The Hardest Part of My Anxiety Is That It Doesn't Make Any Sense

This piece was written by Holly Riordan, a Thought Catalog contributor.

My anxiety doesn’t always make sense.

Sure, the idea of giving a presentation in front of a crowd or making a phone call that could impact my career sends my fingers shaking. But those aren’t the only things that set off my anxiety.

Little things do it, too. Things I’ve done a million times before. Talking to a cashier. Answering a question in class. Driving down the highway. Answering an email from a co-worker.

Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and have no idea what’s bothering me. I just feel fear. Fear for my life. Fear for my future. Fear for the world.

For me, everything causes anxiety. And nothing causes anxiety.

That’s why I hate how concerned my loved ones look when I break down in front of them. I hate how they look at me with a question mark in their eyes, wondering what they can do to “fix” the problem, to “fix” me.

My boyfriend, my parents, my close friends — they all calm me down. My anxiety levels tend to be lower when I’m surrounded by people I love. But that doesn’t mean I’m always perfectly fine as long as they’re in the same room as me. Their love isn’t a cure.

I can still experience anxiety around them. I can still feel alone when they have their arms wrapped around me. I can still feel like my world is falling apart, even when they say and do all of the right things.

I can’t help it. It just happens.

I try my hardest to enjoy the moment, to make the most of my present, but my anxiety makes that close to impossible. I’m either worrying about an appointment or a party I have to go to a month from now or I’m thinking about something silly I did a decade ago.

Either that or I’m paying attention to small things that are currently happening around me. Wondering if anyone noticed the stain on my shirt or if they think I’m a snob for being too quiet or if that joke I made 10 minutes earlier made me look stupid.

My brain is never quiet. It’s the loudest thing in the room.

The reason anxiety sucks so much is because it’s hard to explain. I can tell you the symptoms of it. I can explain that it makes my breathing heavy, my mouth dry, my hands sweaty and shaky — but I can’t always tell you why I’m anxious.

Half of the time, I have no idea.

I’m mainly worried about making mistakes, about looking silly. But why? Deep down, I don’t really care what other people think — or maybe I do. My anxiety makes sure I do.

It makes sure that I’m always awkward, embarrassed, concerned, confused, off. It makes my life a living hell.

So please, don’t judge me over my anxiety. Don’t hate me for my anxiety. But it’s OK if you don’t understand my anxiety, because honestly, I don’t even understand it myself.

This story is brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Pimonova.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anxiety

sad woman sitting at wooden table

When 'What If' Thoughts Take Over Every Part of Your Day

Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741. I am standing in the supermarket, agonizing over what I’ll have for dinner. I know in my heart that, for the third time today, I’ll choose one [...]
Gemini sign

Life as a Gemini With Anxiety

Buckle your seat belt and get ready for the ride because life as a Gemini can be wild. With a Gemini, you already never know what you’re going to get, and as if the twin sign wasn’t confusing enough, mixing in anxiety only adds fuel to this already unpredictable fire. I’ve found a lot of [...]
The abstract blur fitness gym background at sunny day

How I Conquered My 'Gym Anxiety'

I know a lot of people struggling with anxiety can relate to how terrifying walking into a gym feels. The last thing you want is to feel as though you’re being watched, as you flail about on the treadmills and strain to get your body to move in the most awkward positions — all the while [...]
meeko cat

Why My Emotional Support Animal Is Not Simply a Cat

When most people think of treatment for a mental illness, they automatically think of the various forms of medication doctors prescribe. This is what society has taught the world to expect, that this is the only means of treatment to help “fix” those who have a mental illness. But this isn’t the case. My whole life [...]