I often write about my anxiety on this blog.
Maybe you’re sick of reading it, or maybe you can relate. Maybe you’re a hypochondriac like me. If you are, share a soothing comment down below; it’s nice to know I’m not the only nerveball out there.
My anxiety has been ragin’ strong over the past year, and I’m not sure at what point I will finally recognize it’s an issue.
Last night, I was afraid to go to sleep because I thought I wouldn’t wake up. That probably should have tipped me off as a problem, but it didn’t.
Going to the doctor’s office last week because I had a 99.3 temperature and diarrhea and having the nurse tell me that I’ve voluntarily been to their office eight times in six months should have sent off a warning signal in my brain.
But it hasn’t.
I just continue to let my fears and anxieties consume me like a person with tape worm at a buffet. It can put me in a bad mood and sometimes it makes me not want to get out of bed.
There is a journal I’ve been noticing more and more lately in book stores and gift shops that encourages writers to keep track of all their anxieties, fears, neuroses and idiosyncrasies. I often think of buying it, but then I think, “Shit, I can save $20 and just write my issues down in a notebook!” But I forget to, mostly because I don’t want to come to terms with the fact that I have a problem that I can’t fix, at least right now.
And it’s not that I’m opposed to therapy; I’ve been before and it changed my life. It’s just, I think I can fix it myself. I think that there is absolutely no reason for me to be anxious, and that I can change it. But the reality is, I can only fix it so much.
What I’ve experienced this year made me realized that I’ve experienced the same thing, off and on, since I was a little girl. That the lying in bed at night, sweating, crying, fearful that someone was going to break in, that my parents were going to die or that I was going to be orphaned is the same thing I deal with currently. But now, I just have a greater understanding of what reality is, and that is what makes me even more anxious. I’m stuck somewhere between childlike fears and adult acceptance.
The more openly I’ve talked about my anxiety, the more I’ve met people just like me- both men and women. There are the ones who are sometimes afraid to go out in public out of fear they will have a panic attack in front of their friends. There are the ones that have gone to the ER or called an ambulance because they thought they were dying. There are the ones who think every ache or pain is a terminal disease. There are the ones who can’t stop worrying, about everything, all of the time.
When you’re friends or family say to you, “Oh, just stop worrying!” tell them you wish it was that easy. Believe us, we’d like to stop feeling like dogs in thunderstorms all of the time too! It’s physically and mentally exhausting. We know that it tests relationships and makes us irritable, depressed or not fun to be around.
I’m writing this because if you suffer from anxiety, you are very much not alone. When you’re going through an anxiety attack or feeling completely hopeless, many of your friends are going through the same exact thing. You’re not stupid or weak for having anxiety.
Life’s tough and scary, even when it isn’t.
You’re NOT alone. I’ve improved a little over the years, but some days it is still hard to fight those feelings back.
Deb, I’m glad to know that it has gotten better for you. I know that one day it will be better for me, but I’m not sure what the right answer is for fixing it.
My doctor recommend the The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
Edmund J. Bourne & I found it super helpful, you may want to check it out. I’m pretty convinced mine is genetic but there are lots of things that help. For me, swimming in Barton Springs especially helps, I think it’s a combo of exercise, beauty, being in the water & just the amazing vibes of the spot. Too bad in the summer these days getting into the damn park can CREATE more anxiety 😉
I will check that book out. Thank you! And you’re right- the growing population in Austin is enough to cause an anxiety attack! 🙂
That’s my anxiety every other night. I sleep with a small knife near my pillow, I have exits in my second floor apartment planned in case someone breaks in, it would be more important to jump out that window than to be killed by thathoodlum. i would write a will, and have been close to it (of course at 3am) but puss out cause then I may actually die.
Thanks for the post 🙂
Hey, Melissa! I’m no stranger to the knife near the bed story. Ha. I also keep a can of hornet spray.
Yes I have anxiety, A lot of times I feel like I’m alone but I’m lucky to have friends and family that make me feel otherwise. I am always glad to read blogs like this that offers comfort to people like me dealing with anxiety. I think that when you get support from people that you don’t know it becomes more special, It gives me courage and motivation that I can overcome my anxiety because I know that there are people out there that are rooting for me, Thank you so much for making this post.
