What People Don't Tell You About Growing Up With Anxiety

What People Don't Tell You About Growing Up With Anxiety

Calm was a foreign concept to me.

327
views

Anxiety is difficult to deal with no matter what age you are, but there are certain things that are different based on when you first experience it. People who first experience anxiety as adults have had time to form their personality and to experience many aspects of life. While this does not lessen the impact of that anxiety on them, they know who they are already and that is something that they can use to ground themselves. Developing anxiety as a child or teen runs much deeper into the personality of a person than developing it as an adult does.

There are habits that you develop as a side effect of the anxiety. Like holding an apple core for the entirety of an hour class because you don't want to draw attention to yourself by getting up to throw it out; or constantly needing reassurance from other people because you don't trust yourself anymore--not after your anxiety tricked you into thinking something was wrong all those times. I will ask someone five or more times if I look okay before leaving the house sometimes because my anxiety used to tell me that nothing looked good on me and I've gotten into the habit of asking. Confrontation is terrifying because it might end in a fight or with someone no longer liking me; this isn't because I am a self-centered person who needs everyone to love them, it's because I won't be able to sleep knowing that I was the catalyst in a fight. Nothing is simple; every action, conversation, and idea is thought through a million times over before it occurs; growing up with anxiety forced me to evaluate my every move.

You miss a lot of things if you grow up with anxiety and/or panic attacks. This is by no means anyone's fault, but is still something that I think about almost everyday. My anxiety was at it's peak sophomore and junior year of high school; a prime time in the life of a teenage girl. And it controlled a lot of my life even if it didn't seem like it to the outside world; I said no to plans a lot because I was afraid I would have a panic attack while I was out. I claimed I was busy, which I was, but not in the way I'm sure my friends imagined. I didn't really come into myself as a person until my senior year of high school and well, now, my freshman year of college. My mind had been so focused on the anxiety and just getting through it, that I did not have the chance to develop into a true person. I was there physically, but mentally it felt like I was completely out of control; when I thought of who I was, the first thing that came to mind was anxiety.

While things such as having difficulty telling the waiter that my order is wrong or not raising my hand in class are sometimes annoying to deal with, the hardest part of growing up with anxiety was when I finally started to feel better and less anxious. Calm was a foreign concept to me. Feeling "normal" or not anxious was alien to me; I had not experienced life without anxiety in a long time and it was a hard adjustment to make. Anxiety and panic attacks had left me on edge, so when I started taking medication that left me mostly free of them, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. My body did not know what to do now that it was not in panic mode; I slept a lot for the first few days of taking meds because I was adjusting and finally able to relax. It was the most calming and simultaneously unnerving time of my life.

Growing up with anxiety, you are almost always in survival mode. The goal is to survive each panic attack and anxious moment and then hold your breath until the next one. Your brain is constantly on high alert and looking for the next threat whether it be real or imagined. Learning to come out of survival mode and to just live instead has been one of the most difficult parts of dealing with my anxiety. You have to reteach yourself how to relax and that it's okay to have a moment where your brain is not occupied--it no longer needs to be distracted in order to remain un-anxious.

The thing about growing up anxious is that you never had time to figure out who you were before you were anxious. When people say they have "recovered" from a mental illness, it is often interpreted as meaning that they have returned back to the person they were before they had developed said mental illness. For people who had a mental illness as a child, recovery involves inventing yourself completely because there is nothing to go back to. Growing up with anxiety has left me with side effects that I am still working to get rid of, but it also has made me who I am.

Popular Right Now

The Truth About Dating A Girl With An Anxiety Disorder

She knows how annoying she can be, but she just prays you love her regardless of her flaws.

971
views

Anxiety: A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

The definition makes it sound really daunting. Truthfully, there is no one way to describe generalized anxiety disorder if you have it. It is hard to live with, hard to cope with and unfortunately, really hard to date with.

Girls with anxiety are different than the average girl when it comes to relationships. That's just an honest statement, no matter how much it hurts me to say it.

We need the constant reminder that you love us, even though we know in our hearts that you do. We panic when you don't answer your phone, in fear that we did something wrong. We care about your feelings when you say that we don't need to worry and we need to be a little calmer. But it's so damn hard.

It isn't easy to love someone who worries about everything 24/7. Half the time, we know we shouldn't be doing the things we do. We know we shouldn't blow up your phone or ask just one more time if you are mad at us. But we can't help it. It says it right in the definition: compulsive behavior due to excessive uneasiness.

Being with a girl with anxiety is probably downright exhausting. It's exhausting for us to have our minds constantly running and worrying. But I promise it's worth it.

We come to you with everything because you are the one person who always knows how to make us feel better. When we are happy, you are the one person we want to be happy with. We all know the constant reassurance, reminders and the same old arguments get old. It gets old to us too.

There was never a time I wanted to have a panic attack because my boyfriend wasn't answering his phone. In my head, I knew where he was because he was usually in the same three places. I knew he wasn't mad at me because I didn't do anything to make him upset. I knew how busy he was with his classes and he was probably studying and I needed to give him space. But the little voice in my head always argued, "What if you did something wrong? What if he's ignoring you because he's angry? What if he's seen your messages and calls, but no longer wants to be with you?" And then I give in. I call, I text, I cry, I panic. Only to feel even worse 10, 30 or 50 minutes later because you answer angrily, telling me what I already knew after I did what I knew I shouldn't have done.

Having anxiety is almost like having a drug addiction. You know all the things that trigger you. You know all the ways to stay away from the bad places in your mind so you don't end up relapsing. But you do anyway and it hurts worse every single time.

