I guess when someone mentions the word anxiety, the first thought that comes to your mind is of a person who is constantly worried, nervous, and afraid and who suffers from panic attacks. And yes – anxiety can be all these things. Yet, not always.
In cases where anxiety doesn’t manifest itself in these ways, it’s difficult to detect it. Take me, for example.
I was 25 before I realized the hold this awful condition has had over me. Of course, I had a tendency to get a little bit more stressed than the people surrounding me. And I was often told, “not to worry and just relax.”
But, in reality, I never experienced the panic attacks and racing heart that people who are diagnosed with anxiety experience.
It wasn’t until I talked to my therapist and started reading more about this mental condition, that I understood the ways anxiety has affected my life. Because, you know, not every type of anxiety displays obvious physical symptoms.
A person who suffers from high-functioning anxiety can have a very successful personal and professional life. They can still perform their daily tasks without struggling with racing, unreasonable thoughts. They appear calm on the surface, yet, what they’re going through on the inside might be very different.
This sneaky monster can lie hidden inside your mind and body and it can lurk behind your habits and behaviors. But neither you nor others will know this and you’ll consider them as just flaws or weaknesses.
However, one thing is for sure: Anxiety is different for everyone.
Anxiety can be lying in bed late at night and staring at the opposite wall because your mind is busy creating thousands of worst case scenarios.
Anxiety can be worrying about everyday situations. You can worry about being late for work or why your friend hasn’t still returned your call. You can worry about, and, of course, create a series of most unimaginable and absurd scenarios and what-ifs about why your partner hasn’t still come home.
You can rack your brains thinking about where and whom they might be with, when, in fact, they got stuck in a traffic jam.
You can also worry about things that are beyond your control, such as natural disasters or plane crashes.
Anxiety is not worrying only about bad things, but about good things too. It’s wanting to be invited to parties and all sorts of social gatherings, but not actually wanting to go because you worry you might not fit in and you’re afraid you might say or do something that will make you look stupid and weird.
Anxiety is doubting yourself. It’s doubting your feelings, opinions, abilities, and decisions. It’s doubting every step you take.
Anxiety is thinking you’re not good enough. It’s thinking there’s something wrong with you.
Anxiety is struggling with racing, unbearable, unreasonable thoughts. It’s constantly replaying past events in your head, thinking about all the things you said wrong and the ways you could’ve acted differently.
Anxiety is worrying whether you forgot to turn off the faucet or left the oven on whenever you leave your house/apartment.
Anxiety can be headaches and stomachaches. It can be constantly tapping your feet, biting your nails, cracking your knuckles, or twirling your hair.
Anxiety can feel like anger spreading through your whole body, affecting every cell. Anxiety can feel like you’re boiling with rage when you see leftovers in the kitchen sink or clothes scattered all over the bedroom floor.
Anxiety is feeling annoyed and flying off the handle at the slightest thing. It’s screaming and slamming doors and then immediately bursting into tears since you know you overacted and you feel things are getting out of your control.
Anxiety is not knowing how to enjoy all the beautiful things in life. Anxiety is sometimes even neglecting the people who truly love and care about you.
Anxiety is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated all the time because you don’t know how to handle the bad things in life. Because you feel unable to find a way to fight your inner demons and all the evils in the world.
Anxiety is having difficulties planning and organizing your day. It’s being unable to decide whether you should go grocery shopping first or pick up your coat from the dry cleaner’s.
Anxiety is feeling stressed out and exhausted all the time.
Anxiety is thinking that you’re less smart, beautiful, capable, and important than others, when, in fact, you aren’t. You’re more than good enough. You just need someone to remind you of that. You need someone who will remind you of your strength and worth.
You need someone who will be patient and gentle with you when your anxiety reaches its peak.
But, remember, you also need to treat yourself with patience and kindness because your anxiety is not who you are. Because your anxiety can’t determine your worth and happiness.
Because, yes, anxiety is difficult. Anxiety is frustrating and debilitating, but, it’s never a flaw or a weakness. It’s never a sign that you’re losing your mind. It’s never a sign you’re not worthy.
I have anxiety. Maybe you do too. But, there’s nothing wrong with me – and either with you.
Riley Cooper is a professional writer who writes informative and creative articles on topics related to various fields of study. Written with love and enthusiasm, her articles inspire readers to broaden their knowledge of the world, think and get ready to act.