sure that no one feels like a bother.

4. Superstitions

Last semester, I did yoga at 6 a.m. almost every day. The days I did not go, I promise something bad happened every time on those days. So even on the days that I went to sleep at 2 a.m. because I was studying, I would still get up to go to yoga.

5. Don't Sleep

Sometimes I truly wonder how I function. I average approximately 4 hours of sleep a night. I am very busy, but sometimes that is not the problem. There have been times that I have stayed up for 46 hours and thought "Ah I finally get to go to bed," but when I lie down to sleep, my brain doesn't shut off. My thoughts are constantly running through my head and I can never take a break until eventually, my body cannot take it anymore.

6. Have to Eat All My Food

When I was younger I heard about a culture that said it was considered to be rude to the chef if the customer did not eat all of their food on their plate. Ever since then, I have eaten every bite of food on my plate. I cannot waste, even if I am full.

7. Sit In Certain Locations

If I am out at some location, I have to sit in a certain spot or I feel uneasy. I like to be facing the door or to be able to see as many people as possible. There have been times I went to meet my family at restaurants and they will have to switch me chairs so I can feel OK.

8. Use Certain Silverware

In my house, I have a certain set of silverware that I need to use. If I do not use mine, I feel as if the food tastes different. It is as if my meal is not complete.

9. Sit Up While Driving

Many of my friends point out the way I drive. I sit completely upright and I do not look relaxed at all. I feel fine, it is just that I have to be completely aware of everything going on. I cannot lay my back on my seat or slouch.

10. Need to be Alone

Although I am an extrovert, there are times I have to lock myself away with no human contact. Recently, when I was studying for finals, this wave came over me that I could not control. My friend Marisa quickly asked me what was wrong, because she noticed a change in my behavior as we sat there in the library. I completely shut down, and I could not stop my thoughts of being a failure. Eventually, I had to leave and go to my room alone. At my review session that night, I sat alone. I do not like for anyone to see me when I get this way, because I do not want their image of me to change and I do not want them to worry.

11. Phobia That My Loved Ones Will Die

My family and friends mean more to me than anything. I have always said that I hope that I die before my loved ones, not because I am selfless but because I am selfish- I cannot imagine my life without anyone that I care about. When I was little, I would call my mom five minutes after she left because I was so afraid that something had happened to her on her way to work. My first instinct is always to imagine the most tragic situation possible.

12. "I'm Sorry"

I will not do anything wrong, and I will still be the one to say I am sorry. I could be the one that is mad, but as soon as the other person gets upset at me, I quickly apologize for bringing the situation up in the first place. I am so afraid to lose the people in my life, that I am easily defined as a push over.

13. Indecisiveness

Yes, this is a common symptom in several lives. People don't know what they should or should not do, or they cannot pick which movie to go see. However, I get a cloud over me that I know shouldn't be there. One time I was in Hard Rock Cafe with my mom and sister. I recall being between two choices, and we had to keep sending the waitress away because I could not make up my mind. Finally, I decided on the salmon, but as she walked away I remember feeling a pit in my chest- Did I make the right choice? My family had to sit in silence, because they knew I was not okay and was about to have an anxiety attack. OVER FOOD. I know this is silly. I was sixteen years old, there is no right or wrong choice about what I should have chosen to eat that day. Often times, I won't know what I want to eat, I will drive to a fast food restaurant and leave before ordering because I cannot make up my mind.

14. Anxious Ticks

If I am about to have a panic attack I will most likely wiggle my jaw or flick my fingers. My body feels as though my blood is boiling and I cannot do anything to stop it.

15. Unknown Calls Put Me On Edge

If I do not know a number when I receive a call, I will not answer the phone. Seeing an unknown number triggers panic in me as the thoughts race through my head of who it could be and what they could want.

16. Panic Attacks

Last but not least, I do have panic attacks. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing that sets them off. There have been times I was taken to the emergency room, because I could not breathe and the world was spinning. At 15 years old, I refused to believe I should be treated for anxiety. However, now I am glad that I did, because my anxiety is real.

I do not just get stressed out or worried occasionally. My thoughts are constant my symptoms are ongoing. Ever since I can remember, I have lived with this mental illness. I cannot just "calm down" or stop stressing out.

Although these are just a few of my symptoms, every person's illness is different. Perhaps you can relate, perhaps you cannot. Regardless, mental illnesses are much more than the media portrays. Most people would not know that I have anxiety, unless I brought it to their attention. Never underestimate what someone is going through, be open-minded on situations you do not fully understand, and always be kind to one another. It may not fix all the problems in the world, but we have to start somewhere.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Forgiving Others Is Important, But Just As Important Is To Forgive Yourself

None of us are perfect, and that is what makes us human.
“Free yourself from your past mistakes, by forgiving yourself for what you’ve done or went through. Every day is another chance to start over.”

