The Mighty Logo

The Reality of the Anxiety I Could No Longer Hide

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I have anxiety and experience panic attacks, but that’s perfectly OK. This is a part of my life at the moment, I cannot change that this has happened to me, but I can change how this affects me. I have to be strong to fight this mental illness. I am not my illness.

My anxiety consists of:

Trying to breathe but feeling suffocated from forgetting to breathe.

Losing feeling so my whole body goes numb, and I need to move, but I cant move.

Feeling too little, yet feeling too much.

Encompassed by pain, tears, worry, desperately trying to fight it.

Drowning in tormenting thoughts.

Attacks coming slowly, then all… at… once.

Each attack varying – different, unpredictable, impulsive – punishing in its own individual cruel-binding way.

Crying instinctively, due to feelings of a lack of safety, security and comfort.

Having everything I want and need, yet struggling despite this.

Attacks corrupting me when I’m at my happiest and at my lowest.

Not knowing a trigger.

I am yet to know what’s caused my anxiety. That doesn’t mean I can’t fight this.

A bad day is…

continuous panic attacks,

uncontrollable upset,

concaving chest pain,

struggling to breathe,

saying I am OK when I am not,

feeling like I lack control of my mind and body,

feeling trapped, like there’s a lock on my health, and each day it gets tighter or looser,

feeling like a burden when I’m not,

being scared to ask for help when I need it the most,

getting frustrated with myself: Why am I not I better yet? Why am I like this? When will this cycle of internal agony be over?

having attacks:

when I wake up,

when I go to sleep,

in school,

not in school,

when I’m surrounded by people,

when I’m alone,

being in a constant state of nervousness and anxiety,

stressing over irrelevant things,

always thinking the worst,

losing sleep because my mind is too busy,

missing school,

missing social situations,

missing out on my teenage life,

just constantly worrying.

A good day is…

when I feel good about myself,

when I feel in control,

feeling safe and secure,

accepting change,

remaining calm when things go wrong,

getting to school,

spending time with those I love,

being in social situations,

eating well,

sleeping well,

being alone and being OK,

being with people and being OK,

not letting negative thoughts suffocate me,

knowing I am loved, wanted, needed and appreciated,

knowing I am not an inconvenience,

when people don’t mind helping me,

when people ask me if I am OK,

when I can feel happy,

when I can feel normal,

when I can feel OK.

I know what I want and need, and it is important for me to drop any negative parts of my life that cause me worry.

I can always help myself; I still need support. I need comfort from others, just like everyone else does. It is important for them to understand that my anxiety is not a personal attack on them.

Communication is the biggest help; distance is the worst.

No one should have to fight this alone. Anxiety can isolate you, making you feel like you are in a cage and everyone else is looking in… watching you slowly deteriorate, as your thoughts corrupt you. Holding onto the positivity in your life can bring so much happiness, while erasing the negativity can bring you a certifying closure. You may not always have answers, and that’s OK.

There were days I was too scared to ask for help, as I chose to believe other people have enough going on without me “burdening” them with my issues. So I disguised my pain. How would my friends understand that I lie awake at night terrified of them seeing me in a state of weakness? I couldn’t bear the thought of the emotional scars I’d enveloped myself with being disclosed. It took time, but I eventually realized everyone deserves to get the help they need. I am not my illness.

I bore my wounds. I got the truth.

By changing the “i” in “illness” to a “we” in “wellness,” I felt security from those who loved me. I was assured I was making them proud. The weight of my illness no longer fell on just my shoulders. I didn’t need to run away and hide, fighting my attacks by myself because someone was always there. I was picked up, supported, and brought on a journey — a journey of health, happiness and comfort – that I never got from being alone.

Positivity, patience and praises became the instruments to my recovery.

Inevitably, I still have days where I am tainted by my anxiety. But there are days I exceed any expectations I have of myself. Certainly, the good days surpass the bad days.

I accepted my mental illness I could no longer hide, and I became strong.

“Onwards and upwards,” a teacher encouraged me with today.

Onwards and upwards.

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

Thinkstock photo by sidmay

Originally published: April 19, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home