Of tying up my shoes.
Of lacing up my gloves.
Of giving myself pep-talks.
Of building the best “team” possible, to remain ever-steadfast in my corner.
Ready, once more,
To go head to head with this relentless, seven-letter beast.
Going round, after round, after round,
Until I am too exhausted to fight anymore.
Taking a break.
And then preparing, yet again.
Literally living in limbo.
From fear to fear.
Worry to worry.
Panic to panic.
Always building that next “false” bridge.
While the one trailing behind crumbles to pieces.
For others like me, those living with chronic anxiety, our entire existence is about preparing ourselves for, pushing through and then, subsequently analyzing, those same “what ifs,” hiccups, speed bumps and mountains that for most, are simply shrugged off. For those able to embrace a more lighthearted and relaxed existence, it may be difficult, or even impossible, to understand what it’s like for someone struggling with day to day anxiety. Not to mention frustrating, exhausting and discouraging.
Believe me when we tell you, we understand. Because, how you feel about my anxiety? If there was a way to multiply that feeling by infinity, then you might possibly have a small glimpse into our hearts and minds. Into our daily battle. Through our latest “round.”
For those on the front lines with someone living with anxiety, those heading the charge hand in hand with a loved one against this ruthless and unyielding monster, there are two simple requests we have of you. Two tiny acts, that in the “heat” of the moment, are the perfect ways to show just truly how much you care.
1. Please, don’t ever dismiss me.
To you, it might be the most minuscule thing to worry about in the world, but to me it is greater than any mountain imaginable. To be told I am “silly,” “crazy” or what I am worried about is “nothing,” is completely heartbreaking. When you have anxiety, those “nothings” are everything. When you do dismiss me, it only causes an even more intense bottling up of worries and emotions, racing on a closed circuit track through my mind.
2. Please, don’t ever humiliate me.
Oh, how much this one hurts. I understand. What I might be anxious about might seem absolutely ridiculous to you. But to me? It is totally and completely “real.” It has persona. It fills my mind to the brim. Every waking second of my day. To make me feel ashamed for this, only makes me want to throw in the towel. To retreat. To forfeit the battle and pull away from my life even more than I already have.
When it feels like things have become “too much,” and you are not sure you have it in you to stay around, please know each of these battles are new and different for each of us. Each “round” of its own kind and likeness. Each one caused by a different or possibly recurring trigger. We sometimes have absolutely no knowledge, no control and no prediction of when this ogre might sneak back in again.
Your support means the absolute world to us. However, your unkind words, when you feel the need to unleash them, are the most hurtful of all. Together, we have learned just what this thief is capable of doing and of taking from “us.”
More than anything in the world, please understand, even if you can’t identify with this emotional rollercoaster ride of daily anxiety, even if in no possible way can you relate, even if you loathe it as much as I loathe it, there is nothing someone struggling with anxiety wants more than to have someone stay with us, through it all.
As a companion.
And as a friend.
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