Anxiety is

Anxiety is waking up with a fear that something is wrong, without having talked to anyone or seen the world outside of your bedroom. There need not be proof, or even an explanation, that fear that something is wrong always takes over.

Anxiety is jumping to the worst case scenario without reason, rhyme or hesitation because you can’t do anything but. It’s second nature. Actually, it’s first nature. It’s what you do, no matter how hard you try to break the habit.

Anxiety is being worried that you’re going to say the wrong thing to someone who really doesn’t care one way or another.

Anxiety is needing to check one, or two, or maybe even three more times to make sure that you locked the door when you leave.

Anxiety is trying to deescalate the angry customer at the register ahead of you because, while nothing is likely to go wrong, there’s always that ‘what if’ running through the back of your mind.

Anxiety is not wanting to answer the phone if it’s not in your recognized callers list because… how did they get my phone number?

Anxiety is wanting to go, getting ready to go, but not allowing yourself to step foot out that door.

Anxiety is staying quiet, biting your tongue and keeping out of the discussion or argument because… people will think you’re an idiot if they hear your opinions. They likely won’t, but you think they will and that’s enough to keep your mouth shut.

Anxiety is laying awake at night because this isn’t done and that isn’t done, she hasn’t called and he hasn’t checked in, something isn’t right and while you just can’t quite put your finger on it, you know that you don’t get to.

Anxiety is not believing you’re good enough for them, to be around them or to be loved by them. It really doesn’t matter if you actually are, you’ll never feel good enough.

Anxiety is pretending to be self-deprecating so people don’t think you’re quite as insulting towards yourself as you are.

Anxiety is not being able to explain it to them because, you know it’s irrational, so how could they possible understand?

Anxiety is believing in your heart of hearts that the stranger three tables away, who glanced at you for three seconds, is judging you. Whether it’s your appearance, your mannerisms or your clothing, or ANYTHING else, they’re just judging you.

Anxiety is believing the worst in people because it’s better to believe the worst in people and be prepared than to believe the best and be disappointed, heartbroken or hurt physically, mentally or emotionally.

Anxiety is so hard to explain. It’s… debilitating, frustrating, all encompassing, difficult to see past, through or around. The fight or flight, the constant sense of fear, it’s different for everyone, and I think that’s why people have such a hard time trying to understand. You can’t wish it away, you can only learn to cope. And hopefully, if you’re lucky, if you’re really, truly luck, someone in your life will bear with you and try to help/ease your mind.

63 thoughts on “Anxiety is

  1. Great post. This is what I felt when it got to the point I had to see a doctor. These days, it’s still a pain in the ass, but I am coping with it better than when it first plagued me.

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    1. Yeah. It got a lot easier for me to cope when I got a prescription from a doctor. It’s a pain in the ass still, but at least it’s easier to manage!

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  2. So much of this is me. I’m always worried about the worst case scenario– looking for a wrong way driver, won’t let my daughter walk over a grate downtown because “what if she falls in”, very bizarre thoughts like that all the time since I was little. I’ve posted a few things about anxiety and panic disorder on my blog if you ever need to read!

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    1. Do you take anxiety? Sorry if that’s too personal of a question. You definitely don’t have to ask. I just think that you sound a lot like me, and it these things got a lot easier for me to deal with when I started taking medication for it.

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      1. I do! I’m on Prozac 20mg a day and then I take .25 mg of Xanax if I’m having a panic attack. I used to take Prozac back in college too and was able to eventually wean myself off of meds for years. But this past year, I was dealing with a big move, a new job and my dad being diagnosed with cancer and it was like it was all so piled on I couldn’t do it cold turkey this time. So started the meds again and it’s really helped me get back in control.

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      2. Oh you sound soo much like me.

        I took anxiety medication when I was younger and then I went several years without it. Things were good, everything seemed on smooth ground, had a good job a good relationship, I was good. Last Christmas my mom was diagnosed with cancer and my life just spiralled from there. I needed to go back on medication to control it. And honestly, since I started taking medication it’s been a lot easier to cope.

        Thank you for sharing your story with me ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Anxiety for me is not checking a text message notification for over a day because 1. I dread having to think of something to reply with 2. worrying that after I reply that they might not reply and I’ll overthink every single word I’d written in the reply or 3. having them actually reply and dealing with the pressure of having a conversation.

