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Erin Holt

A 'Glitch' in Your Brain Called Anxiety

“Something is wrong. Nothing works anymore. My meds are broken. My brain is broken!” I literally cried to my therapist over the phone while sitting in the parking lot of Starbucks. These feelings of intense irritability, anxiety and everything in between hit me hard, leaving me wanting to cry for no reason other than the mere frustration of feeling this way. Why do I feel this way? What has changed? Why did my meds stop working? Were the feelings coming from my brain so strong they exceeded the limitations of my coping mechanisms and the various medications I am on? I couldn’t help but question everything about my mere existence in those moments when I was crying to (let’s be honest, at, I was crying at) my therapist. I wanted things fixed, and I was exhausted with my own questioning, my own futile attempts at trying to fix what I didn’t understand. You see, I was trying to fix my own mind. Mine. The one I was born with, the one that learned how to read, how to write, how to do math, remembered choreography and recited poetry. This wonderful organ that can do so many incredible things. Yet, there is a glitch in mine. Apparently, a glitch called anxiety. It causes my mind to go into a vicious and exhausting cycle of what ifs, whys, overthinking, overanalyzing and over-everything, leaving me feeling like someone took a Rolodex and spun it except it just doesn’t ever slow down. That’s what I wanted. I just wanted everything to stop or pause to give me the space to process the feelings. Yet, the feelings and whatever it was that was contributing to the feelings were all coming so fast I couldn’t keep up. It comes down to the fact that I just couldn’t cope. Fortunately, I have an amazing therapist, who in the span of about 10 minutes, was able to get me calm enough to wipe away my tears, start my car and drive to work. I had what we in the biz call an anxiety flare-up. You know, you’re going along just fine, and then, seemingly out of the blue, your world is turned upside down and inside out all at once. Apparently, that’s the thing with anxiety. It’s always growing and learning (kinda like our minds) and latching onto things we don’t realize. Yet, the power we have over it is the ability to cope with it. With lots of talk therapy and sometimes the help of a little medication to give us the space we need to process, we can and will make it through to the other side. Friends, we will see each other on the other side. We can do this together. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Image via Thinkstock

Oddly Specific Metaphors to Describe Living With Anxiety

Anxiety is weird, and that makes describing it to somebody without anxiety pretty weird too. Sure, anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are mental by nature, but what about the churning stomach, the Arctic chills, the roaring fire that makes you feel like you’re going to sweat right through your clothes? For Mighty Leader Nina, it’s a rushing tidal wave that washes over her, making her feel unsafe. Anxiety is full of odd and downright unpleasant physical and mental sensations, but that makes for some pretty great metaphors. That’s why we asked our Let’s Talk Anxiety group for their descriptions of what anxiety feels like for them. This is what they had to say: “My anxiety is like the sound of heavy snakes slivering and hissing. It is like I am a vessel and I am being filled with a sort of warm thick liquid that is toxic. It creeps into my body and takes over like a drill sergeant. It says, ‘you will not be happy. You will be afraid. I do not offer you any peace.’” — @merryanne “Embarrassing. It feels like a combination of nausea, a horny sensation, dizziness, and shortness of breath. It comes on suddenly like a summer storm.” — @fathousewife “It’s like being in a room but the walls and ceiling close in to crush me. Also, the room has water flooding in so I’m about to get crushed and drown at the same time.” — @infinitelyrelevantsteph “I sometimes feel like my body is on fire, cooking from inside out.” — @keepingitreal80 “I feel like I’m slowly freezing and solidifying.” — @sjbarto “It is like a constant buzzing of unsteadiness in my mind making me doubt every action, thought, and sentence. I always have a pit in my stomach from it.” — @knellie1 “It feels like an invader in my mind, threatening to take over everything, to take away all that is joyful.” — @mfplodek “An impending feeling of doom, like something is going to fall out of the sky and crush me. My mind becomes loud, like 80s TV static, mixed with the test pattern after all the local stations went off the air… And, negative flights of thoughts are ricocheting around my head like super high bounce balls.” — @sadbearissad “I feel so unsafe when I’m in high anxiety mode that I call myself a ‘runner’ inside. It’s like my mind and soul want to run away, and keep on running until I ‘outrun’ the imaginary doom chasing me down.” — @michellearbeau “Like a crowded room full of people fighting.” — @lobaregina “Whirlwind of emotions, almost like a tree in a bad storm, limbs being broken, then a whirlwind causing leaves flying and turmoil.” — @rachelhorn3 “Like I’m constantly running a marathon and my heart rate is so high that my heart might pound right through my chest.” — @monika-sudakov How would you describe your experience with anxiety or another mental illness? Let us know in the comments below.

Community Voices

Being Useless

How do we keep going? I see people begging for change or someone toothless, smoking and coughing in line at the bank on Welfare Check day and I can’t understand how they can bear to be alive when I find it so hard and I have a place (not great but bearable) to live. I say live but, of course, I mean exist. COVID has been such a great cover/excuse for declining invitations to anything. I’m just struggling to create enough feasible excuses to keep going, I guess. At 70, I have yet to have a meaningful relationship with another human being, such is my self-hatred. To keep existing so that some relatives might be sad for a bit, is an excuse that’s wearing thin.

