I’ve read so many articles on news sites, medical sites, Christian authors’ sites, and blogs enough to know this will probably rehash a few things you have read before. My purpose of writing this is to tell you what anxiety feels like first-hand, from someone a lot of my readers know or you’ve been reading this blog long enough that you feel like you know me. Many of the later have sent me emails and I appreciate it very much. I, too, have read other bloggers for a length of time and they feel like a friend. Thank you all for being my friend.
Having anxiety is knowing you have what honestly feels like you have a million things to do, but literally cannot fathom getting up to do a single one. I say literally because it’s true. You do not know how to start your day.
Having anxiety makes you feel awful about breaking plans with a friend because you cannot leave the house. Not because you’re too busy. Not because that friend will talk your ear off and pick a restaurant you don’t like. Because leaving the house means taking a shower. Taking a shower means you have to do your hair and makeup and not wear yoga pants and slippers like you’ve been in for two days because you can’t face people. Because facing people means you’ll have to talk to people and that’s the last thing you want to do.
Having anxiety means you put off phone calls because you don’t have the energy to call and pretend you’re ok and normal.
Having anxiety means you might take a medication just to get you through the day, but that medication might make you so relaxed that you’re comfortable watching a movie on your sofa instead of getting out.
Having anxiety makes you procrastinate. Even procrastinate doing things or seeing people you love because of what the expectations might be.
Having anxiety feels like everyone is judging you for not being at whatever the event is that you didn’t go to.
Anxiety means you sometimes have to fib about why you weren’t at that event.
Anxiety feels like you’re lying and it’s only a matter of time before you’re found out.
Anxiety feels like you’re wearing a mask when you’re in public.
Anxiety makes you feel that you’ve let other people down.
Anxiety makes you feel like you’ve disappointed people.
Anxiety makes you feel like you should give up.
Anxiety can (not always) lead to panic attacks. Panic attacks feel like a heart attack. It’s a physical AND mental thing.
Panic attacks make you feel like a freak.
Panic attacks make you not want to engage in the activity or go back to the place in which you had the panic attack.
Most of the time you cannot stop a panic attack from happening or simply make it stop.
Having anxiety makes others around you say they understand because they’ve been anxious before.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not just being anxious. It is a disorder just as Autism Spectrum Disorders. No one would argue that Autism is real, however people often do not understand of believe that GAD is a real disorder.
Anxiety makes you feel like you should be able to “snap out of it” or “cheer up,” as well meaning people tell you. But you can’t. Just like you can’t tell an autistic person to stop being autistic.
Having anxiety makes you angry when people tell you to “give it to God” as if you haven’t tried to pray away your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes praying is all you can do when your thoughts are racing and you can’t sleep because of them.
Anxiety makes you wonder if those same people tell people with cancer to just “give it to God.”
Having anxiety means you are sent this verse by Christian friends and family: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Having anxiety means you ask yourself if those friends and family members send Bible verses to friends with heart conditions as a cure-all for what ails them. And you answer yourself: “no, they would ask if they’ve gotten a second opinion. If they have a good doctor. If they’re taking medication.”
Anxiety makes you feel as though you let your Christian friends down even though you know what is in your heart.
Anxiety makes you feel alone.
Having anxiety feels like there is no good reason for how you feel, yet it’s inescapable.
When you have depression and anxiety it’s another dibilitating two-for-one package.
Having anxiety means no one can see on the outside that something is wrong.
Having anxiety means you don’t have a cast or a cane (even though you feel broken). You’re not dragging an oxygen tank behind you with tubes going to your nose (even though a panic attack makes it incredibly hard to breathe).
Anxiety feels like a slow death. Dying from the inside out with a life expectancy the same as any other “normal person,” only you’re not normal.
Thank you for reading as always.
I meant no offense to my Christian friends. I’ve been a Christian since I was 11 and I love Jesus. I don’t blame Jesus for not “curing” my anxiety just as you would not blame Him for not curing your tuberculosis. It’s not a matter of not believing enough. It’s not a matter of the condition of my heart. It’s a mental condition.