I’ve been struggling with anxiety for quite some time now, and I’ve noticed how many people don’t understand why I get so panicky and stressed out all the time. So to all those people, this article is for you.
My brain talks to me all day, every day and doesn’t stop. This is what a day in my head looks like.
5:00 a.m. “Oh my God, what time is it? Why didn’t my alarm clock ring?”
I check my watch, and when I see it’s OK, I try to get back to sleep. But the voice continues to speak.
“If you fall into a deep sleep you won’t wake when your alarm rings.” “It might not even ring at all. Did you even remember to set it last night?”
I check that it’s set, and see that it’s fine. Still too scared it might not ring, I stay awake till it gets light.
7:00 a.m. Breakfast time.
“Is the soy milk out of date? No, it’s fine. But how long has it been in the fridge for? What if it’s gone bad? Maybe that’s why last night I didn’t feel well… because I ate something that was bad.”
8:00 a.m. Leaving for work.
I check I have my keys, phone, money, bus card.
“But wait, am I missing something? I’m sure I’m forgetting something! What am I forgetting?”
I leave the house, get to the bottom of the stairs and…
“Did I lock the door?”
I run back up and check. It’s locked all right. I hurry down before I miss the bus. I run to the bus stop in fear I’ll miss it, even though I’m 10 minutes early. I get to the bus stop and search eagerly for my bus card.
“Where is it? I just made sure I had it! Oh, there it is, underneath all those receipts. Did I lock the door? Where’s my phone? Why isn’t the bus coming? I’m going to be late for work!”
Finally the bus comes, and I relax.
“No, wait, where’s my phone? Did I leave it at the bus stop? Never mind, it’s right here in my hand.”
I fall asleep during the bus ride from sheer exhaustion, even though the day’s just started. At work my boss calls me into his office.
“Oh my God, am I about to get fired?”
Thankfully he only wants to talk about work-related things. I get back to my desk and try to get on with my work, but thoughts keep coming to my head.
“Is the dog ok? What if she’s messed up the flat? She might have chewed up the sofa, and your landlord’s gonna be furious. He might not let you keep her. You’ll have to give her away.”
I start to feel sick. I desperately need the loo.
“Please don’t be sick.”
I open Facebook in hopes that it might somehow calm me down. I leave work in plenty of time to catch the last bus, but my first bus is late and there’s tons of traffic, and the whole journey I’m terrified I’ll miss the last bus home.
“I can always take a different route instead of the bus straight home,” I try to tell myself, but I’m only relaxed once I’m on the second bus and know I’m almost home.
The day doesn’t end there.
I get on the bus and double, triple, quadruple check I’ve got my keys, phone, bus card, credit card and extra cash… just in case. I get off the bus and check once more that I’ve definitely got my keys and that they haven’t fallen out of my bag and been left on the bus. I feel sweaty walking up the road. I’m still picturing the couch with a huge hole in the middle and my dog having a party in all the stuffing. I get to my door and search frantically for the keys that were just there a minute ago. With my hands shaking, I unlock the door, turn on the lights and see the house is just as I left it. I take the dog for a nice long stroll, not so worried now that I have someone to protect me from danger. I get back and go to bed. But I don’t fall asleep so easily. The day is over, but the night has only just begun. And that you can read about here.
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