Don’t Underestimate Anxiety

Everybody gets anxious 🤷🏼‍♀️

How many times have you heard this? How many times have you thought this? It doesn’t make you a shitty person to think it, mostly because it’s true. Anxiety is something most mammals feel, for whatever reason, but there is a huge difference between ‘normal’ anxiety, an appropriate response to a stressful situation, and having an anxiety disorder.

Don’t underestimate anxiety!

Anxiety is a demon I only began to battle a few years ago. Depression was already an old friend of mine, and I spent so much time focussed on it that anxiety managed to slip through unnoticed.

The first time I had a panic attack, I thought I was dying.

“This can’t be just a panic attack.” I was sure I was having a heart attack, that I’d need an ambulance, that something inside me was failing. It was an all consuming feeling I didn’t think would ever end.

Lucky for me, I have an amazing wife who’s had GAD since her teens. I’d seen her suffer before with panic attacks, but until that day I had no idea of the true intensity of it all.

Almost 6 years later anxiety has become one of the main battles I face everyday. As my mental health declined over the last few years, my social anxiety skyrocketed to the point where I could no longer leave the house. I became imprisoned by my anxiety more than I ever have with any other mental health issue, no longer able to go on public transport, be in crowded places, talk on the phone, go food shopping or do any of the things I’d been doing for myself for years.

All because of anxiety.

My previous life is now a distant memory, all because of anxiety. That little chemical emotion that ‘everyone feels’, that physical, uncontrollable, maddening feeling that unfurls in your brain and down your spine. All my social activity, my independence, my freedom – gone.

I’m trying to fight against it. Slow and steady I am taking the smallest of baby steps to try and reclaim some of myself, but it is no easy task. It takes more than positive quotes or a different mental attitude. Anxiety doesn’t care. It doesn’t care if you do yoga or eat right or look at a tree or a pretty flower. It takes so much more than that, something that’s different for every person.

So, if you’ve never experienced anything outside of ‘normal’ anxiety, please remember there is a huge difference between that and an anxiety disorder. Huge.

Be kind. Be patient. Be good to yourself and others 💕

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