I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety. This is probably due to the fact that I had one bad experience with a therapist and since have not felt so inclined to go back for more. (Some might say that feel anxious about the matter). However, I know that my reactions to certain stimuli are a little...much. I remember not always feeling this way.
I remember being a child on the first day of school. With the exception of kindergarten, I never cried or felt like I was going to throw up before the big day. In fact, I felt rejuvenated by the promise of a new year. I'm not quite sure what I expected, but I just felt like it was always an opportunity to be a cooler me. A more stylish me. A funnier me. A me that I could be proud of. Now, I get anxious thinking about going to work every Sunday night.
There is a stigma surrounding anxiety that makes it difficult to actually treat properly. Most people react to anxiety with an eye roll or a swift “get over it”. Anxiety doesn't get the sympathy and limelight that depression gets.
Depression is mysterious and almost the cool kid of mood disorders. People claim to have “depression” because they're out of the Verde salsa at Moe’s. All the sexy celebrities that have ever died early had depression. There is a total disconnect between societal understanding of clinical depression versus circumstantial depression and everything in between, but at the very least, it’s respected as something that actually exists. It’s the outsider. None of the other mood disorders are cool enough to sit with it at lunch. Here we’ve arrived at the “cool” analogy again.
Anxiety is different. Anxiety is hard to pin down and rears its ugly head in so many ways. While depression has almost a sickly comfort, anxiety never feels remotely okay for even a second. Anxiety demands that you act. Now. That you get up and do something about it. And yet, anxiety waltzes with fear and feelings of mortal doom, pinning you to your position so you can cold sweat and cry alone. Anxiety is the hyper awareness of where all the blood is rushing to. Anxiety is the dry mouth, the lump in your throat when you need to say something meaningful. Anxiety is the inability to walk “like a normal person” even though you've told yourself to and now you're drawing attention to yourself uncomfortably.
If you suffer from anxiety every day like I do, take solace in the fact that you're not alone. You’re not the only one that has had to pull over on the side of the road to have a panic attack. You're not the only one on the brink of losing it, yet is forcing a cool and calm demeanor. Your feelings are valid and will pass eventually. Until then, I'm here for you. Get any form of hell and continue to breathe.