As someone who has almost completely recovered from my general anxiety and the bouts of depression that previously resulted from it, the thing that changed my life profoundly (and continues to) is meditation. Seems like Austin’s got a lot of opportunities for beginners to dip a toe in and explore. One tool I know of specifically has been used for those with things like panic disorders, PTSD, etc. is mindfulness based stress reduction. Do some google-ing and consider giving it a try. 🙂
Hi Lauren. I just moved to Austin from San Diego (and Baton Rouge before that). I’ve always struggled with anxiety off and on, but when I moved to San Diego I descended into severe agoraphobia and panic disorder. I’m now on the other side of that chapter. Therapy and yoga were infinitely helpful, and I highly recommend the books The Happiness Trap and The Panic Attack Workbook. This is something I wrote at the height of my anxiety that might resonate with you:
The hallmark feature of anxiety is a relentless preoccupation with the possibility of future cataclysms. The paradox of anxiety is that the harder you try to suppress these thoughts, the more viciously they consume you.
Those who suffer from debilitating anxiety are master storytellers, able to concoct imaginative and labyrinthine epics with minimal effort. In “normal” people, the heartbeat says, “Lubdub. Lubdub. Lubdub.” In neurotically nervous individuals, the heart whispers a different metronome: “What if? What if? What if?”
What if I crash my car into a playground? What if I lose my job? What if I faint in the supermarket? What if I irrevocably lose my mind? What if I contract ebola? What if I fail colossally, and the critics christen me Waterloo?
As someone who is plagued by these inexorable thoughts of catastrophe, I’m beginning to understand one fundamental aspect of this disorder. In this scenario, there is only one “what if” – only one potential calamity out of all the infinite potential calamities – that will inevitably come true. I can say this with certainty: the only disaster that will be actualized is the one in which I live my entire life in a hermetic box of “safety.” And this box will grow smaller and smaller until eventually it shrinks into nonexistence. Someday when I’m old and decrepit, I will wake up and wonder where my life went, and the sad truth will dawn on me too late — that I spent every present moment obsessing over a future that would never unfold. I spent every present moment inside of my head and inside of my box, and to what end? I never attained that nebulous and fickle ideal that is every anxiety-sufferers delusive nirvana (see: safety). Indeed, I never attained or accomplished much of anything. I tried desperately to protect myself from the shadowy monsters within and without, so desperately, in fact, that I forgot to shield myself from the biggest behemoth of them all: the wasted moments, the life not lived.
If I can focus on this second right in front of me, my heartbeat might evolve from “What if? What if? What if?” to “I am. I am. I am.”
This article speaks to my soul. Thanks for writing!
This article made me smile and feel understood, thank you. Just discovered your blog and I’ll keep coming back.
I think most creative people, writers especially are connected to their feelings more then most people. I am not a writer, but I am a creative person and I have struggled with anxiety for over 8 years now. Just last month I realized I can’t fix it on my own and decided to see a counselor. I highly recommend doing something about it now because they will give you insight and clarity to how you think and feel. They will also give you tools to help you manage your thoughts and anxiety. I am so happy I am doing something about it now. I strongly recommend you go and see someone when you are ready. Life is too short to waste 8 years of your precious 20’s not living because you are scared. I hope you find peace and acceptance managing your anxiety.
I know this was posted over a year ago, but I thought I might be able to help. I too have had anxiety my entire life. Some rational (flying trapeze class) some irrational (I have a feeling that my husband is going to get into a car crash tonight). I’ve medicated with xanax, I’ve done therapy, behavioral techniques, practiced mediation and yoga, and none of it really helped until I cut out all sugar in my life and started taking probiotics.
This is probably just another crazy person post, but it worked for me. Not sure if it’s the sugar or the probiotics or both. It took a good month or so to kick in.
I’m sure it won’t work for everyone, but it might work for some.
Thank you for this.
Ah, I loved this. I love your writing style too. Found your personal blog via the Tiny House post on Medium. (I just bought a caravan, like, today. So far no anxiety, maybe because it is not as beautiful as the magazine ones. Still, it’s mine). Glad to have found you! Nic xx
I also feel anxious on a regular basis, there are just so many things that could go wrong every day. Two things that help me with this, honestly: Meditation and Sex.