If you are asking yourself if you have anxiety, then you don't. Not the crippling kind anyway. Millions of people have anxiety before a test, presentation, job interview, or some stressful event in their life. However, some of us have anxiety that cripples us before the simplest tasks. It can be hard to understand, so here are 5 things that can sort of be explained regarding anxiety.
1. It just feels like a cloud of negativity that you can't shake.
Carrying a burden can feel so hard to handle, and anxiety is like one that you can't get rid of. It is always weighing on your shoulders. It doesn't leave after that big test. It doesn't disappear after you finally finished moving somewhere new. It is always there.
You might wake up thinking it's going to be a good day but then you just get this sense of doom. You think if you drive too far you might get in a car accident. You worry that you forgot your homework assignment and now it is too late to finish it. It can keep you laying in bed all day just hoping that nothing bad happens to you or anyone that you know. It doesn't have to be caused by anything. It is unwelcome and very unwanted.
2. Out of nowhere, anxiety causes you to just completely panic.
There can seemingly be no reason for it. Out of nowhere, you can feel lightheaded, have a hard time breathing, your heart beats hard and fast, you feel lost, and you might even get sick or pass out.
These panic attacks come out of nowhere, and they are crippling. I used to have bad panic attacks as a kid and I thought I had outgrown them. Recently, they are back in full swing. It cripples you and there's not a lot that you can do about it. It's like a haze that overcomes you and you drown in it while the world keeps pretending that you are fine.
3. Panic attacks and fear can keep you bedridden.
If someone cancels plans with you because they have anxiety, please be understanding. It makes you afraid of the world sometimes. I have had days where I don't go to class because I feel panicked. I feel like something bad is going to happen and I am only okay in the comfort of my own home.
I have had events that I really look forward to but can't attend because they are triggers for me. I am sensitive to heat and it causes my anxiety to escalate quickly. I also hate big crowds. The event was outdoors in 103-degree heat with a record-setting crowd. I went home and cried in my bed because I felt like I let people down.
4. We don't want to miss out on things, but we do.
We don't choose to miss events. We don't choose to have sudden panic attacks. I once had someone in my life that called me crazy because of this. He had me believing it, which is terrible to do to someone who suffers from anxiety. Never call someone crazy, insane, or unjustified if they have anxiety. We aren't. It is just as debilitating as a physical disease.
We can't think, we can hardly move, and sometimes we can't even breathe. It comes out of nowhere, and it doesn't let go. We want to be just as social as other people, but we just can't. If that is someone's trigger, don't pressure them into it. Don't feel bad about it. I have lost friends because I am too anxiety-ridden to hang out like they want. It sucks. Anxiety has you crying in your bed because you want to do something but your mental health lets you down.
5. Anxiety annoys us just as much as it annoys you.
We aren't always reliable. We back out on things. We have to stay home. We aren't always the life of the party. We get it. We wish that anxiety would go away too. It is our life and we hate it.
Anxiety can't always be explained perfectly well. Maybe that is why the world makes it seem like you are crazy and lying when you try to tell people. I have missed classes because of panic attacks but had to make up some other excuse because I knew that it wouldn't be justified.
Next time someone tells you they have high anxiety, try to understand them. If they need you to leave, don't take it personal. It overwhelming, and questions usually just make it worse. Help them when they are ready to be helped. Understand what they are going through. Most importantly of all, love them no matter what. We need it.