Dating a girl with anxiety is as hard as it gets, but she will love you like no other. She is so incredibly thankful for all the things you put up with to be with her. Because she is worried about being loved, she goes the extra mile to always remind you how much you are loved. She always asks if you are ok because she cares about the answer and knows what it's like not to be ok.

The truth is that dating anybody with anxiety is difficult, but it isn't impossible. You get back everything you put in, even though you may not realize it. Trust me, she is sorry for being the annoying, crying, worried, naggy mess and it embarrasses her because she knows better and she wants to be better for you. But please love her. Hold her, understand her, listen to her, calm her, be there for her. In your heart, you know she would turn around and do all the same things for you in a heartbeat.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

13 Songs That Help Me Through My Panic Attacks

It's easy to become paralyzed by panic attacks, but I've found music to be the best tool to help me cope.

443
views

Anyone who struggles with panic attacks knows just how draining and overwhelming they are. It's easy to become paralyzed by them, and once I noticed this, I made a playlist of songs that calm me down. I find that music keeps me grounded, no matter how bad the panic attack may be. Maybe the songs I have listed aren't for you. but I hope that in sharing my main songs that help me, it can spark your brain into finding songs that fit your needs during panic attacks.

In case you don't know some of the songs I have listed, I put a link to each song from YouTube. I hope you enjoy my interesting variety of music!

1. "Weightless" by Marconi Union

Go here to listen.

This song is my go-to song for panic attacks, especially if it's a bad one. For me personally, my heart rate spikes during panic attacks (I'll go from a resting heart rate of around 70bpm to anywhere between 180-200bpm). Evidence suggests this song can slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety and let me tell you... it works 100% for me and I highly recommend it.

2. "Somebody to Love" by Queen

Go here to listen.

I've just always loved this song. There's something about Freddie Mercury's voice that just calms me down and makes me feel like I'm not alone at that moment.

3. "Let it Be" by The Beatles

Go here to listen.

I grew up listening to The Beatles since my mom is from Liverpool, and "Let it Be" is a song that I always associate peace and good memories with. Also, I love the lyric, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary calls to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be." It reminds me that there are things about me and this world that I simply cannot change, but I can find peace by letting it be.

4. "Lost in a Sea of Pillows and Blankets" by .anxious.

Go here to listen.

Go here for the full album.

I find this song, and really the whole album, to be extremely soothing. It literally feels like the comfort of pillows and blankets but in the form of music.

5. "1-800-273-8255" by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Go here to listen.

I love this song for many reasons during a panic attack. One, it reminds me that there are other people that have felt or are feeling what I am currently. Two, it reminds me that I have a purpose on this earth, and I am not a waste of space. Three, I just love the awareness it brings to mental illnesses.

6. "Up and Up" cover by Lennon & Maisy (originally by Coldplay)

Go here to listen to the cover.

Go here to listen to the original.

"We're gonna get it, get it together somehow." This main lyric reminds me that I can conquer this moment, and the only direction from this moment is up. Also, Lennon and Maisy's voices are mesmerizing. The Coldplay original is amazing too, I put both for you to check out!

7. "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes

Go here to listen.

I remember the first time I listened to this; I was actually on the brink of a panic attack. I heard the first lyric, "Help me, it feels like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't. It isn't in my blood." Every lyric in here, which was beautifully written by the way, describes how it feels having a panic attack and having anxiety in general. It reminds me that no matter what, I can make my way out of it. I can win the fight.

8. "Free Spirit" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Khalid's new album "Free Spirit" came out on April 5, 2019, and I am actually obsessed with it. I find myself immediately playing this album when I open my Spotify. When it comes to the song "Free Spirit," the music is enchanting to me; something about it just immediately calms me down. Not to mention that Khalid's voice is absolutely beautiful. Also, I just love the concept of being a free spirit. Not being tied down by mental illnesses or fear, and having this sort of euphoric peace.

9. "Intro" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Once again, absolutely mesmerizing. I honestly feel like I'm taken to another world with this song. Something about the music just makes my brain feel so happy, peaceful, and calm. As for the lyrics, they remind me that I need to find my worth and put me first. Sometimes, I put so much of my emotional energy into other people that I have none left for me. I need to keep some of it for me though, because I know that I have worth, but I can never see it, so I need this emotional energy to be able to put myself first and love myself.

10. "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part, Angele Dubeau, La Pieta

Go here to listen.

Not gonna lie, I'm a sucker for classical music. There's something about this song in particular that I feel like really captures the feelings of depression and detachment that I experience during a panic attack. It's just another reminder that I'm not alone in this.

11. "Raindrop Prelude: Op. 28 No. 15" by Frederic Chopin

Go here to listen.

Sorry, another classical piece... I just really love it. I feel like it shows the feelings before, during, and after a panic attack. Once again, it's a reminder that I'm not alone.

12. "Cello Suite No.1 in G-Major, Prelude" cover by Yo-Yo Ma (originally by Bach)

Go here to listen.

Last one, I swear! There's just something about this piece that makes me feel so calm and at peace... I don't know how to describe it. It's beautiful, and it makes me feel like there's hope of conquering my panic attack.

13. "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle

Go here to listen.

First, Lauren Daigle is simply amazing. This song in particular, though, reminds me that Jesus is always by my side, and he will never give up on me. He sees me in my trials, and he's fighting this fight with me. It gives me a lot of hope that someday I might not have to deal with these struggles.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Related Content

Facebook Comments