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Archive for September, 2015

What does anxiety feel like? It feels like shit.

Anxiety is seeing that guy who left you. Anxiety is worrying over whether you’re doing good enough. Anxiety is feeling left out in your usual social circles. Anxiety is the pressure not to screw up. You tell yourself you’ll be alright, that it’s not the end of the world, that you’re feeling better. But the moment you try to stand up and move your feet… you can’t.

You look down at your hands, and you notice they’re shaking uncontrollably. The room starts to feel unusually cold, and suddenly, your entire body starts shivering. Something heavy drops inside your chest, it falls further down to your stomach, and you don’t know what exactly it is. You’re trying your best to stay standing, because your legs feel like they’re about to turn into water the moment you make a single move. A rush of heat starts flowing up to your head, and your eyes suddenly feel like they’re burning. You feel like crying, but tears refuse to pool and stream down your face. Your throat starts growing tight, and your heart starts beating fast… so fast it feels like it’s about to burst out of your mouth. Then you start taking small, choking breaths, because you feel like there is a lack of air. The next thing you know, you’re hyperventilating. It doesn’t just last for three minutes, it lasts for almost ten, and you don’t know when it’s going to stop.

You try your hardest to stay strong, but there are moments when you want to give in. After a while, your body begins to grow weak, and your eyelids start to feel heavy. Suddenly, the thought of collapsing on the ground doesn’t sound so bad at all. You start growing tired of everything – tired of thinking, tired of standing, tired of arguing, tired of living… tired of fighting. You just want to fall on all fours, let the negative thoughts consume you, until it becomes so unbearable, you begin to cry. You want the tears to fall, and you don’t want them to stop. You let yourself scream, sob, and hiccup. You allow yourself to cry now, in the hopes that you’ll feel better afterwards. But you don’t feel better, you feel nothing but exhaustion and a terrible headache from the lack of oxygen in your brain. And all you want to do is collapse on your bed, fall asleep, and wake up in the hopes that all your problems have disappeared.

Yes, breaking down does sound like a wonderful idea, but a voice in the back of your head refuses to let you lose. It won’t let you cry, it won’t let you fall down without a fight. That small voice is a like a cheerleader wanting to be heard. It reminds you to calm down, sit down, stop shaking, and breathe. It’s that small voice that’ll tell you to stay strong through the attack, and tell you to show others that you are more than just your anxiety. Once it’s all over, you’ll still feel that terrible exhaustion, but that small voice at the back of your mind will remind you, “You may be tired, but you survived. Now go grab some food, you deserve it.”

Anxiety isn’t just a one-time episode, it can happen as many times as you allow it to. Sometimes, it happens subconsciously when you’re exposed to an event that triggers it. I’ve had my fair share of anxiety for the past 2 years, and sometimes they get worse. The funny thing is that the more you become aware of your anxiety, the more frequent it occurs, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because the more aware you become of your anxiety, the better you’ll understand yourself – who you are, and what you really want in life. And eventually it will help you control your anxiety more easily by avoiding events that trigger it.

Yes, anxiety is a bitch. It is one of the worst feelings imaginable. You’ll want to cry, you’ll want to break down, but in the end, try and push through, because once the attack subsides, you can say to yourself with much pride: “I have anxiety, and I’m still alive. I’ll go through more of these anxiety attacks again, but I know I’ll be okay.”

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