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What a 'Good Day' Looks Like for Someone With Anxiety

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We talk a lot about what makes anxiety hard to live with, and while it’s important to share our struggles, we can’t forget to celebrate our victories, too. Even if “good days” with anxiety seem like “normal days” for someone else, it’s important to hold on to the fact that these good days are possible — and they will come.

To get a sense of what a “good day” looks like, we asked people in our mental health community to share what a good day with anxiety means to them.

Here’s what they said:

1. “A good day is a day when I wake up without shaking. When I actually crave a certain food and enjoy eating. When I am able to do my normal daily routine without crying several times a day because it’s overwhelming, and best of all when I’m able to be present and have positive feelings towards those I most love instead of feeling nothing.” — Hiram M.

2. “A good day for me is being able to immediately go shower without spending hours working up to it. A good day is going to work and not having a panic attack. A good day is being able to communicate with others.” — Rene H.

3. “A good day is when I can answer the phone without feeling nauseous, or when I hear the doorbell and answer it rather than hiding behind the curtains hyperventilating until I’m 100 percent sure the person has gone away. A good day is when the mere thought of leaving the house doesn’t make my heart race. A good day is when I can reach out to friends without feeling that I’m burdening them or making them angry by bothering them. A good day is when I can merely exist even for a few hours without feeling an invisible weight crushing my body or a terrible sense of dread.” — Sarah S.

4. “A good day is one of adventure. Proving to myself that I can cross new social barriers without much incident.” — Alex N.

5. “A good day is when I don’t obsess about everything someone says. I don’t believe that the world hates me. I don’t feel completely alone when the phone doesn’t ring. I don’t tell myself that my friends are too busy to answer my calls for help. On a good day, I can get out of bed and function in a world I perceive to be my enemy.” — Rhonda M.

6. “A good day for me is waking up in a panic only to realize there’s nothing to panic about. Then I proceed to take my medicine that takes me from the panic attack level down to where my nerves are just plain jumpy. A good day for me is one where I’ve only had one or two panic attacks. A good day is one where I can convince myself that I haven’t done anything wrong.” — James T.

7. “A good day is not throwing up several times in the morning while I’m getting dressed/ getting ready to go somewhere. A good day is not feeling nauseous all day, and not taking multiple trips to a bathroom to dry heave or to throw up because I’m scared or because I’m anxious about having to do something that makes me uncomfortable. A good day is me not questioning or over analyzing every action or words said by myself or others. A good day is when I feel like it’s OK to have generalized anxiety disorder and high-functioning anxiety.” — Molly C.

8. “Good days are days during which I don’t constantly feel trapped and overwhelmed. Good days are days during which I can be patient with myself and remind myself that I’m sick — that I can take things at my own pace, and I don’t have to bull my way through things until I’m reduced to a trembling, sobbing mess.” — Amber W.

9. “A good day is not remembering I have anxiety. Not realizing until I get home at the end of the day that I didn’t feel anxious at all. Not having to be aware and vigilant of my mental health for a few hours. Being able to exist without thinking about it. Just living.” — Clara B.

10. “A good day is making it out of bed and into the shower the first time my alarm goes off. It’s showing affection to the people I care about without being clingy. It’s when I can make it through a day of school without contemplating leaving because my mind is too much for me to handle. It’s being able to smile without forcing it, it’s cracking jokes that aren’t detrimental to myself, it’s going the entire day without getting lost in my head. It’s being able to go to bed at night without tossing and turning for hours and without fearing that I’ll wake up sweating and shaking from nightmares.” — Keeli B.

11. “A good day for me is when my phone still has battery at the end of the day because I’ve not been Googling obsessively or playing games to distract my busy brain!” — Kirsty A.

12. “A good day is a day I manage to walk down the street without thinking I am in danger and being able to act freely without the fear of judgment or social difficulties.” — Katie C.

13. “A good day is being able to wake up in the morning and actually get out of bed. When I can go shopping or do other everyday things without panicking. When I can do things without having to mentally prepare for a long time, and when talking to people doesn’t make me cry or shake. And when falling asleep at night is easy instead of terrifying.” — Rosie F.

14. “A good day to me is when I laugh so hard until my stomach hurts, when I feel like nothing or no one can hurt me. When I’m not constantly over-analyzing everything about my day or the what ifs. But the best part is when I can control an in coming panic attack and I can calm myself down before it gets too bad, those are the good days!” — Becky U.

15. “A good day is when I can plan an outing for my child to somewhere I know will be crowded without having an exit plan. Without obsessively checking every bus, train, streetcar or taxi company in the area because ‘what if.’ It’s not having to ask someone else to come with us for fear that I’ll have a panic attack and need someone to help me keep it together. A good day is getting to be a ‘typical’ parent.” — Amanda C.

16. “A good day is when I feel. I can laugh honestly, feel my girlfriend’s love and really feel life.” — Eddie E.

17. “A good day is when I don’t feel my skin crawling because I’m overthinking that I’m ‘missing’ something or feel like I’m alone in a crowded room. When even if I might have a tiny spike of anxiety, I’m able to calm myself down quickly and continue on with my day. Those are the best days.” — Arisa R.

18. “A good day is when I can be myself in public. Or when I can actually order my own food at a restaurant without being self-conscious about what I’m ordering. Or when I can work in a group for class and be able to be a part of that group. A good day is when I can read aloud in class without my cheeks heating up or my heart beating out of my chest or almost burst into tears when I say a word wrong. A good day is when I can laugh and be myself around my friends.” — Isabella S.

19. “For me a good day is waking up and not spending 30 minutes challenging negative thoughts in my head. Not fearful that I don’t have enough time to get ready to go to work. Not feeling overwhelmed while at work or worrying I am going to say or do anything that might get me in trouble.” — Michael Q.

20. “I good day for me is when I can hold a pencil without shaking uncontrollably, and being able to write down notes from my classes without having a panic attack. A good day for me is when I don’t feel like crying every moment because I didn’t understand part of my homework completely. A good day for me is when I’m able to smile at people and say ‘I’m OK’ without lying.” — Nicole S.

21. “A good day for me is a normal day for anybody else. I just feel at peace. I feel loved. I feel calm and it’s finally quiet in my head. It is wonderful to enjoy my friends and family without feeling like I want to shy away in a corner.” — Marissa D.

22. “When my friends are around. Gives me a good distraction.” — Zakari P.

23. “A good day is a day when I have the strength and confidence to stand up for others.” — Greg P.

24. “Being able to be independent and not requiring constant reassurance or validation, either from the person I’m with or via text message, if I’m alone.” — Laura C.

25. “A good day for me is if I’m able to get through a social situation without backing out or having a panic attack. It might seem like a small thing to some, but interacting with others, especially strangers, makes my anxiety go into hyperdrive, so if I’m able to face that I feel really proud of myself.” — Lydia A.

Originally published: April 11, 2017
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