Anxiety is a mental illness that DSM-5 defines as "A. Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least
6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
B. The individual finds it difficult to control the worry.
C. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms having been present for more days than not for the past 6 months):
Note: Only one item required in children.
1. Restlessness, feeling keyed up or on edge.
2. Being easily fatigued.
3. Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
5. Muscle tension.
6. Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep).
D. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
E. The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition
F. The disturbance is not better explained by another medical disorder"
For those of you who don't suffer from anxiety, you can't understand how much of a struggle everyday life can be. It's a constant battle between you and your thoughts. For example, you worry about literally everything even things you shouldn't worry about. You're worried about being too early, you worry about if people are looking at you, judging you. You need reassurance from people around you about if they still like you. It's not just a little worry here and there. You get anxious around people you don't know but can be a social butterfly around your friends.
Something I do when I'm in a situation that causes me to be anxious is fidget. I'll play with my earrings as I usually wear dangly ones. If I'm alone I'll usually pick or bite at my nails so I try to wear nail polish to stop that. If I'm in class and I start to get anxious my legs will shake or I'll kick my feet back and forth. Sometimes if the situation is really bad I will start hyperventilating and crying and can't calm down easily. Of course, there are techniques to help but at the moment, it's hard to remember to do them. Sometimes in a panic, I'll take it out on the people, it's a coping mechanism, not a healthy one though. Another way I show I'm anxious is I become very irritable and rude because I get so frustrated with myself and no one truly understands.
If you are not diagnosed with anxiety and just worry from time to time you have NO idea of what I experience. It's more than just being anxious. It takes a toll on you and sadly the people around you. It can eat away at your self-esteem, it can cause you to lose friendships, ruin relationships with family, take a heavy toll on your school, as well as many other things that other people deem as easy.
Sometimes I can't explain why I'm feeling anxious, or why I'm acting the way I am. I'm not being outrageous because in my mind there's a reason for why I'm acting a certain way. When I'm having an anxiety attack or overthinking something I can't just stop. It's not something that just goes away. Once it starts I can't always stop it, it's hard to control. My mind can spiral all these negative thoughts. I make up these scenarios in my head that cause me to go into an anxious state. Sometimes these scenarios can affect my sleep and I'll lie away for hours worrying about something I made up. Of course, in the back of my mind I know that it's all in my head but in the moment, it's hard to control.
Anxiety is a mental illness, it's not something that you just get over and move on from. Anxiety is something that if you're diagnosed with, you live with. Whether you're on medication or not chances are you're still struggling. It never goes away it's something that has an effect on your life and the way you live it. Some days are easier than others. There are good days and there are bad days. To those of you who dismiss anxiety and say it's not real fuck you because it's an awful thing to live with. Not only does it have an effect on you but also the people around you and it can really take a toll on you and your relationships.