Living with Anxiety
By: Tara (@TaraLovesYa)
I text my best friend at 11:00 pm: "I think I'm having a panic attack," as I'm laying in bed and the overwhelming thoughts hit me all at once. I hate going to sleep; I hate laying in bed my, in the dark, waiting for the thoughts to consume me. Anyone who lives with anxiety knows how I feel.
I live with an anxiety disorder and have been suffering with it since I was in junior school. It has been my biggest battle so far. Anxiety for me, means living in a bubble, a bubble without air, you have only a limited space to do anything, and if you try to move even a bit more than you should, this bubble pops, and you fall and fall and keep falling. Anxiety means having a constant shadow over you, sometimes you feel it's there, creeping into your body, your mind, and then sometimes it's gone, you can't feel it, and that feeling is the best feeling I have ever felt. Sadly, I don't get that feeling a lot.
A lot of things trigger me, especially because I am a young adult, in high school, a roller coaster ride. Tests, walking in large groups in the hallway, talking to people in groups, and even hugging people, I get uncomfortable, and I cannot help it. My anxiety also stems from being pressured to act and look a certain way from my family ever since I was able to walk and talk. Anxiety can arise from anywhere, and that is the problem. We all run differently, so different things affect us, making it harder for others to understand what we are feeling. Half the time, I don't even know why I am having a panic attack or just immense anxiety. But I am slowly piecing it together, for example: Going downtown is probably the most fun and easiest thing for my best friend to do, but it is the most dangerous thing I can do.
The thought of crammed people in small spaces gives me immense anxiety, right there. I don't remember the last time I went out with someone and not had a panic attack of going out. I would immediately presume the worst, something bad will happen; I am going to panic attack in public and I know. These thoughts run through my head a million times right before the big event. My family congratulates me on going out; it is a rare occasion. And I I like that, people with anxiety should get praised on the smallest of things: Talking to someone, making a phone call, ordering something by themselves. These things might not seem important to some, but to people who suffer from anxiety, it is probably the most amazing thing ever to have to occur to them.
Now, the road to recovery is difficult and different for everyone. I always believe that a mental illness will never go away, it will always be there but sometime in our lives, it will stop bothering us like before. When I was diagnosed, my friends sent me a bunch of links to "self-help" written by some teenager in Germany that has no experience with anxiety whatsoever. I found this one YouTube video created by a famous blogger whose name escapes me, but they said to cute anxiety you need to: Drink more water, talk more and find something you love and become obsessed with it. Those things don't work, and no one should believe it. Any mental illness starts from the brain, so it needs to sort from the brain. Anxiety is caused by overthinking a particular situation, being locked onto it and not letting it go, no matter anything anyone does or tells you.
For years, I stripped the internet for ways out of anxiety, I tried to exercise, yoga, writing my thoughts done and even going on weird diets that can "help my mood." Nothing apparently worked. Until I came across a young lady on Instagram, who said that the answer to internal problems lies within yourself, everything you need is inside, your mind and soul, everything is there; you just need to piece it together. Now, at the time I didn't get this hippie nonsense until I went hiking one day to the top of a hill where I overlooked the whole city, this is where I reconnected with myself. I sat on the sandy ground, looked at the lights in front of me and thought, "I am alive." Now to some, this doesn't seem like a big deal, but to me, it was quite monumental.
That first step in realizing that I am alive, I am healthy and breathing, helped me figure out where I was in my life. In fact, that was the first time when my mind stopped racing in a long time bothered me. After this, I started realizing what I liked, this ranged from music to movies to political views, anything that made me, me. I also got rid of many people in my life that brought me down constantly and made me feel like I wasn't good enough, but I am, I am awesome! I also started opening up about my problems to the people I trust the most, which helped me collect my thoughts and help get some support from the outside. Talking about your problems is crucial in getting better, I promise you that. Now sooner or later, I realized that I was more comfortable with my anxiety, I wasn't trying to cure it, I wanted to make it seem normal and not let it affect me like before.
I think the moment I realized I was getting better was when my friend texted me and said "Tara, I don't know if you realized this but have been looking and acting better, you look happy" and I was. I wasn't having as many panic attacks as before, I was getting sleep, people were supporting me, I was supporting myself, it was all tying in together.
Now, I can't say everything is perfect, nothing is, but I can assure you that I have never been in a more peaceful state with myself before. The moral of the story is that deep inside of you, there is an another you, a happier you, waiting to be unlocked, whether you identify as man, women, or non-binary. But don't force it to come out; ease yourself into it, one step a time. It will all be okay, as feelings, especially negative ones, are never permanent.