What It's Like To Have Anxiety

What It's Like To Have Anxiety

Ever wondered what it's like to have anxiety? Here's my personal experience with it.

Hi, I'm Alix, I'm 19, and I deal with an anxiety disorder.

Over the course of my life, everyone always just said I was quiet, I was shy. Growing up though, I could tell it was more than that. "Shy" doesn't give you the feeling of impending doom when something is stressing you out, "shy" doesn't make you want to vomit when you're forced to interact with strangers. Of course, I'm quiet, but I'm thinking of a million things - most likely worse scenario to happen at any given moment. When I'm in a car and I'm quiet, I'm not listening to the music or what you're saying, I'm thinking what would happen if someone hit us head-on or what we would do if something in the car exploded.

When I'm walking around at night. I follow every precaution that prevents me from being kidnapped or whatever. Hair down, check. They usually target people who have their hair in a bun or ponytail. Fake talking on the phone so they think I'd have a witness, check. Every little thing I follow to a T, for no apparent reason.

Realistically, I know it's unlikely that anything like that would happen, especially on a college campus. But my anxiety, on the other hand, is constantly of a course crash of destruction in my mind going through and through every possible scenario. Some days, it's okay. Most days, I'm good at hiding how I'm feeling internally. People usually are so shocked that I love going to concerts with this disorder. Concerts are kind of a safe place for me, for some weird reason. However, don't think that the worst situations don't run through my mind a million times before I finally relax and enjoy life in the moment.

Anxiety is awful, it can feel like drowning while everyone else is living just fine. It can feel like a claustrophobic room, or maybe a dark hole that you keep falling down into and can't seem to stop falling. Take it from me, though. Anyone dealing with anxiety can beat it. It sucks, but it's not the end of the world.

Now go out and conquer the world, YOU can handle this.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an anxiety disorder, here's a hotline:

CALL OR TEXT: 919-231-4525 | 1-877-235-4525

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3 Ways Anxiety Can Cripple You, From Someone With A Disorder

It can be very easy to hide something people cannot physically see.

Everyone has anxiety. It's a simple fact. Some definitely more than others, but there is something that can make all of us feel the nervous butterflies fluttering around in our stomachs or make our hands jittery like they're pumping with coffee instead of blood. In our current society, the mental health struggles that most young adults go through have gotten so much publicity that a sort of community has arisen from it.

This has been great for someone like me who has struggled with an anxiety disorder since I was seven. Still, sometimes I feel like the ways in which people perceive anxiety can be kind of skewed. It's clear that people know and have come to agree that having anxiety is a common thing, but they're kind of at a loss as to what that entails.

Sometimes this can even mean that most people will brush off your anxiousness as something common and less than what it actually is to you. Anxiety can affect people so much more than just nervousness in your stomach, but it can take a big physical toll on you when it decides to rear its big ugly head.

1. Loss of appetite

Before a big job interview or maybe a big exam, its normal to feel the nervous stomach. When your alarm first goes off in the morning, you head straight for the bathroom and its not just to brush your teeth. TMI, I know, but hey its a normal bodily function that is enhanced when you feel especially anxious. After this, usually one doesn't want to gorge themselves with french toast or pancakes, but will settle for a big cup of coffee.

For someone with an anxiety disorder, it goes a little bit beyond that. This type of anxiety is something we feel most days, all day. We can forget meals really easily and not even realize it until someone mentions the time of day and a little lightbulb goes off in your head that you should've probably eaten twice by then. Its not usually even a conscious skipping of a meal, its just that your body almost seems to shut off your sensors for hunger if you're feeling especially anxious.

2. Shortness of breath

You know that feeling you have when you've walked up the stairs at school or even the one after you've been running for like ten minutes straight? That's a chest tightness that someone with an anxiety disorder knows all to well. The feeling as though you can't take a breath big enough to quench the desire for it in your lungs can be wildly frustrating, but its a common occurrence for me.

It feels like since my brain is running a marathon at all times of the worst case scenarios that can happen to me that day, the rest of my body is trying to catch up to its pace even though I'm not physically being burdened.

3. Dizziness

My personal enemy. I usually don't even talk about this physical effect because honestly, its the scariest one for me. It's a loss of control over your surroundings as they start to move slightly the longer you look at them. For me, this can often lead to passing out. It doesn't last forever, but every second that the world around me doesn't sit still like it's supposed to seems like an eternity. The dizziness isn't what necessarily causes me to momentarily lose consciousness, its the fear that goes along with being so out of control.

I don't live with these struggles all day, every single day. Currently, I am the happiest I have been in a really long time, although my anxiety doesn't ever truly leave me. A lot of people in my life don't even know how severe my disorder can be. It is something I have become an expert at hiding because more often than not it seems easier that way.

Some people live with a lot worse, and some people have never even felt any of these things at all. No matter what, though, every single one of us struggles with something that is beyond our control and has made us want to give up at some point. Be kind to those around you because you truly cannot always see their struggles outwardly.

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If You're Constantly Overthinking, Remember The Five-Year Rule

The problem with thinking, thinking, thinking is that it becomes an obsession.

I am queen of overthinking. Seriously, ask anyone--all I ever do is think, think, think.

But the problem with thinking, thinking, thinking is that it becomes an obsession. Rather than just pondering a situation, deciding on a resolution, and then letting it go, I think myself into a circle. I become submissive to irrational thoughts, to creating unrealistic, negative consequences, and essentially drive myself crazy until the original situation I was thinking is over.

Obviously, overthinking does not have positive results; it makes you stressed, on edge, and absolutely depleted of any energy. I've tried everything to relax--journaling, deep breathing, meditating, even therapy--but I've found no relief.

And it certainly doesn't help when people say, "Just don't think about it." That offers no solution.

But what I've found helps is the five-year rule. If what is currently weighing you down won't matter or affect your life in five years, don't spend more than five minutes thinking about it. Stressed about a math test in five days? A math grade won't define you. Stressed about strained relationships? Don't stress--you'll find your people eventually.

Keeping this rule in mind has alleviated so much of my stress. Remembering that life works itself out and what is meant to be will be allows me to live my life to the fullest without sweating the small things.

If you're a pro at overthinking, just remember the five-year rule and your life will be significantly less stressful.

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