“Don’t all girls have anxiety?”
Trust me, it’s different.
Imagine being in a constant fight with yourself.
“Today will be a good day. Today I will feel good.”
“Who am I kidding, today won't be a good day, I never feel good.”
“But maybe I should try to get up.”
“But what’s the point?”
To some, it seems like negativity.
“Please try to understand, although I don’t expect you to, that even the most comforting of things can make me feel uneasy.”
“I don’t understand, I’m not a negative person.”
Well, I (WE) don’t try to be either. I don’t wake up in the morning and start things off by saying, “today I am going to break down, cry, and be scared, hyperventilate, panic, and freeze. I'll zone out and especially let my mind make me sick to my stomach” all because I am negative and this is what a negative person should do. Honestly, it would be easier if I had the choice. Of course, if I could personally choose to have a bad day I wouldn't have any, but I don’t get to choose. With my mind, I don’t have a choice. It’s my mind's way or the highway, and 99% of the time it ALWAYS gets its way.
But I know what you’re thinking: “It’s your mindset, you choose when you wake up how your day is going to go.” WOW if it was that easy. Though I would like people to understand, I know many won't. It doesn’t make sense to why such a simple decision or maybe even a question or statement can lead to sweaty palms, difficulty breathing, and a rapid heart beat. Or how does someone feel threatened or scared when they’re in a safe environment? Good question, I'd like to know too. Even some of the simplest tasks seem dreadful when you are looking through the eyes of anxiety. Waking up, getting out of bed, going into public, or going to work. Applying for a job, or even bumping into an old friend who hasn't seen you in months because you were too scared to accept their invitation to go out.
Also keep in mind that there are different types of anxiety.
For instance, in my case I suffer from a few, but first I’ll tell you about my GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) which makes me worry and feel anxious most days (all days) about things that maybe you don’t think are worth worrying over, but trust me, in this 20-year-old mind of mine they are a BIG deal. BIG BIG BIG. Or it's the constant bickering with yourself about whether you're good enough, or if you look OK, or if people like you or what do they think of you? Am I annoying? All things that don't matter because you have those individuals who care about you and have positive thoughts and opinions about you and THAT is what is important. Not random people who don't deserve a second of your time. YOU are good enough, and you deserve to be here. I know that, but it's the believing it part. Anyways, don’t think the worrying is going away any time soon because once you get the courage to kick one worry to the curb, here come a dozen more to maybe “celebrate” by giving you more obstacles to get past or maybe their plan is to tear you apart mentally. Either way, they’re good at what they do. Unfortunately.
Next up to bat is Separation Anxiety. Now, this little bastard is easy to deal with as long as I have everything and everyone I love and care about in the same room as me 24/7! Easy enough? Nope. Thinking back now, I have suffered from this longer than any of the others. From kindergarten until grade 5, I couldn’t go for sleepovers. My best friend in the whole world at the time, Jamie Long, would ask me to spend the night and it was all fun and games riding horses and playing in the barn until dinner rolled around and I had time to sit and think about the fact that if something happens to my family I wouldn’t ever get to see them again. So on came the water works and off went Jessica back to her house. Of course, when you’re eight, you don’t realize that you’re suffering from a blood sucking leech called mental illness, you just think you love your mom a lot and can’t bear to be away from her. Luckily now I’m OK with sleepovers. Wouldn’t that be something for my boyfriend to deal with if I cried for my mom whenever we went somewhere... (Between you and me, I still do.) But that’s what this is. For me at least. That gut-wrenching feeling that if I’m not with those I love every second, something is going to happen to them and I won't be there to stop it. And I know that if something is going to happen to someone, I wouldn't be able to stop it anyway; trust me, I know that.
Then there’s the whole “snowball effect” thinking pattern. I don’t know if you’ve heard about it. See, we all know how refreshing it is to have someone say “let me know when you've made it home safe!” but if I tell that to someone as they leave my house and I know they should be home and I haven’t gotten that text... You’ve been in an accident. You crashed your car on that scary turn driving home to your house. You’re dead, and I’m never going to see you again. Then comes the panic, the trembling hands, and the sinking stomach. I’ll text you over and over and over again because I know it only takes you 20 minutes to get home. Before you know it, you’re home, safe and sound. You take out your phone, and you have 20 texts and 10 missed calls from yours truly! It’s just because I love you.
And that leads nicely into my oh-so lovely panic attacks. To me, those speak for themselves. Though if it doesn’t, here we go, this is a Panic Disorder through my eyes. So think of an anxiety attack; I’m worrying over something I can't control or maybe it’s something I can, but it seems to out of reach to get a grasp on. Then comes the physical side of them. This is where I experience the rapid heartbeat that makes me feel like my little heart is going to tire out or blow up, my breathing stops, and the shaking and the dizziness begins. I'll start pacing and being unsteady on my own two feet, fidgeting with whatever I can find to fidget with. Sometimes it’s visible, and I’m shaking in my seat, or sometimes it’s internal, and I’m in there screaming and begging to get let out of this terrifying moment of having no control over myself. I’m crying inside pleading for help, over and over again. But to you, I look tired. Or maybe I look sad, but if you only knew what I couldn’t get out of my own body.
So this is how I see it. This doesn’t go for everyone who suffers from anxiety. We all feel things differently. Sure maybe all girls deal with something-or-other, but it wasn’t fair for me to hear “don't all girls deal with anxiety” when I felt comfortable enough to let someone know of this illness I have. This is not a joke.
Maybe to you, all girls have anxiety.
But through my eyes, for me, and for all of us who suffer, trust US, it’s different.