What Anxiety Feels Like

If you have never suffered from anxiety, you probably don’t know what it feels like. I would also venture to say you might be someone who thinks or says “just get over it” or “mind over matter.” I have been that person – even when I am suffering myself.

For the last 20 years I have suffered from anxiety off and on. The thing about anxiety is that it comes in waves; some days you are good. Some days you will wake up and be like “I got this!” and you will have it all under control… for a while. Some days you will wake up and feel like the world is literally sitting on your chest.

People don’t understand anxiety, because you can’t see it. But, here’s the thing, it’s real. It’s very, very real; and it can be completely crippling. So, what does it feel like? Anxiety is different for everyone. For me, when I have a panic attack, or anxiety attack, this is what I go through.

My palms start to sweat. We’re talking teenage boy on his first date sweating… but my skin is ice cold. Then my heart starts to pound, and this isn’t a normal fast heart beat. This is an “I just met Norman Reedus” pounding heart.

At this point, I am starting to lose control of my body… all of these functions become involuntary, and my body rebels against me.

Then, because I have all this adrenaline pumping through my body, I become a jittery mess and I suddenly remember why people should never try speed… it’s not pretty friends. I begin to feel like I want to crawl out of my own skin.

If at this point, I can breathe slow and get it under control I am okay, and things will proceed at this point for a while, then it’s all good. If I cannot get it under control, then it’s all systems go. And suddenly, it’s red alert in my body.

My breathing quickens like I’m dancing at a rave on the top of Mt. Everest. If at this point, I can’t get it under control, then I begin to hyperventilate and my body begins to physically shut down. It says, “Bitch, you are not in control.”

On a “nomal” anxiety-filled day, I begin to fear even the most normal things… I don’t want to leave my house. The simple act of talking on the phone, or talking to another person makes me want to jump off a bridge. I simply want to curl in a ball and stay there… forever.

But, I can’t. And I don’t. Because I’m an adult. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. People expect me to get out of bed and function. They expect me to move on with my life and be okay. So, I plaster on a fake smile… I go to work… I mother… I wife… I exist. Because I don’t have time to break down. I don’t have time to freak out.

I suck it up and I move on… anxiety bubbling at the surface. Waiting.

If you suffer from anxiety, please know you are not alone. Please find someone you can trust and seek help… a doctor, a friend who will allow you an outlet to vent, something. Having anxiety is not something to be ashamed of, so please seek help. Check out seekhelp.org



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