10 Reasons Why Anxiety Sucks... the Life Out of Me
As I lie here in a hotel room bed next to my sleeping daughters the morning after a dance competition, my mind is racing — I can’t catch up.
It has been a wonderful weekend of smiles, laughter and bonding with my beautiful babies — babies turned into young ladies.
My heart is full, but my brain is exploding.
To stop my constant skin scratching or nail picking (common symptoms for those struggling with anxiety), I picked up my phone and decided to write this.
Anxiety sucks… literally.
I don’t like the word “sucks,” and would rather use “stinks,” but sucks is more appropriate. I use “sucks” because anxiety literally sucks the life out of me sometimes.
For me, I think I struggle because it’s such a paradox to the real me — the me when I’m healthy and in a better place.
I’m an optimist, energetic and strong.
My anxiety is like a earthquake that shakes my foundation and jumbles me all up.
We all have stressors and fears in life, and at some periods these can seem overwhelming.
But I can cope with pain and pressure in life; in fact, it has always been what has driven and motivated me. Without challenges, there would be no growth. If we didn’t fall down, we wouldn’t have to make ourselves get back up.
But being anxious and having an anxiety disorder are different things.
And anxiety disorders manifest themselves differently in people — I am just sharing my experiences.
I had a couple of pretty tough panic attacks this weekend. I was surrounded by hundreds of people, but I bet they didn’t notice.
I can be totally falling apart inside — my brain screaming, my heart pounding, my body wanting to run away.
But from the outside, I can function and do what needs to be done.
I can do what needs to be done for everybody else, and then when the coast is clear and I’m alone, I can silently let myself go and let this “bully in my brain” complete it’s beating.
In order to not let myself become a victim to this bully, I need to do something to fight back. I need to use it for some good and hopefully help others understand, so I keep writing.
Before I go into my list, I want to make it clear that having an anxiety disorder, or any mental illness, is not anybody’s fault. We do not choose this. We can’t always just make it go away. We are not weak or bad people because our brains are sick sometimes.
That being said, there are treatments, techniques and medications that we can try to help us get better. Like with any chronic illness, however, they may not always work and sometimes we can have short- or long-term relapses.
I am not “crazy” or weak or bad, even though sometimes my brain tries really hard to convince me of this — and sometimes it wins out.
But not today. Today I win because I’m challenging my bully and exposing “it.”
Here are the top 10 reasons why having anxiety sucks… the life out of me:
1. Anxiety sucks because it can strike at any time with almost no warning. Sometimes I can feel it creeping in, but even then it is hard to stop the train once it gets rolling.
2. Anxiety sucks because it is often not based on rational thoughts. I can go from zero to scary in seconds.
3. Anxiety sucks because people don’t always understand it. I even had a psychiatrist tell me I just need to “relax” — if I could do that I don’t think I would have been sitting in her office (epic fail).
4. Anxiety sucks because it’s exhausting — mental gymnastics for somebody who can barely do a cartwheel.
5. Anxiety sucks because it stops me from living in the moment. I can’t live in the moment when I’m not sure I can, or want to, make it to the next one.
6. Anxiety sucks because panic attacks are not fun. Shaking, sweating, gasping for air and not knowing how or when it will stop is terrifying and cruel. And the next day there is an “anxiety hangover” and I just feel awful, physically and mentally.
7. Anxiety sucks because I don’t like to be a “downer” and it makes me feel really bad about myself. I fear this will leak out and I’ll be a downer to others too.
8. Anxiety sucks because it can turn a really great day or positive experience upside down rapidly, or at least it will in my brain and I’ll have to live in that place alone.
9. Anxiety sucks because I’ll obsess over every conversation, email, text, etc. It makes me overthink everything I do and say to the point of making myself sick (sometimes literally). And when I get no reply, it can really get my brain catastrophizing that I did something wrong or that people hate me. It’s really awful and perhaps the worst part for me.
10. Anxiety sucks because it tells me I’m going to lose all my friends one day because I am worthless, a bad friend and will become too much trouble to love.
So there you have it — my list. And this list is mine alone and representative of my truth and experiences.
In closing, I have a few people in my life that I reach out to when my anxiety is off the charts. It’s usually via text or sometimes a rambling voicemail, and as badly as I feel about it, it saves my life. There is one friend in particular who has seen (or heard) me at my worst.
I think it takes incredible strength, courage and commitment to battle a mental illness —but the same can be said about those support individuals on the other side. It can take incredible strength, courage and commitment to stand by a person who is struggling and accept and love them for who they are and not allow their “brain” to change that.
Please keep this in mind and remember that we all struggle in life. Some of those struggles cannot be seen, so try to be compassionate, understanding and kind.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I’m still in bed next to my sleeping girls and my mind is still racing.
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