Today I want to talk about something that alot of people go through. That heart wrenching, stomach twisting, irrational fear inducing monkey on your back which the doctors like to call 'anxiety'. I am not talking about the kind of anxiety you get when the guy you like is standing close to you and your wondering if your breath smells or the kind you get when your going to miss your bus. I am talking about hardcore stuff, the kind of anxiety that may require medication to control. For those of you who have it, this is a post I hope you will relate to and for those of you who do not have it, I hope this sheds some light on the issue. Let's discuss some of the key...symptoms, if you will, of this disorder. So, lets begin, shall we...
Most people relate the term "butterflies in my stomach" with a positive experience, such as being in love.
Although I have experienced "butterflies" in more positive situations, I more often than not feel the kind of "butterflies" that stop you from going about your normal day, The kind that rip you to shreds on the inside. You have this constant feeling of anticipation, wondering what is going to happen next. Mostly the anticipation of something having a negative outcome. You are always waiting for the next big twist in life, the next bout of bad news. I feel like when it comes to anxiety, you are never in anticipation of something positive happening, but rather sitting and waiting for life to get worse, Sometimes anxiety can cause you to wonder how things are going to pan out in a certain situation. Wondering how the pieces are going to fit together. Like if someone is planning a group of friends going to a movie and all of a sudden your start thinking about all the reasons that the plan might not work. For instance, someone has to work, your car breaks down, you have an accident, someone gets sick, your cat gets sick, your cat dies, you get the plague, your die of the plague, someone has to plan your funeral....I could go on.
Another physical symptom of anxiety, the shakes come when your anixety hits its peak. Sometimes when you get the news you have been waiting for, you begin thinking of all the little details and you overwhelm yourself with concern, Your body beings to react with your thoughts and before you know it you can't hold your glass steady anymore. And don't even get me started on how you react if someone notices your shake.
Let's put ourselves in a relatively normal situation for a sec, shall we? You are told that you have a crowd coming to your home for dinner and your immediate thought is what to make for dinner, right? WRONG! When you have anxiety, your thoughts lead to the details, things like, what if someone is allergic your cats, what if you don't have enough chairs for everyone to sit,what if your cooking isn't good, what if your red shirt makes you look fat, what if your nails aren't painted, what if your guests notice the zit on your chin...it never ends. You begin to think of all the things that have no baring on any of the future events. The term "dont sweat the small stuff" was probably written about people with anxiety. The problem with that is, nothing is too small when you have anxiety. Every issue is a big issue, a mole hill that turns into a mountain by the moment.
Do you ever wish your brain had an 'off' button? Well, if you know someone with anxiety, I guarantee they have rubbed a few lamps wishing for that little red switch. Sometimes you just lay in bed and you just. can't. stop. thinking about all the things that need to get done in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening oh, and before you go to bed the next evening. You think about all the bills you need to pay, the hours you have to work and the chicken you need to let thaw for dinner.
This post only scratches the surface of an anxiety ridden life.
At the end of the day, I don't think anyone can fully explain the feeling of honest-to-goodness anxiety but we can try and understand it. Maybe even sympathize with the next person we see crouching in the corner of a busy mall (guilty). Until next time...