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What My Anxiety Is and What It Isn't

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Anxiety kills me slowly. I have good days and bad days. I feel alone even when I am surrounded by people. I am fighting an invisible battle that you will never see. I am my own worst friend.

Anxiety tells me I am worthless and I am hopeless. Anxiety tells me I am unloveable. Anxiety sometimes feels like my best friend because anxiety is evil and tricks me.

Anxiety tells me it’s OK to sleep all day because you’re tired and deserve rest. Anxiety tells me I don’t need to eat dinner because I am full with worry. Anxiety tells me to stay in on Saturday night so I can go to church Sunday morning. Yet, then, it tells me I am a loser for staying in, and there is no point in going to church.

Anxiety tells me to make a to do list so I feel better, and then, it tells me there is too much to do and I should give up. Anxiety tells me to use my time wisely and clean up before leaving the house. Yet, then it yells at me for being late to work. Anxiety tells me it’s too much work to go check the mail box. It’s probably bad news inside anyways.

Anxiety tells me I am a loser if I do not get my master’s degree, and then it tells me I am a loser for trying. Anxiety tells me I am blessed to have found a career I love, but I should feel ashamed because it is not a real job anyways. Anxiety tells me I need to take a bath so I can relax, and then it fills my head with what ifs. Anxiety tells me to use alcohol to relax and be social, and then it fills my head with regret the next morning because that was not the real me.

Anxiety is trying to pray to God, but not being able to drown out anxiety’s voice. Anxiety is not being able to choose what you want at the store, buying all of it and then feeling worse for spending money. Anxiety is waiting too long to make plans and to text back. Anxiety is watching the phone ring, letting it go to voicemail and then being too embarrassed to listen to the voicemail.

Anxiety is crying because you are crying, worrying because you are worrying and stressing because you are stressed. Anxiety is shaking uncontrollably because all of a sudden you do not recognize your own body. Anxiety is like watching yourself on the floor crying and not knowing how to help yourself. Anxiety is knowing what anxiety feels like but not understanding any of it.

Anxiety is feeling too overwhelmed to stop and get gas when the light comes on. Anxiety is wanting to do your hair pretty, getting books on hairstyles, pinning pins on Pinterest and building your own vanity just to sit there and not feel like trying. Anxiety is meal prepping and buying healthy food just to watch it rot in the fridge. Anxiety is making plans and then canceling. Anxiety is feeling motivated and inspired while stuck in quicksand.

Anxiety is a pounding heart, a sweating body and a fake smile. Anxiety is buying plants because they are suppose to relieve stress, potting them, placing them in the perfect spot and then over thinking something as simple as watering them so they die. Anxiety is forgetting to take anxiety medicine and then getting brain zaps. Anxiety is wishing for a quick fix.

Anxiety is tired of explaining what anxiety is like to love ones. Anxiety is wanting to run away and start fresh. Anxiety is stressing out after a dream that felt real. Anxiety is fearing the unknown and stressing about what’s planned. Anxiety is replaying conversations over and over in your head wondering if you said the right thing. Anxiety is being stuck in the future and the past and never living in the present. Anxiety is feeling overwhelmed by too many toothpaste options at the grocery store. Anxiety is not being able to choose what to wear and crying and sleeping instead of going out.

Anxiety is lonely. Anxiety is exhausting. Anxiety is hurtful. Anxiety is misunderstood. Anxiety is the shadow I am learning will never leave me.

However, I am also learning anxiety is not always right. Anxiety is not always in control. Anxiety is jealous and doesn’t want me to share. Yet, I am sharing because I know so many people are struggling like me. I always have been, and I always will, but having anxiety does not mean you have to do it alone. You are not alone. You are brave. You will be OK. This too shall pass.

Image via contributor.

Originally published: October 10, 2016
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