Forgiving others is important, but sometimes you need to forgive yourself too. None of us are perfect, and that is what makes us human.

We feel like we mess up friendships, relationships, opportunities, etc. Have you ever just been sitting and thinking and all of a sudden everything that's ever gone wrong comes back and haunts you? You sit there over analyzing every single detail until you're upset and depressed. It could have been something that happened years ago, but there you are, thinking about it and how you wish you had a do-over.

Don't beat yourself up.Take those as learning experiences and keep going. If I learned anything in my sociology class my freshman year of college, it was that "all emotional pain lasts twelve minutes. Anything after that is self-inflicted." Allow yourself time to learn and grow into the person you were meant to be and want to be.

Change doesn't happen overnight, so ride with the process, even if some bumps occur in the along the way.

"Forgive yourself first. Release the need to replay a negative situation over and over again in your mind. Don't become a hostage to your past by always reviewing and reliving your mistakes. Don't remind yourself of what should have, could have or would have been. Release it and let it go. Move on." Les Brown

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Should Living With Anxiety Be Referred To As A New Epidemic?

40 million adults deal with anxiety per year, and why are these numbers so high?

Have you ever noticed the amount of anxiety floating around in the world?

Personally, anxiety has taken hold of my life on more than one occasion, but I've noticed that even as I cope with my anxiety others are falling victim to it. It's human nature to get anxious before first days, important events, or when things just aren't going your way.

However, there's a growing number of young adults who experience anxiety in their day to day lives. So, what's the cause to this growing "anxiety epidemic?"

I often wonder what causes my anxiety, and how that relates to others. Of course, I'm no doctor, but as someone who struggles with anxiety I wonder what makes my anxiety run. What does it fuel from?

One moment I could be laughing up a storm, and the next I get this overwhelming feeling of dissociation. Things escalated quicker than a Kevin Hart movie, and not in a good way. My normal moments were bombarded with breakdowns, anxiety rashes, and the constant desire to cry, but why?

Is this generation focusing too much on the bad part of life? Are we easily bothered? Has entitlement and privilege weakened our mental strength? Or is the world really just that scary?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults, aged 18 and older, are affected by anxiety PER YEAR. The most common is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, although Social Anxiety is very common in young adults as well. Even still, no one is really sure why these statistics are so high?

What's it like living with anxiety?

Being a young adult with a mild case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder isn't easy. An overwhelming amount of school work, or the slightest change in my day could spur a day full of stress. You expect the, "Are you okay?", "Is this one of your days?", or "Are you sick?" questions.

You settle into the idea that your face will probably never clear up because all you do is worry and eat junk food, and as a girl you always wonder if your anxiety disorder will keep you from having kids.

Personally, I think every thing that goes wrong is my fault. If you ask to ask me a question before asking me the question, I'm liable to start worrying. Also, don't expect me to talk about what's wrong because often times talking about my worries makes me susceptible to a cry fest.

You learn to cry, and appreciate the three different types of tears used to help you heal. It's not odd to lose your appetite, or go a day or two without eating. The spontaneous idea of throwing up isn't crazy, and it no longer worries you because this has become your life. You hide behind your bedroom door and cry in private, or you act all fine in public. Relationships are hard, maintaining trust is hard, but even more surrendering to God is hard.

Anxiety makes you question everything you know. I know that my God has me in His hands. I know that He has planned my life, my obstacles, my words before I could have even fathomed the idea of them. I know when I cry He catches my tears, and holds my hand. Anxiety is not of Him, and falling victim to it is not what He wants. Our God wants us to live loved, and joyful. He wants us to run into His arms instead of the fears of the world.

Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition."

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to you a future and a hope."

Psalm 18:6 says, "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears."

These disorders tell us we are NOTHING. They tell us we are BROKEN, UNLOVABLE, INCAPABLE, MESS UPS.

This world tells us that we are UNSAFE. It tells us we are HELPLESS. STUCK. PERPETUALLY LOST.

But our God, He tells us we are loved. He tells us we are good. He shows us that we are worthy. He proves that we can be fixed. He reminds us that WE ARE NOT ALONE.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

Be still my friends. If you suffer from anxiety you are not alone. You are not broken, but you are loved. If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety please talk to someone. A therapist, a doctor, your family, but most importantly God. There are treatments and ways to a better life.

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31

Cover Image Credit: Kat Smith

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