It feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest, making it almost impossible to breath. An uncontrollable feeling that comes from nowhere and is not easy to shake. An anxiety attack.
For over ten years I have lived everyday with anxiety. Although an anxiety attack does not occur everyday that does not mean it’s not a battle everyday. Going throughout my day, talking with people in class, going to work and putting that fake smile on my face. Are my emotions ever real or just a mask I put on so others can’t see what really happens behind closed doors.
It’s not that I don’t want to have these memories with my friends, but anxiety is like an uptight mother always in your ear. You just can’t stop the worrying. I know it sounds crazy, why can’t you just get over it, but it’s not that easy. Anxiety doesn’t just go away or turn off, it’s constantly there.
Everyday is a battle. From getting out of bed through falling asleep at night, there is never a second that goes by that your mind isn’t running. Most people see me as a quiet person but the truth is my mind is spinning. Thinking of every little thing that happened that day, everything that might happen tomorrow and everything that could happen two weeks from now.
When people find out I have anxiety they are shocked. I always get responses like “I had no idea” or “you’re always so happy.” This always makes me laugh, it just goes to show that no one ever truly knows who you are.
One thing I have learned from my anxiety is that majority of people have no idea how to respond or react to people with anxiety. When my friends see my anxiety show through they always seem to ask questions like, “what wrong?” or “you gotta just get over it.” These responses are the worst possible thing you can say to someone who is anxious.
Most people don’t understand that with anxiety you usually can’t pinpoint what is wrong and you sure as hell just can’t get over it. Anxiety is a tricky thing and the best thing you can do when you know or see someone going through it is to just be there. Offer a hug and then move on. Try not to focus on what is wrong and just distract them.
Just from looking at me you would have no idea that I struggle with anxiety everyday. That just earlier in the day I had an elephant on my chest and could barely catch my breath. Anxiety is something that many people struggle with everyday. It’s not easy and it’s not pretty but it’s life. Don’t try and understand it or fix it just understand that it is there and we will get through it.