Living with ongoing chronic anxiety is no picnic. Seems like everything in life is just harder for the anxious soul than it is for someone not burdened this way.
It can be harder to get up in the morning. Harder to get out the door. Harder to talk to other people and make decisions. Harder to enjoy a day when there is nothing visibly wrong.
Anxiety is a cousin of fear, depression and the unnameable dread.
When an anxious individual is asked what they are so worried about sometimes there will be specific fears but often it is a feeling — an all-encompassing physical sensation perhaps — that causes the sufferer to want to curl up in a ball, and rock, or run far and fast.
Or it may leave them feeling paralyzed and unable to act at all. To be unable to say why these intense reactions are trying to rule your life — well, that just makes it all even harder to bear.
I was an anxious child who grew up to be an anxious adult. When I was a teenager, my doctor called what I was suffering "floating anxiety" because it never seemed to be ABOUT anything. But it was crippling nonetheless.
Somewhere along the line, I have become more confident and less prone to anxiety but I'll never forget what it was like for me all those years. My heart goes out to those who are presently contending with this often invisible opponent.
Here are just 10 of the things your anxious friends would like everyone to understand:
1) Wanting to not be anxious doesn't make me less anxious.
Being told that if I just would try harder, or suggesting that I must want to feel this way just makes me feel worthless and angry. I can't explain to you, I can't even explain to myself. I need you to just take my word for things.
2) Dragging me into the center of attention does not make me less anxious.
Pushing me to do things "for my own good" is going to backfire. If you thought I was showing signs of anxiety before, wait till you see what happens when I'm a deer in the headlights.
3) Sometimes I need to be alone.
I may love people — I may love you!