Ever get that pit feeling in your stomach like something is wrong and your head instantly starts going 90mph trying to figure out what it is? That’s what it’s like to have anxiety. Except that feeling doesn’t go away, it intensifies. You’re second guessing everything all the time. The thoughts don’t stop. You replay everything from the past day, week, month, year. It’s like you have all of these thoughts fighting eachother for the spotlight. You can’t focus on any one thing. There is no rhyme or reason, rational or irrational, it all blurs together. It’s the spin. It convinces you to find problems everywhere. Tells you you’re failing. Badgers you with the lists of things you can’t do and will never accomplish. It labels you worthless, a failure, and a complete screw up. You can’t do anything right. It demands attention and feeds on negativity. It’s really quite exhausting. You can have a perfectly good day and just like a thief in the night anxiety comes and steals your peace, your joy, your sleep, your voice, and your ability to see reason. It makes you feel like everyone is against you. No one loves you, not really. You’re tolerable at best. Anxiety is a mean vindictive bitch.
Having anxiety is so difficult. Some people will never understand it and the toll it takes on your mind and your body. It’s difficult for people to explain it. My anxiety personally stems from trauma. I wasn’t always this mess of a person. There was a time when I was optimistic, confident, outgoing, bright and shiny. Trauma, abuse, making myself less than, not prioritizing myself, and not feeling safe enough to be open about my feelings has done more damage to my psyche than I would ever want to openly admit. I was a shell of a person in the thick of it. I shut down everything that made me…well me to please others. I am the ultimate people pleaser. I hate conflict and confrontation. I don’t like talking about feelings or sharing problems. I like everything to have the appearance of being completely put together. Inside it truly feels like everything is about to explode and one wrong move or word could trigger the land mine that sets that explosion into action. I became very good at playing pretend and wearing the mask everyone expected.
My anxiety has gotten so much better over the past 6 months. It’s stayed in it’s lane and I’ve stayed in mine. It comes and hangs out for a bit every now and then, but I try to be quick to put it back in it’s place. I can pinpoint it. I know I can’t trust my gut instincts. I know my triggers. I can call on my rational and positive thoughts and place them in the spotlight. I’m quick to counteract it before it takes over. I center myself. I find the trigger and the reason I was triggered. I remind myself that my negative thoughts do not define me. I remember that my anxiety is a compulsive liar that feeds off of my insecurities and self doubt. I take time before responding to those around me so I can speak with confidence and not anxious irritability. I breathe into the current moment and repeat my rational argument to my irrational thoughts. The feeling passes, sometimes not immediately but it does pass. Recognizing your symptoms, your triggers, your why, and figuring out how to focus on your truth is key. I still have extemely bad days where I can’t fight it, but I don’t hide it anymore. It’s a part of me. I can work on it and try to continue to improve but my anxiety is a response to difficult situations, unsavory emotions, triggers from trauma, and an emotional response that you can’t always figure out. It may always be with me. I have had to learn to understand it.
I allowed my anxiety to control my life for many years. It was a miserable way to live. Anxiety isn’t a choice. No one wants to feel like that. No one chooses it and I honestly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s hell. I’ve stopped allowing anxiety to take the wheel. I have my days that it gets unmanageable but I can find my way back out of it. Finding coping mechanisms, strategies that work, learning to manipulate the feelings, and THERAPY! It takes a lot of work and a lot of resurfacing old wounds, but it’s worth it. It doesn’t happen over night, but slowly I saw myself changing behaviors. I wish I could erase and rewrite but if anxiety has done anything for me it has made me realize the strength it takes to live with it. I’m stronger than anxiety.
Behind these eyes are a thousand tears, harboring all of the darkest of fears. Spinning lies in the ocean of irrational thought, the waves of emotion make their unrelenting assault. Fighting to emerge from the overpowering tide, beaten broken and battered inside. A test of strength to survive such brutality. Breathe in deeply and come back to reality.Me, myself, and I – Threefold