I have anxiety and these are the 8 things I want you to know. I also feel that these are 8 common things that come with anxiety that others would want you to know as well. So lets jump in…
1. I don’t have a on and off switch for my anxiety
I feel like a lot of the time people think I’m ‘putting on’ my anxiety. Do I really want my heart to be beating as fast as it is? Do I want to feel like I’m struggling to breathe? Do I want the humiliation I feel when I have an anxiety attack? The answer is clearly no. I bloody wish there was a ‘off switch’ for my anxiety but there isn’t which leads me to my next point..
2. Don’t tell me to “not be anxious”
Wow, I’ve never thought of ‘not being anxious’ before?!
When people tell me to “not be anxious” or to “stop being anxious” it makes me feel so stupid and embarrassed which leads to more anxiety because then I’m panicking that I’m making an idiot of myself. So yes, I’m sure you mean well but by telling me to “not be anxious” you’re only making it a million times worse for me.
3. I am not self-centred and yes I am aware that the world doesn’t revolve around me
I know I may come across as if I’m being all about myself when I’m anxious but when my anxiety is at its worst those anxious feelings are all consuming and makes it very hard for me to think about anything else. When my mental health is good I try my best to put others and their needs first and make it all about them so I’m not going to apologise for being about me when my anxiety is bad.
4. Yes, I’m aware that my anxiety makes me come across as very needy
One of the biggest side effects of having anxiety is needing constant reassurance in every aspect of my life be it in work, in my friendships, with men I’m dating, everywhere. I’m sure there are many reasons for this that my therapist and I will explore one day(no doubt my childhood will have something to do with it) but for now I’ve learnt to accept it. And guess what world, I expect you to accept it as well because its part of me and no one else is perfect either. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a fair few failed relationships and things that could’ve potentially turned in to relationships if it wasn’t for my neediness but these men can’t have been the right guys for me and that’s ok.
5. Anxiety can be downright embarrassing sometimes
I know I’ve touched on this in previous points but when I have a panic attack I feel so humiliated. Having to ask others for help for something that a lot of other people could do but you can’t because you’re having a panic attack about it is embarrassing, especially when it happens at work. I have a strong work ethic so when this happens at work I feel stupid, I get paranoid that people think I can’t do my job and I long to be as strong as my colleagues who appear super calm and composed all of the time.
6. My anxiety does not make me weak
Yes, I have anxiety. No, I am not weak.
For many people this may seem obvious, especially to people who know me. I mean I suffer from chronic anxiety but I still get out of bed 5 days per week to go to work, maintain a social life and work towards my dreams whilst sticking to a strict regime to minimise any increase in anxiety. This isn’t something a weak person could do right?! However, there are people out there who are bloody judgemental and/or just haven’t got a clue about mental health. People hear that I have anxiety and presume I can’t do things because of it without taking the time to chat to me and hear my story. This is something that makes me angry so me being the bold little woman I am confronts these people and explains to them exactly why I am capable of doing the task that they presume I can’t do because I have anxiety. But then I think, why the fuck should I have to justify and ‘prove’ myself to these people?! This is why I speak up about my own mental health and join the fight to break the stigma still surrounding mental health. So in the future others won’t need to justify and explain themselves in the way that I have to now.
7. My brain will find every worst case scenario possible, give me legitimate reasons as to why these worst case scenarios are going to happen and have me convinced that there’s no other possible outcome to the situation – all in the space of 5 seconds
Don’t believe me?! Try having anxiety, you’ll be amazed at what the brain can do. Or try and talk to me 5 seconds in to a panic attack and I’ll prove it to you. I’d go with the latter because as you can probably tell by now you really don’t want to suffer with anxiety. When the anxiety monster rears it’s ugly head it drowns out any ounce of logical thought in my brain and completely takes over which is why when I’m telling you about my impending doom mid anxiety attack, in that moment I genuinely believe it.
8. All I want is someone to listen and tell me I’m not crazy
When I have a panic attack all I want is someone to vent to. I want to get it all out. All the things that are whizzing around my head at a million miles an hour. Once it is out in the open it quietens in my head. I often think I’m crazy for having anxiety. I know this isn’t true because anxiety is an illness, it’s not just ‘Edwina being crazy’. But when I’m in the midst of an anxiety attack I’m so convinced that I am crazy and I really need someone to tell me that I’m not.
So these are what I want you to know about my anxiety. For those of you reading who do suffer with anxiety, do you agree? Is there anything you would add? For those of you without anxiety, does this give you a better understanding of anxiety? Do you feel better equipped to support someone with anxiety having read this post?
I know most of my posts are wrote from a personal point of view but this somehow feels more personal as this is my day to day reality. I wrote this in order to put some information about anxiety out there that is real, raw and honest. Because like I said earlier I want to be part of the fight to break down stigmas surrounding mental health. For this reason please share this post and let me know what you think.