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    1. Right? I hate when it’s someone I don’t know and if it’s someone I do know, I usually ask them why they don’t just text me. Phones are tough. I’m glued to mine but I equally hate it.

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  4. First of all, I really hope that you feel better soon. That sounds awful. Secondly – and forgive me please – because this is totally an off-topic tangent in a way – I’m really fascinated by the different forms of anxiety that manifest among anxiety sufferers…. and I wish there were more specific classifications for the many forms of what is classified as “anxiety”.
    What you describe is what I understand to be the fairly standard (though awful!) experience of “generalized anxiety”.
    For you it’s the impending feeling of doom. All around. It’s in your blood at every moment during these episodes. It lurks consciously in the shadows of your thought and existence. You anticipate a monster around every corner. You hide in your room. It’s awful. I’ve read many accounts of similar experiences. You’re definintely not alone.
    However…… My anxiety is something totally different and I really want to understand the difference…. and why these different anxieties happen to different people. The anxiety I experienced in my episodes is nothing like you describe. It’s *unconscious*. There’s no conscious thought pattern or “logical” doom. Mine is totally random and physical.
    It happened for me twice. Both times it lasted for 2 solid months. It was more physical and bodily related in nature. My anxiety had nothing to do with worry about events connected to myself or other people. At least…. not that I was consciously aware of. It began as a jittery feeling of unease. The kind where you think “work stress, not a big deal, whatever”. It very quickly ascended to the thought that my throat didn’t work and that I couldn’t swallow food (I wrote about this extensively on my blog). It zoned right in on a physical thing. It became this thing totally focused about my throat and my swallowing mechanism. We’ve talked about how I stopped eating and lost a bunch of weight. A lot of hyperactivity during this time. Hiking, walking, ill at ease, complete inability to sit still. But never – never once – never a focused thought train about worry regarding possible events or impending doom. Never a sense of worry about future events. Nothing to do with worldly happenings at all, 100% physical feelings. So what accounts for this difference? I want someone to jump in and explain the difference. Because these are two completely different threads of anxiety. What you describe is the more common version, but I want to know why different people experience it the way you do versus people who have more of a physical experience about their health or body functions or whatever.
    I even remember you expressing sympathy about my experience about my swallowing problem, but saying it was nothing you had experienced or ever heard of. Likewise, I’ve never had your impending doom anxiety experience. Clearly, we are both anxiety sufferers…. but it manifests completely differently for people like you and I, and I want to know why. I want to know the exact reason for the differences in our experiences. I’m hoping a mental health professional jumps in and comments on this. Thanks!

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    1. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now and honestly, I don’t think there is really a way to determine why different people experience it so differently. Perhaps it’s in our genetic makeup? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. Trying to differentiate between how anxiety affects someone is a lot like trying to differentiate why it effects some and not others… I just don’t know that it’s possible?

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  5. I don’t consider myself to have anxiety (which probably means I do). I do consider myself to be depressed brought on by loneliness and isolation (“Anxiety is not believing you’re good enough for them, to be around them or to be loved by them. It really doesn’t matter if you actually are, you’ll never feel good enough.”) That explains me perfectly, especially as rejections pile up. I hope all of these don’t apply to you.

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    1. Okay, so I’ve had this discussion with my therapist before. Because she always tries to ask me why I don’t think I’m good enough.

      What she says is that:

      With an anxious person, when you ask them why they don’t believe they’re good enough, they don’t know. They don’t have an actual reason why, they just believe that they aren’t. There’s just that fear they’re not good enough and so they choose to listen to that fear.

      With a depressed person, when you ask them why they don’t believe they’re good enough, they’ll have reasoning as to why they believe they’re not good enough. Whether their comments are true, or ideas of the mind, they’ll believe the reasoning and use it as a means to discount themselves and propagate that believe they’re not good enough. Whether it’s ‘I’m not smart enough’ or ‘I’m not pretty enough’ or ‘I’m not kind enough’ or ‘I’m not giving enough’ or whatever reasons they have, a depressed person will genuinely believe this reasoning to be true (whether it is or not) and use that reasoning as their ‘proof’ they’re not good enough.

      Bringing this whole comment full circle – anxiously feeling as though you’re not good enough is rooted in fear. Depressive feelings of not being good enough are rooted in what a person believes is factually faults, or a fault, on their part, something they lack, or somewhere they don’t measure up.

