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The Struggle to Explain the Anxiety I Don’t Understand


Being misunderstood is exhausting, frustrating and sad. When I say misunderstood, I mean not only by others, but by yourself, too. As if it is not hard enough to try to explain to other people why you act the way you do, trying to figure it out within yourself is the real struggle. You feel like you are climbing a mountain with roller skates on your feet. You realize every step must be purposeful and strategic. No matter how careful you are, you fall back down to the bottom. Each time it is more painful, more heart breaking and more discouraging. You know it shouldn’t be this hard, but it is.

So, there you sit at the bottom of the mountain, looking, feeling ridiculous and wondering why all these people around you are able to scale the mountain. Not necessarily with complete ease, but they are getting there. You then look down at your feet and see the roller skates. You realize you have a hindrance, but try as you might, you cannot remove them.

The frustration of realizing no one else has this specific hindrance makes you feel like you shouldn’t have it either. The worst part is, people keep passing you by, telling you, “Just remove the skates.” They say it like it is easy. My response? “Well yes, of course that is the answer, but don’t you think I would have removed them already if I was able to do so?”

This is how it feels to have anxiety and not be able to explain it to others. For me, I cannot tell you why I am happy one moment and angry the next. I cannot tell you why I seem fine today, but tomorrow I feel like my world is crumbling. It’s like I wake up Sunday ready to face the day and conquer giants, and maybe I do!

Come Monday, the high I should have from successfully completing a day and conquering obstacles is like a far-away memory. Monday I feel like I am a failure. I have nothing to offer my friends and family because I see and feel the weight of my current situation. I remember my fear and I have no plan for tomorrow. I feel defeated.

So how can I explain it? This thing, this monster that consumes my identity? I cannot. I am still trying to figure it out myself. What I can do is love you. What doesn’t change is the love and compassion I feel for the people who are closest to me. This does not stop the dreams I have of one day being free from this bondage and successful in my life.

I am asking you to do something difficult, something I am not always sure I can do. I am asking you to be patient with me. Love me. Do not tell me to take the skates off, to stop worrying or to relax. Tell me you understand I am going through a hard time, even if you don’t understand the reason. Hold me. Give me a hug that says I am scaling this mountain with you, and I will catch you when you fall.

Image via Thinkstock.