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What the 'Messy' Side of My Anxiety Looks Like

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I’ve thought long and hard about posting these photos, for writing this post. I’ve thought about who it could harm, the damage it could do and who could see it. But my closest friend has been incredibly brave recently, so I’ve decided to be too.

There’s a enormous difference between experiencing anxiety and having an anxiety disorder. I’ve said it so many times, but most people still don’t hear me. I scream it from the rooftops, and spread it through all my social media yet people continue to ignore my warning.

When someone mentions they have an anxiety disorder, please don’t say, “oh I get anxious too.” Yes you do, but please, please recognize the distinction that the word “disorder” brings.

The word disorder was first documented in the late 14th century, and in medical use, it means functional abnormality. A disturbance in order, a disarray in what is deemed “normal,” “typical” behavior.

One simple word can change your whole perception, and disrupt everything you think is true.

For me, my anxiety disorder turned my life upside down. Even today, I’m still not sure if that was a positive or negative change. But finally being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder gave me the recognition I needed. I finally had a doctor say what’s in my head isn’t “normal.”

How does my anxiety disorder affect my life? The photos attached to this post are how my flat looked this weekend. For something that’s “just in my head,” anxiety screws up my life monumentally. I’m disgusted by myself, my flat and my behavior. The only area that is perfect is my hamster’s cage. I treat Rexy like a princess, after all she’s the only constant in my life.

I can imagine you have a lot of thoughts right now. How did you let it get so bad?! That’s horrific! You’re so lazy! For pity sake, clean up after yourself! You’re an embarrassment, grow up! 

There’s no easy answer. Having an anxiety disorder affects every decision I make — from putting on makeup, to cooking food, to texting a friend. I wish it didn’t, but that is the reality I face every second of my life. Sometimes that reality is more obvious to outsiders, and sometimes it isn’t.

This post is brutally, staggeringly, raw. I’ve put myself in an incredibly vulnerable position. Frankly, I’m terrified at the reaction there will be to this post. But I shouldn’t have to be.

No one should be scared about speaking out about their mental health, regardless of if they have a mental illness or not. We all have a mental well-being that we need to protect just as much we do our physical health.

This story originally appeared on Having a Natter With Nikii

Originally published: March 5, 2018
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