I have lived with the effects of anxiety for so long that the symptoms of anxiety almost seem normal to me. I remember how I used to feel anxious simply because my primary school teacher was unwell and having to go through the “change” of class or a new teacher for the day simply made me feel like my world was going to end.
I do not think there was a single day in my life that I have not worried or felt anxious about something. My anxiety is a part of me and after many years of battling it and feeling ashamed of it, I have accepted it. Even though I have accepted the fact that I have anxiety, it is not something that I enjoy because it is constantly reminding me that it is there even during my happiest of moments.
After many years of dealing with anxiety I learnt a few things; which include:
1. Not talking about your anxiety, only makes it worse.
Everybody deals with their “problems” in a different way. That said, many people tend to feel the need to hide their anxiety. Being one of them, I felt afraid that people will think I am weird, I sometimes still do. I felt that they might feel uncomfortable with what I am sharing but keeping it in only causes more damage. I remember feeling that having anxiety is a sign of weakness.
Due to all these constant worries and feelings, I developed insomnia. The minute I put my head on the pillow, thousands of thoughts came flooding in. I used to suffer from headaches everyday, my eating patterns changed completely; where I barely eat during the day and then eat at night due to hunger and fatigue.
I strongly emphasise on the importance of communication. It could really change the way you see yourself, and keep in mind that unfortunately people will always judge, no matter who you are and what you do.
2. It is ok if not everybody understands you.
Not many people might understand your anxiety, since everybody battles their anxiety in their own way. I have learnt that it is ok if somebody does not understand what I am feeling; however, out of the five people you told I have no doubt in my mind that there is one person who does understand what you are going through.
It takes a lot of courage to share your feelings and thoughts so choose a person whom you trust and whom you feel will definitely understand you.
3. Anxiety makes you feel sick.
Anxiety constantly makes you feel sick. You tend to suffer from headaches everyday, constantly feeling nauseous, dizzy, chest pains, breathing problems and many more.
You then end up googling your symptoms which only makes it worse. You end up booking a doctors appointment and after that you feel like you cannot sleep because you are waiting for the test results. After you finally receive the results you see that everything is…normal!
It still amazes me how this one word known as anxiety which seems so “simple” is actually a horrible monster who causes so much damage in your body and mind.
4. Anxiety can greatly affect your life
I noticed how anxiety can really affect your life. It affected me in a way that I would not want to go out, I would constantly have negative feelings towards going out; but then once I am there I tend to enjoy it; even though, at the back of my head I will be thinking what if I cannot carry out a conversation, what if I say the wrong thing, what if they think I am weird.
It affected me in a way that I did not apply for a particular course at university or a job interview because I felt that I was not able to succeed in that particular career.
I always wonder how my life would be if I did not have anxiety. How much more confident I would be and how much more sociable I would be. On the bad days I do wish that I do not have my anxiety; however, I would not be me. I have learnt to accept my anxiety because it is a part of me, it is me!
Please feel free to share with me your experiences!