What It's Like To Have Anxiety

What It's Like Inside The Mind Of Someone With Anxiety

It's much darker and scarier than you may think.

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Having anxiety is a scary thing because it can blind you from how things truly are. The cashier at a restaurant doesn't actually think you're stupid for messing up your order, they know its a simple mistake but when you have anxiety, simple encounters such as this make you want to never show your face again. It's easy to let anxiety control your life and how you go about things. I find myself omitting a lot of feelings from what I tell others in fear they will judge me. I talk about my breakdowns in a laughing matter so people don't feel like they have to check up on me in fear that they'll think I'm a burden.

I like to write a lot. Mostly because it can help me get emotions and thoughts out that I wouldn't be able to say or don't know how to say. Writing is one of the ways that I deal with my anxiety because I can get everything off my chest while being creative about it. When I have problems with my boyfriend that I need to discuss and talk about, I usually write it down, sometimes my anxiety takes so far that I have to have him read what I wrote rather than me talking in fear that I'll say something wrong.

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Anxiety and panic attacks are the worst by far. After a couple of years, it's easy to tell which one is coming on and you may be able to prevent it, but sometimes it just hits you hard. Usually, an anxiety attack doesn't involve a sob fest. They are usually sudden frustration and anger along with lashing out, complete and utter silence and wanting to be alone in the dark. It can be a three-hour nap in the middle of the day and putting off all of your work because you just don't have the energy to do it. I find my anxiety attacks can last for hours and then peak at a certain moment after I can't take it anymore and everything spills over, sometimes causing a panic attack. But overall, panic attacks are much different.

Sudden triggers or situations that cause extreme anxiety can cause panic attacks which cause a sob fest and sometimes even scream crying if it's after everyone has gone to sleep. I often find my panic attacks are hard to prevent and or stop. You have to make the decision early on if you want to try and calm down or let it go and get out of your system. These are the absolute worst and when you have moments like these, you never want anyone to see them. Crying out, writhing, curling up into a ball and all of the tears on your face just make you want to curl up in a hole and die.

Anxiety is hard to talk about, let alone talking about it with other people which is why I write about it. You are not alone and your mind that is filled with anxiety is more common than you think.

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Understanding What It's Like To Live With An Anxiety Disorder

Having no control over your own mind is scary.
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Anxiety disorders are no fun for anyone. Most people don't understand what it's like to be someone who suffers from one. They come without warning and without reason. As I am writing this, I am awake at an ungodly hour due to this stupid battle my mind is having with itself.

Let me help those of you who do not understand what this illness is like.

At random moments, I will get this building worry and fear that something isn't right. Everything could be just perfectly fine, but my mind will trick itself into believing that something is wrong.

It will convince itself that my life is falling apart. I will worry about one thing one minute and talk 90 to nothing then start to worry about another thing. My mind constantly switches back and forth and will convince itself that things are worse than what they really are.

All the while, I'm trying so hard to calm myself down... but it is impossible.

It will send me into a depression. A depression that causes me to hate myself for being so crazy and irrational at times. This depression is the worst part. It causes me to want to space myself from the world and everyone around me. It causes me to feel alone with my illness, and it will cause me to be too terrified to talk those that are closest to me about what it is that I need from them.

I feel needy, and I'm repulsed. But I can't help it.

The hardest thing is for me to find peace with myself during the depression stage. Most times, it switches back to worry and will keep me up all night. Staying up all night causes me to feel irritable the next day, which in turn causes those around me to steer clear. Which in turn causes me to go right back into depression and battle myself for being mentally ill.

You see, there's something those of you who don't suffer from anxiety need to understand: WE CAN'T CONTROL IT.

No, it doesn't make us crazy. We don't need you to tell us that we are acting crazy. We are already well aware of this and telling us that will only make our condition worse.

It will come at the most inconvenient times. When it happens, just please be patient and understanding with us. The attack will eventually pass, and when it does, we'll be back to normal. The worst thing you could do is bring up anything we were previously worried about.