#MentalHealth

15 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Being Useless

How do we keep going? I see people begging for change or someone toothless, smoking and coughing in line at the bank on Welfare Check day and I can’t understand how they can bear to be alive when I find it so hard and I have a place (not great but bearable) to live. I say live but, of course, I mean exist. COVID has been such a great cover/excuse for declining invitations to anything. I’m just struggling to create enough feasible excuses to keep going, I guess. At 70, I have yet to have a meaningful relationship with another human being, such is my self-hatred. To keep existing so that some relatives might be sad for a bit, is an excuse that’s wearing thin.

#MentalHealth

15 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Being Useless

How do we keep going? I see people begging for change or someone toothless, smoking and coughing in line at the bank on Welfare Check day and I can’t understand how they can bear to be alive when I find it so hard and I have a place (not great but bearable) to live. I say live but, of course, I mean exist. COVID has been such a great cover/excuse for declining invitations to anything. I’m just struggling to create enough feasible excuses to keep going, I guess. At 70, I have yet to have a meaningful relationship with another human being, such is my self-hatred. To keep existing so that some relatives might be sad for a bit, is an excuse that’s wearing thin.

#MentalHealth

15 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Being Useless

How do we keep going? I see people begging for change or someone toothless, smoking and coughing in line at the bank on Welfare Check day and I can’t understand how they can bear to be alive when I find it so hard and I have a place (not great but bearable) to live. I say live but, of course, I mean exist. COVID has been such a great cover/excuse for declining invitations to anything. I’m just struggling to create enough feasible excuses to keep going, I guess. At 70, I have yet to have a meaningful relationship with another human being, such is my self-hatred. To keep existing so that some relatives might be sad for a bit, is an excuse that’s wearing thin.

#MentalHealth

15 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Being Useless

How do we keep going? I see people begging for change or someone toothless, smoking and coughing in line at the bank on Welfare Check day and I can’t understand how they can bear to be alive when I find it so hard and I have a place (not great but bearable) to live. I say live but, of course, I mean exist. COVID has been such a great cover/excuse for declining invitations to anything. I’m just struggling to create enough feasible excuses to keep going, I guess. At 70, I have yet to have a meaningful relationship with another human being, such is my self-hatred. To keep existing so that some relatives might be sad for a bit, is an excuse that’s wearing thin.

#MentalHealth

15 people are talking about this
Jaimie Schmitz

The Pain in Being Loved When You Hate Yourself

I’ve read so many articles, books, blogs, and journals on how to love someone with depression. I’ve talked to people who love people with depression and listened to how they know it in no way defines their love for that human. I’ve watched family members and friends go through phases of depression, be loved through it all, and love while combating it. I’ve heard stories of my father loving my mother through her postpartum depression and thinking that just made her a stronger mother. I’ve seen the aftermath of parents, siblings, spouses and kids after someone dies by suicide. I’ve seen my family and friends love me so hard when I went public with this battle in my head. I have even recently seen the most amazing man’s heart break because I can’t give him the relationship he longs for and most of all deserves. My little brother has held and prayed over me for peace as I cry for no reason. My older brother has never missed a 3-a.m. call from me just to ask a silly question that in the end has so much more hiding behind it. He never resents me for that because that’s what cops do — they listen, protect and provide the comfort and strength when it’s needed. My parents went through hell watching their daughter wired up to machines in a hospital room to make sure the overdose didn’t cause any damage and then continued to walk through the same hell when I continued lying about being OK. They love me. They never once told me I was too much. They never asked for this, but they also never asked that any of it would go away. The world’s most amazing humans, building me up and letting me know how much they absolutely adore me, constantly surround me. It has always been that way. Jaimie, surrounded by love, hates herself. I have very little hate towards anyone else in this world, and it is because I have so much hate for myself. When I was younger I hated my face (like most 12-year-olds because puberty sucks).Then in high school I hated my brain because I just wasn’t smart enough to do anything right (besides get into every college I applied to with scholarships, but other than that). But in college, I hated myself for no reason. I didn’t suck to look at, I was doing well in my classes, I volunteered and worked with campus organizations, and was even an award-winning radio journalist. But what really made me hate myself is when I met someone who continued to choose to love me. For months and months he had a way out, and I even tried to force him to take that out more than most. But he chose to stay. That made my hate myself the most. My family is stuck with me because of blood, but they would run if they could, right? So why the hell is this amazing human staying when I can’t give him a “normal” or remotely healthy relationship? I knew I loved him from just a month into the relationship, but I didn’t want to say it because then he would be stuck with me in a way. It is easier to leave before that L-word is thrown out. Now that it is, I love him more, all while hating myself more. He and my mother talk and share strategies on how to love me through it. They share strategies I will never understand. They follow maps through my brain; they only know how to navigate by learning each one trial by error. They see the scars — mental, emotional and physical — and love on. While I can barely live on, they love on. What is loving Jaimie like? I never ask what they love about me because I don’t want to hear it. There is no way I will see it like they do, and it just frustrates me. They give me their all — emotionally, spiritually, financially, and even physically when I can’t handle life myself. They love a human who hates herself more than anything on this planet. They continue to support the potential of someone who can’t see the potential or the future for that matter. They love the world’s best liar who continues to lie every single time anyone says, “How are you?” They love someone who continues to add to the pain and hate of themselves. There are such drastic feelings in my life, and I can’t get rid of the feelings or the people who constantly have them. These people spend their lives constantly saving mine when I don’t want to be saved. Without fail, they are at my door. They put a Band-Aid on my wound and continue loving Jaimie. They will continue loving Jaimie and seeing the beauty in her head. I just wish I could love Jaimie like that. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 o r text “START” to 741-741 . Follow this journey on Loving Jaimie. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .