Understanding anxiety from a young Woman’s eyes

Anxiety is a strong negative experience, and if you suffer from it, you know that it is not something you feel on some days, but it’s something you feel everyday and sometimes, all day.  As an anxiety sufferer myself, I know that it takes a great deal of energy to manage the anxiety, especially on the days when it peaks so high that you can’t breathe.

I hope the following gives you hope that you are not alone. I hope that the following makes you realize that you are not losing your mind, or that you’ve lost it. The following comes from a 20 year old woman who fights with anxiety everyday. Some days, she and her anxiety can function side by side, but some days, it wears her down.

Please read and share your thoughts. And, please know that you are NOT ALONE.

Anxiety is a living hell. I didn’t sign up for this. I don’t want this. Anxiety is where you believe that everybody hates you, including your own family. You feel like you’re not loved, but when somebody does show you love, you feel like you don’t deserve it. Anxiety is having a million thoughts running through your head while you’re trying to focus on one thing. No matter how hard you try to stop the thoughts, they just keep coming and coming and they eventually take over. It’s like a bomb went off and you’re trying to calm yourself down and then someone talks to you or asks you something and you go off on them and take out your frustrations on them.

Then it makes you seem like a rude and angry person. A person no one wants to be around. Little tasks become big ones and you dread the little tasks and it takes you a whole day to accomplish them. You can’t go out in public because you think people are looking at you and judging you. You can’t get a job because you fear you’ll be judged or you won’t be a good enough employee. You don’t know what to expect. Just being around people makes you want to run and hide. In anxiety provoking situations, you can’t focus, your mind is racing, your heart is pounding, you get dizzy, your stomach knots, and all you want is to escape. When you’re in an anxiety provoking situation and you’re eating, you have trouble swallowing and you feel like you’re going to choke. You don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because you don’t know what anxiety has in store for you, so you sleep in and you seem lazy and you annoy your family because you get to sleep in and they don’t.

You are seen as irresponsible. “You are twenty years old” they say. You’re supposed to be an adult, but yet you don’t feel like one or get treated like one. Anxiety stops you from living. You’re not living, you’re existing. And it sucks. You can’t do what other adults do because the day ahead taunts and haunts you, telling you that you’re not going to make it through the day without being stressed out and anxious. So you just lay there. You lay there and do nothing all day because you know that’s when you’re least stressed and anxious. But then you get upset because you know you’re supposed to be an adult and get things done and help your family, but you’re basically just a vegetable. A vegetable of a human being you are because you do nothing. You don’t move. You’re frozen with fear of what the day will bring. Then you’re exhausted because you haven’t done anything and you’ve had way too much time to think. The thinking upsets you because you tell yourself that you’re a burden to everyone around you.

Everyone has to take care of you because you have a ball and chain around your ankle that stops you from moving and from living. You want to be able to do adult things, but you just can’t because you’re scared of the world and the people in it. Who is going to talk to you today and are you going to sound stupid? “Probably” you tell yourself. So you stay home away from the world, the world that can attack you at any minute. You don’t leave the house. You push your friend away because you can’t leave the comfort of your own home. She gets disappointed every time you turn down an invite. Eventually, that friend will go away and you’ll be alone again. You blame yourself for being such a crappy friend. You want to spend time with your friend and see her, but even she causes you anxiety. Everyone in the world causes you anxiety. So you push your friend away and you know it’s all your fault and you become upset. You’re upset because you can’t be there for your friend. Then the thoughts come racing through your head, telling you how you’ll never have friends again and even if you do, you’ll mess up those friendships too. All because of the monster that lurks inside your head. “You don’t need friends. You’ll be fine” you tell yourself.

You tell yourself that so you don’t have to dwell on the fact that you’ll be alone. You believe that you’ll die alone because you push away the people that care about you most, your friend and family. You pushing away people is a cry for help. You want the people in your life to be understanding and to be compassionate. They try their best to be there for you. You wish they were inside your head and body so they can hear the thoughts that you hear and feel the physical symptoms of anxiety. You just want people to understand what you’re going through so they can help you. But you don’t find much help because you have a hard time explaining how you feel. You find it hard to open up to people about your anxiety because you feel like you’re going to be judged or you’ll be put back in a psych ward. So you stay quiet because of your fears. Staying quiet doesn’t help you. It worsens everything. You’re anxiety becomes stronger and stronger.

You’re almost to your breaking point. You’re afraid of what’s going to happen when you reach your breaking point. Time is running out for you. You need help really soon to control this anxiety before you reach your breaking point. You’ve already given up because you believe that there is no hope and that you won’t get better. You’ve been working with the same psychiatrist for two years, but he still hasn’t found the right medication. You’ve been working with the same psychologist for nine years. She’s helped you over the course of those years and you’re not where you used to be, but you’re stuck now. You’re in a small and dark box that you can’t get out of. You’ve been in this box for about two years and no one hears your screams for help. You’re never going to be rescued. You’re stuck in this box and you’re never getting out. This isn’t a way to live; it’s a way to die.

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"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
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