Anxiety is “a nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks”, in psychiatric terms. But what is anxiety to me? Anxiety is feeling like a deer in headlights, its dealing with a seemingly permanent tight, constricted chest, its struggling to do the most mundane things.
What anxiety feels like?
Anxiety is a hard thing to describe, it’s not a feeling – well it isn’t to me at least – it is a constant part of you, as if it is integrated in to your personality. Not every anxiety attack is a panic attack, and not every one is crippling but every anxiety attack is a valid reaction. Stress hormones are released when you become anxious and therefore adrenaline encourages the fight or flight response, this causes the anxiety attack. Some of the time the anxiousness can be controlled especially when in a situation when you do not feel under pressure. However there are many times when it is very difficult to control. Anxiety feels like there is a tight knot around your stomach and chest, it gets tighter and tighter like the rope might snap and when it does you lose control of your body and mind, you can feel your palms getting sweaty and you can feel yourself becoming hotter and hotter. You constantly look in every direction possible looking for someone who isn’t there, you avoid things, you don’t do what you want to do because of how it makes you feel. Anxiety is like a knife in the stomach that never seems to go away.
How people see anxiety?
A lot of people in today’s generation see anxiety as the new ‘in’ as if it isn’t really a real problem. Many parents, once you try to tell them, deny it exists this is because they ar scared, they are scared their child might have an imaginary disease they can’t take away, if your parents struggle to understand this try to give them an analogy, something to relate to. Eventually, you will get through even if you don’t feel it your parents will always have some ounce of love in them if that if what causes you to struggle. They are just humans too. There will be some people who won’t even see your anxiety as a problem, they will just see you for who you are, don’t let go of these people. There is someone out there who wants to understand and care for you.
I struggle with anxiety probably the most whenever I leave the house, an outfit I love in my room quickly becomes a horrible idea when I leave the house, walking to school I’m riddled with worries for the day, eating in public is a problem, I beg my friends to pay for thing when I can’t bear to face up to my anxiety, I go out and I constantly turn my head looking around everywhere like a deer in headlights, I absolutely cannot deal with embarrassment without a panic attack. I’ve had anxiety since I was about thirteen and I still struggle to come to grips with it.
I asked one of my friends to describe my anxiety in the best way that they could, I also asked them a series of questions to prompt their response, just to see how it was making them feel.
“You look like a new-born puppy you curl up and fidget uncomfortably. When you have to talk to people you don’t know you struggle to find the words and trip up on yourself. When your anxiety kicks in I just want to cuddle you and tell you it will all be okay but at the same time I can’t understand the feelings that go through your head since I don’t have anxiety, I’m quite a forward person so I find it hard to help you since i can never really understand or relate but I want to.”
I realise that my anxiety affects me the most because I live with it every day however I chose to find out how my anxiety affects my friends too. I was generally curious but I was also nervous about whether or not I was a burden to them because of it. Typical.
“It makes me upset that someone with such strong opinions has problems being able to share them because of how you feel inside.“
“Not much cause it isn’t mine but it makes me sad cause you are really intelligent and get scared by the littlest things and you can’t help it.“
“I wouldn’t say it really affects me, it just breaks my heart at how scared you are and I see that look where you’re trying to stand up to it and sometimes you can and I love it but sometimes its really hard for you and that upsets me but I love how determined you are, you never let it knock you back.”
I followed up this question with how do you think it feels to have anxiety from what you already know.
“I can’t really describe it since I don’t experience it but its like an invisible hand holding you to the floor, that no one but you can see so people don’t believe the struggle you face but it seems awful.”
Are there any benefits of anxiety?
It may not seem that there are any benefits of anxiety however everything has its advantages and disadvantages. It took me a while to find an advantage of anxiety but the one that sticks out to me is how close it can make you feel to people. It takes a lot to work up the courage to talk about your anxiety when do and speak to a friend you trust you feel so much closer to them and it can help you maintain your relationships. The biggest benefit of anxiety I have found is how much it has mad me appreciate my friends; she’s probably already forgotten it but my best friend stood in front of me, hiding me from people, just so that I could eat a cookie without panicking, she showed me so much love in one small gesture and I’ll never forget the luck I felt to have someone in my life who would protect me like that, I never even thanked her so thank you I appreciate it. This is why you’re my Kaleidoscope.
What if I have anxiety?
If you have anxiety or even think you have anxiety please research more into it but do not ever do Google search quizzes to see if you have an anxiety disorder.
Visit the NHS website for more information and please see a doctor, this is the person who can get you the most help. You are not alone in your feelings. Speak to a trusted friend, once you get how you feel out an entire weight will deflate off your shoulders, if there really is no one you feel comfortable speaking to then do not hesitate to contact me, all messages will be responded to. Anxiety is just an illness it doesn’t define who you are.