Anxiety does not discriminate. Anxiety can strike anywhere, at any time, no matter what may be going on around you. It doesn’t matter if you’re surrounded by the hustle and bustle of everyday life or if you’re sitting in your room, enjoying the peace and quiet. It happens so very randomly.
For instance: this afternoon, I was sitting at my desk at work, trying to focus solely on my food in front of me and the hour break I had, and instead, my hands were ice cold and shaking, my heart was pounding heavily in my ears, my feet were fidgety against the floor. I was on the edge of panic because someone thought I made a mistake even though I didn’t.
It was a small misunderstanding. Lack of communication. I did nothing wrong. In fact, I was correct in my work, but here I was, and still am, replaying the words over and over and over in my head. “We shouldn’t have done that, we need to redo it right now,” to “Never mind, that was my bad…don’t worry about it.”
If only they knew that I’ll be worrying about it every second of every day, even though it’s over and done with.
I made this blog, along with reaching out to others struggling with mental illness and giving them hope, to hopefully give my family and friends and loved ones a little more insight into what anxiety can do to an individual…what anxiety does to me. There’s things I want, and need for you, to know.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve researched this damn mental illness. I can’t explain how many times I’ve found articles entitled “Ten things people with anxiety want you to know”, or “What anxiety is for me”, and I’ve sat there, moon-eyed, and have exclaimed, “ME, TOO!” or “I DO THE EXACT SAME THING!”
So maybe, just maybe, these things…these difficult things I’d like my loved ones to know…maybe you feel them and think them, too.
1. I am always worrying, and I hate it
It could be something as small as spilling a drink at a restaurant and hearing the waiter scoff…I promise you, I am worrying about it. I am overthinking it. I am overthinking, overthinking it. I am terrified of making the same mistake again, even if it sounds like it was nothing. To me, it is everything. I hate thinking like this. I hate being not able to not worry. It is one of the worst feelings in the entire world…not being able to control some of the thoughts in my mind. I am just as frustrated as you may be.
2. I will always apologize
Even if I’m not in the wrong, I will apologize. Like today at work, I apologized six times even though it wasn’t my fault, because I needed to make sure that nobody was upset with me, that I’ve fixed all broken bridges, that I’ve done my part to make things better. And I am sorry (see?) if this annoys you, or frustrates you, but please bear with me. I am going to apologize for every little thing I do, or don’t do. I can’t help it. It’s who I am. It’s inevitable.
3. I don’t want to cancel plans
I want, more than anything else, to be able to go to a party or go out with friends or even just to the beach, like a normal human being, but as I stated previously, anxiety hits me out of nowhere sometimes, and canceling plans, even if I may not want too, is my way of self-care. Going to that party, or a restaurant, or doing whatever it is that is making me feel anxious will just make me feel a million times worse. I’d canceled on my best friends last minute a few months back when we were supposed to go rock climbing. Why? I don’t know. But I knew that I needed too. I needed to take care of myself. Please try to realize that sitting on the couch and watching my favorite TV show or quietly reading a book is a coping mechanism for me. Sometimes, being out and about can just be far too much to bear.
4. I don’t want to come off as antisocial
This goes along with the canceling plans portion of this post. I don’t want to cancel my plans, nor do I want to come off as aloof or rude or standoffish. But I will worry incessantly about plans, cancel them to make myself feel better, and then worry about what those people who I flaked on think of me. It is a never-ending, vicious, humiliating cycle.
5. It is very, very, very real
I remember when I was younger and hearing about anxiety disorder and wondering if it even really exists, or if it’s all just in the individual’s mind. I would think, I’m sure it’s all in someone’s mind. Someone can’t be THAT anxious. I can tell you, after being diagnosed and having struggled for years, and continuing to struggle, that it is very real, and while it may seem irrational to you, it can be paralyzing and terrifying for the individual experiencing it.
6. We cannot just “calm down”
I am, as I’m sure everyone with anxiety is, unbelievably grateful for everyone who tries their very hardest to help me in times of pure panic. But becoming frustrated and scoffing, “Just calm down” will, in fact, do the opposite. I will panic more. If I could get myself to calm down, I would. But unfortunately, anxiety can be so debilitating that sometimes, we just can’t calm ourselves. We must cope with the ways we know and sometimes, we need to wait for the storm to pass on it’s own.
7. Trying and understanding
I appreciate, more than anything else, you doing your hardest to try and see things from my perspective. And even if you can’t, and even if you never will, you’re still trying. And that right there lessens the anxiety more than you know. Maybe you’ll never be able to understand it, because you’re not going through it, and that’s okay…but you’re listening and supporting me and that is all I could ever ask for.
8. I am always trying
Sometimes it may not look that way. When the anxiety can become so debilitating that I need to stay in, stay away from others, lay under a blanket…it may look like I am giving up, but I promise you I am not. Sometimes, the anxiety can hit so hard that I need a break and I need to lie down. I need to be by myself, or just with one person. I need to put on my pajamas and lay under a blanket and drink four cups of tea. Sometimes, small things like that help enormously.
But I promise you that I am always trying. I work tirelessly through therapy sessions and every single solitary day I try to help myself deal with this mental illness. I push through difficult moments and sometimes I can make it through, and sometimes I cannot. I use calming applications and soothing techniques and breathing exercises and serene music to help lessen the stress and worry. I try and try and try again, and even though it won’t ever fully go away, I know I am making progress. I will smile through the worry and giggle through the pain. I’ll have my breakdowns and cry-worthy vent sessions and therapy talks that I’ll have to end a few minutes early because my worry seems to spike. But I will fight and advocate and spread awareness for myself and for all of those struggling, too. I can promise, through thick and thin, we are always trying.
If you struggle with anxiety and are in need of some more support, follow Baylee on Instagram:
Her struggles are nothing short of inspiring, and her uplifting spirit and raw stories will help to remind you that you are NEVER alone.
“Grow through what you go through.”
“Thank you for being by my side when I’m beside myself.”
“You can handle more than you think.”
“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.”
“Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.”
“Try, and try, and try again.”