Doing so will only trigger another attack. Understand that it's you and us vs. the illness. We hate it, you hate it, we're on the same team here. The best thing you can do during an attack is to just listen, and know that there are times we need you to hold us, and times we need you to leave us alone. Know that sometimes you'll be the trigger for the attack.

Don't take it personally. And please, for the sake of humanity, don't tell us that we're overreacting, that we need to calm down, or that worrying isn't going to make anything any better. If we could stop worrying, don't you think we would have already?

Dating someone with an anxiety disorder isn't easy, at all. It requires giving that person a lot of attention that you normally wouldn't have to do. That doesn't mean the sufferer constantly needs you to be stuck up his or her butt 24/7, but it does mean that when he or she is under attack you need to be there.

If someone you love is having an anxiety attack, ask them what they need. Most of the time they know what they need from you to help make it better, but they're too scared to tell you. Let them know that you genuinely want to help in any way that you can, and be OK with it if they tell you nothing and to just listen. Get to know their illness better.

Everyone's anxiety disorder is different.

Try to understand what it's like to have absolutely no control over your mind, and be there for that person. They need you most when they feel as though they have turned on themselves.

If you or someone you know is battling an anxiety disorder, seek help.

Cover Image Credit: ankor2 / Flickr

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10 Things You Can Do If You're Feeling Down

Start feeling happy one step at a time.

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There are many reasons why one's mood can go south. There is no pinpointing a certain thing to help get everyone out of their sadness or depression but there are a couple things that will help almost everybody. Sadness and depression does not just go away, you have to work for it. It is possible to overcome but it can be tricky. This is a list of things that help me when I am feeling down, if they do not work for you, don't be afraid to get the help that you need.

1. Take a step back and assess

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If you find yourself yourself constantly thinking about the thing that is getting you down, take a step back and assess the situation. Break it down and figure out what you can do to make sure you will be okay.

2. Take a day off

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On your off day, take a break and practice some self care. Do something that you have wanted to do like eat breakfast outside, hang out with your friends, sleep in, dye your hair, or go for a day trip. Do something that will enjoy.

3. Download self help apps

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There are many self help apps including Calm Harm, Headspace, and Success Psychology. Each app varies in its services but most of them focus on meditation. Their main goal is to help you get into a calm state, and meditation is a good way of achieving that.

4. Create a schedule

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Create a schedule to stick to. Doing this will help you get up and do what you need to even if you don't have the motivation. Make sure to give yourself some free time though.

5. Talk to someone

You can talk with anyone you want like a family member, friend, or even a therapist. Sometimes it helps to just say things out loud and get an opinion on what you should do. You aren't bothering anyone so don't be afraid to talk it out.

6. Eat something healthy

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If you don't always eat something nutritional, eating something healthy might make you feel a little bit better. Eating better might not be the exact therapy needed, but if it makes you feel even a little better, try it. It might help balance hormones, vitamins, or nutrition that your body needs.

7. Don't sleep for too long

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It is important to get enough sleep and its always nice to catch up on sleep, but if you sleep for too long then you will just feel tired all day. Set an alarm at the time you want to wake up and get up at that time. You might not want to be awake, but you'l feel better if you're not groggy all day.

8. Go for a walk

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Walking will help you get out of the house and get some exercise. You are able to get some fresh air and clear your mind. If you want to start exercising, walking everyday could be a gateway to start going to the gym.

9. Clean up

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Clean your room or house, do chores that you have been putting off. You will likely feel accomplished after doing so and feel better now that everything is clean.

10. Challenge negative thoughts

If your first thought is a negative one, try to spin it around. Train yourself to think differently. If your first thought is "what if it goes wrong?" you can turn it around and think "what if it goes right?" There is a saying that goes something like "your first thought is what you have been conditioned to think, and your second thought is what you actually think" and I believe it applies when you have to train yourself to think more positive thoughts.

You can do this, don't give up.

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