Talking About the Untalkable - Living With Anxiety

Talking About the Untalkable - Living With Anxiety

Because you're not alone.
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The number one mental illness in the United States, the quickest way to debilitate everyday tasks, the silent killer, anxiety. Living with an anxiety disorder isn't easy. It's long days with even longer nights, and getting yourself all worked up before the simplest of things like the first day of school, a job, or being around a new group of people. It's trying to plan out your day, week, month, and even year, just to get even more anxiety over the fact that you can't plan that far ahead, and more importantly that you know you shouldn't. It's talking to a group of people and your brain is working in double time because you want to make sure you don't say the "wrong" thing. Anxiety is a constant crippling fear of the unknown, and making up a thousand and one different scenarios in your head over one little thing.

So to simply say, anxiety can come about when approaching a large group of people, or a group of people that you aren't familiar with. It can come about when you open your planner and see that twenty-six out of the thirty days in the month have something written on them to do. It comes when your professor says you have to start preparing for the biggest test of the semester, that is weeks away. It comes when your significant other isn't paying as much attention to you as usual, or is being distant. It comes when you just keep having to pay bill after bill, but you have yet to treat yourself. It comes when you look in the mirror and don't like what you see staring back at you.

To try and explain what living with anxiety is like to someone who is not familiar with it, is like trying to teach a dog to ride a bike--impossible. Imagine swimming under water, and you are swimming to the surface where the light is, but you don't ever reach it. You just keep reaching and reaching with the light clearly visible, but you never actually get that breath of fresh air above the water. Anxiety feels like you are constantly gasping and fighting for air; not being able to surface above the water.

People always say, "well just stop over-thinking," or "just deal with it," but to someone who is actually living with an anxiety disorder, these are the worst phrases you could possibly say. We don't expect you to understand what it's like, and we definitely will never be able to find the right words to fully make you understand. How do you explain what's going on in your head when you don't even understand it yourself? Your own mind is against you 24/7, and you have to do more work telling yourself that things are going to be okay and to calm down and to relax, than actually enjoying the present moment you're in. More importantly, this is one thing that is completely out of our control. We can't just "shut off" or "ignore" our anxiety because it will always be there like a book on a shelf waiting to be opened and read. And trust me, if we could just shut it off we would have done so a long time ago.

I think that the worst part of it all is that unless we tell you that we live with anxiety everyday or that we're having an anxiety attack, you probably would never even know the demons that we're battling day in and day out. And that is all because anxiety is a silent demon. It is one that you can't see by looking at us, and you probably still wouldn't even know exists when we start talking. It completely takes over our insides; from the way we feel physically, mentally and emotionally, to the thoughts that run through our head all while making us look perfectly fine on the outside. And just because the majority of the time we can't explain the feelings that are causing this anxiety, it doesn't make them any less valid.

However, there is always at least one positive to every negative there is in life, and the positive that goes along with the negativity of anxiety, is love. The one good thing about those with an anxiety disorder is the fact that we all have so much love to give. That too can actually be overwhelming for us as strange as that sounds, but when we love, we love with our whole heart. And because of this, sometimes we give our love to people who don't deserve it, or we love others too much and forget to love ourselves first. But as hard as it could be sometimes to love someone with an anxiety disorder, it will probably be the most rewarding kind of love because of how you much you receive in return.

If you're wondering the best way to help and control your anxiety, it is to add one thing to the very top of your "to do" list-live in the moment.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Knowing

A wake-up call.

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"How they make you feel says a lot about them, and nothing about you.

Trust me when I say, someone who makes you question if you are worthy of being loved is not worthy of being loved by you."

- Bianca Sparacino

I saw the above quote in an Instagram post, and it really spoke volumes to me.

The importance of "knowing your worth" is something I always stress to people, but I've often found that I wasn't quite heeding my own advice. It often took a wake-up call for me to realize that. And that wake-up call would often lead to guilt. It would lead to staying up at an ungodly hour thinking things over, and about what I could have done differently. It would lead to constantly asking myself how I allowed things to continue the way I had. It would lead to self-blame, and I'd often start asking myself why I wasn't worth it.

But I am worth it.

And so are you.

And if that isn't being recognized, then it's time to pack up. Because you deserve better - whether that's increased effort, improved communication, whatever else you may (and damn well should) expect. And asking for any of that is not asking too much.

But this article isn't only about knowing your worth. It's about "knowing" in general. It's about anything in your life that needs to be figured out. There are going to be times in your life that you're stuck between two (or more) options, and you don't know which is the best one. Sometimes, weighing out the pros and the cons just doesn't cut it.

So, you may not know which way to go right now. And that's okay. You're not going to be 100% certain on everything right away. The important things take time. It's all in how you act once you figure things out for yourself. This goes for "knowing" anything. Knowing whether or not something should be pursued. Knowing when it's best to walk away. You name it.

But in figuring it out, don't make excuses for yourself and/or others. You don't know how anyone other than yourself is going to act/react in any scenario - nor will you ever. Assuming that you know everything about anyone/everyone involved is unfair and just overall wrong. So definitely keep that in mind before/while thinking out any potential outcomes.

If you're trying to reach a decision, do NOT simply choose the easy way out. How many times have you heard something along the lines of "the right choice isn't always the easy one?" News flash - it's not just a cheesy mantra. Almost nothing that's truly worth it is easy. If "I don't know" is looking to be a "no," that's okay. That's just how it is sometimes. But if that decision is being made purely because going the "yes" route would be more difficult, reevaluate.

And when you DO finally figure things out:

If you "know," do not proceed to act as if you don't. Don't let others continue to believe that you haven't reached a decision, especially those who are relevant to whatever you just figured out. And if you're asked about it, don't lie and say that you're still unsure. That could potentially be damaging to everyone involved, including yourself. Dishonesty is outright disrespectful, and it's unfair to you and those you are dishonest to. Think: how much do you really care if you're willing to lie? Did you ever really care at all?

When you figure out whatever you've been thinking over, be honest with yourself and all who are involved. Even if it's bad news. Yes, it will suck at first - but the truth always comes out one way or another, so it's best to acknowledge it early on. Especially if it's not an issue pertaining only to you. Dragging things out is the worst thing you could possibly do. You may be choosing to do so because you're worried about how the truth will impact him/her/them... well, I can guarantee you, based off personal experience, that every day you put it off will make your truth hurt a hundred times more. Please, give those who are involved in your particular situation the decency of honesty.

I don't know about you, but I hate uncertainty more than almost anything. It's scary, and often very frustrating. I avoid uncertainty at almost all costs, simply because I hate it so much. But I've put myself in situations of uncertainty if I truly saw potential. Has that come back to bite me in the ass? At times, absolutely. But each time, I learn a little more about myself. And I guess that's the point.

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