Anxiety is much more than being nervous. It’s constantly thinking about what can go wrong. It’s a voice in the back of your head turning every situation into a negative, to at least some extent. It’s something other people aren’t able to understand if they aren’t going through it themselves. It’s something that keeps you from doing and saying what you want to. It’s something that makes you feel alone, but it’s also something that can show you who the people that really care about you are.
Anxiety isn’t a nervous feeling. When you have an anxiety attack, you feel so overwhelmed that it’s like you’re suffocating. You feel weak and defeated. So many things race through your mind that you don’t understand your own thoughts. It consumes you. All you can think about is everything that is not right. No matter how many times people tell you to “calm down” or “stay positive,” you just can’t. It’s not that easy.
Even when you’re not having an attack, the anxiety is always there. Tiny things that are wrong wind up being all you think about, and when it’s paired with other disorders like OCD or depression it makes those symptoms worse as well. Not only is your OCD acting up when you make a mistake on an art project, the anxiety makes you think there is no way to fix it and that it won’t be acceptable to anyone else. When your depression makes you not want to get out of bed, your anxiety tells you that’s probably best anyway, since your friends most likely don’t want you around.
Anxiety makes it hard to make friends. For many people with anxiety, there’s always a fear that people don’t actually like you. You assume people are just being nice to you, but really don’t want you to hang out with them. So, you start hanging out by yourself more and not talking to others which only makes everything worse. You need people who support you, but when you push people away you keep them from helping you.
Constant fear of being annoying or intrusive to people keeps you from saying things and experiencing things you should have. You skip out being with your friends because you don’t want to bug them, and you don’t tell people when they do something that bothers you because you’re so afraid they won’t want to be near you anymore if you do.
A lot of times, you get anxious for no reason. You can’t tell people what’s wrong because you actually don’t know. All you know is that you don’t feel right and you can’t do much about it. You aren’t trying to push people away by saying “I don’t know” or “nothing’s wrong,” but it’s hard for others not to see it that way. Nothing happened to make you feel like this, so nothing is wrong that you are able to explain to someone else.
Even when you isolate yourself and push others away without realizing, there are people who are there for you no matter what. They’ll hold you when you don’t know what’s wrong and take your mind off it when you do. You’re never actually alone, even if you think you are.