A Piece of Me

August 25th 2017

tyler

Learning to live with a part of me that can be rather insufferable at times.

So I know I have written some terribly personal posts in the past that have been put up on my social media for the world to see, but I am particularly nervous about this one; simply because my anxiety has always been an incredibly private thing that I never really describe in detail to strangers or acquaintances. However, I hope this post helps people who may experience similar feelings feel less alone.

I have lived with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) my whole life. My anxiety is a part of me and many times, it is a part of me that I wish would take a vacation. I would never wish away my anxiety because it is part of who I am…however, at times, it makes living a bit more exhausting for me than it would if I were a person living without anxiety.

I’m actually surprised as to how often people without anxiety ask me to explain it. I am aware that anxiety differs from person to person (which is what I explain to people first) but this is how I explain mine:

I have a finite amount of energy when I start my day….for arguments sake, let’s say this is like one of those RPG games and I start with 15 energy points. So I wake up in the morning which goes one of two ways, (a) I wake up comfortably and at ease about the day ahead~[-0] or (b) I wake up feeling tense and anxious about the day ahead~[-2]. This means on mornings I’m feeling tense and anxious, I’m already starting at an 13. If my morning isn’t busy then I get to go to yoga~[-0/+1] If it is a good day at yoga then I can usually gain some energy back to complete my day. However, if I have to miss yoga against my will then~[-1]. So let’s say I’m still in a rush, I’ve already missed yoga, I’m super tense, and I’m already at 12. My choices are eat breakfast and have to rush more or skip breakfast and bring on anxiety from being too hungry so either way its another~[-1] So at this point it could be 9am and I could already be out about 1/3 of my energy for the day.

Now we move onto the work day. My commute regardless of the day or situation puts me at~[-1] because driving in rush hour heightens my anxiety substantially no matter how my actual drive goes. Now once I get to work my day goes a number of different ways. On an easy day where tasks flow effortlessly and I’m busy from start to finish, I may only lose~[-1/-2]. Anxiety is a constant part of my life so even when things are moving close to 100% smoothly, I still feel anxious. If a work day goes poorly and I feel overwhelmed, lonely, stressed, confused, bombarded, etc. then~[-3/-4]. So continuing on my worst case scenario day, I’m down to 6 now…that’s almost 2/3 of my energy lost by 5pm when my actual day starts. If I have to get home for a particular obligation where there is time pressure, the commute home is~[-2] instead of~[-1]. I’m up to 4. Now I have to choose what to do with my remaining energy. If I hit a 0 then that’s it, the point of panic attack and emotional breakdown.

Panic attacks are among the worst feelings in the world. I feel as though i am sweating on the inside, my body itches, my heart races, i feel cold and hot all at once, i can’t breathe, and I’ve even gotten physically sick before due to sheer panic. I do whatever I can to try to avoid it. So on particularly bad days, I could end up shutting myself in and pushing people away out of fear of triggering worse anxiety for myself.

So I’m mentioning this because I want people to think about it. On social media, on TV, in movies, we are led to believe anxiety is always caused by something, anxiety is this romanticized thing, anxiety is a word you just toss around. Anxiety is not just my stressful day at work, my anxiety is not just skipping breakfast, my anxiety is there at my highest or my lowest point. You can be an anxious person without having anxiety. I just want people to think about it. I want people to think about it because I’m tired of hearing “that science class gives me so much anxiety.”, “being late to work gives me so much anxiety.”, etc. Anxiety isn’t just feeling stressed for part of your day that is a common stressor to most people, it is a feeling that can be felt even when there is no cause. Some people have particular triggers, but overall, anxiety does not equal nervous, stressed, overwhelmed, etc., it is its own thing. Anxiety is not romantic. Anxiety does not make you appear cute, or fragile, or anything desirable. Anxiety is not beautiful, so let’s stop trying to color it as such.

Anxiety is difficult, but I have found that the more you work at improving it, the more easily you can deal with it. Taking up hobbies, finding good coping mechanisms, talking to a doctor or specialist, taking medication, meditating, reading reputable sources, are all great ways to making small changes to improve your situation, even slightly.

My anxiety is a part of me and it is not a curse.

Jess~

((DISCLAIMER: The thoughts, ideas, feelings, and insights offered are all based on my personal experience and can differ from person to person. My words are not meant to offend or generalize, nor am I claiming anything to be straight fact.))
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Published by

jessofearth

Jess, 22, yogi, believer in things, book worm, shy, aspiring human of Earth. I like to spend my time on a yoga mat, with a pen in my hand, my nose in a book, or behind the lens of a camera. I love to write about anything and everything. Book reviews, travel diaries, and abstract thoughts~

17 thoughts on “A Piece of Me

    1. Thank you! I just really want to change the conversation on mental illness. I am really tired of hearing people toss around anxiety, depression, bipolar, OCD, etc. without knowing what it is actually like to go through those illnesses~

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YES exactly! Like being nervous for a test is anxiety, being sad after a breakup isn’t depression, being moody isn’t bipolar disorder, and being tidy isn’t OCD. I just want people to see that there is more to these illnesses than how they are portrayed on TV and sometimes people have these illnesses and you can’t even tell so it is important to give everyone the same respect.

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      2. Exactly, I feel like it gives people this warped idea that mental illness is this glamorous thing or this romantic thing and that it’ll get you tons of support and attention like the people on TV but it isn’t like that at all

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  1. Girl we are kindred spirits! I resonate with this so hard, especially the part about anxiety feeling like a fixed ration from day to day. I think of it more like coins in an arcade, where sometimes you can play a game (read: self care) that gives you something in return but sometimes it dwindles down to paralyzing nothingness. Also I can’t emphasize enough how much of a difference seeking professional help can make. Keep writing stuff like this because people like me will always be grateful for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it resonated with you! That’s really my goal when writing, to write content that pulls from my personal experience while benefiting others. And I plan to continue writing about mental illness and health awareness as well as self care so long as I have readers who care enough to read! Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate anxiety. It grabs you by the ankle and throws you around every single moment of your life. And at times, there’s no choice but to roll with it. I would never wish for someone to go through it. I hope you get better. I think no one should have to live with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bravo!! Thank you for being so honest about something that so many others are so scared to be honest about. I completely agree with this, and it’s so refreshing to see such an honest and modern interpretations on what anxiety is actually like! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your supportive comment. Whenever I write stuff like this I always get nervous that I’ll have a bunch of trolls attacking me saying I’ve depicted anxiety wrong or something like that, so it makes me feel at ease to have gotten such positive feedback!:)

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