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  6. Good answer to know. Which I guess that explains why I feel depressed and not anxious. I can’t give a specific answer to explain the rejections other than it must be something about me. Even if it really isn’t. Despite that, I try to remain positive out in the real world. I try to limit any rage and crying to here in the Anonymous Void. This is your story, though, and I’ll butt out. Thanks for your therapist’s spot-on explanation.

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      1. It is. And it’s a great place to vent so you’re not venting and annoying the people around you. But I also have to remind those in the Anonymous Void who stumble upon my posts and think I’m the most pitiful negative person in the world that I’m really not; I just play one in the void. Keeps me from breaking down for real.

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  7. Oops I have a few of those things. I can identify that the thoughs are not ‘true’ but the difficult point is, for me, that my thoughts are faster than me. So I need to think it first, check all the things, be afraid. The tension will built up, heartrate goes up, I start to sweat (that is really annoying!) and then I can deconstruct the irrational thought. But it leaves me still sweaty. It takes much energy, energy that I don’t have.

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    1. Ohh I’ve been there before when you get nervous and sweaty. It’s hard, especially when people notice it. You’re trying to keep your cool and people are like ‘Are you okay?’ and you’re like ‘Yeah, I’m just panicking on the insideeeeeeeeee’.

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  8. Thank you for sharing, there is so much there I recognise in my daughter, we talk openly and honestly, but I know there are times I just don’t seem to understand how she feels. Makes it hard to know how best to help her. Your post has been very open and i feel I can take something away from it, so again, thank you.

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    1. Just go easy on your daughter. If she’s struggling with anxiety, even being honest about it is really hard to explain because someone with anxiety doesn’t always know the answers themselves. It’s hard to explain why an anxious brain functions the way it does, it just does do that. Sending you and her some love, from me ❤ And thank you for being a wonderful mom who she can come to if she needs it. That's the best thing for her.

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  9. I can relate to some of this, particularly when you write about your fear that other people are judging you. Rationally I know most people aren’t because I just don’t feature on their radar (I guess my suspicion that they are is just a form of arrogance), but I still worry about it because this thing just isn’t rational, is it? You obviously have a good level of self-awareness about your anxiety, which I guess helps you cope? I hope it does, anyway.

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    1. It does help me cope with it because I can tell when I am getting anxious so I can tell myself ‘No, these are not the thoughts that are going to control your brain today’.

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  10. I totally get you here Vee. I am sorry that you’re going through all this day in and day out. I’ve been challenging myself each day as well. And now that I’m not letting my anxiety win, at present I’m counting my small wins, but when I am winning over them, I pat my back. I understand no one knows and maybe they won’t even understand, but keep telling urself it’s anxiety, and this time you’ll win. When you’ll make one small change in the routine, which I know seems like a huge task, you’ll feel better. I know 2019 has really been a test but you are not alone. We’ll get past this 😊 Sending so much love ❤️

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    1. Thank you, my dear. You’re absolutely right that you should take it in small doses and count the small wins. Often times with anxiety, your mind gets so wrapped up in the things you cannot control, you don’t even realize the things you’ve succeeded at. You don’t tell or see how good you are at things because all you can focus on is the anxiety.

      2020 is going to be better for you and for me. I’m determined to believe that’s true ❤

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  11. It’s so thoughtful and well-written. Sometimes, I have to struggle with my anxiety and hope someone will understand. But, they can’t and won’t be understand at all. It’s really frustrating for me. So, instead of hoping that people will understand my issue, why don’t I try to understand and help people with the same issue?

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    1. I kind of think the same as you. I find myself wanting to understand people who also suffer from anxiety because I feel like maybe if I understood more than just me I could get a grasp on it. Ya know what I mean?

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  12. I can relate to this post in so many different ways. A lot of these lines resonates with how I feel from time to time. So many different things can contribute to anxiety. At the end of the day, it is up to us to make something out of it. Thank you for sharing.

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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  13. Others won’t understand it unless they haven’t experienced it themselves. Only a person who experience it can understand what anxiety is. You look normal to others but you know that something is eating you inside.

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  14. I hate thinking the worst and seeing the worst in someone I care about because I am afraid of him leaving me. I feel all of things almost daily. I spend too much time alone and avoiding people when I can. I hate it but it’s become who I am

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  15. Beautifully written! The hardest part of learning to cope with an Anxiety Disorder is that most people don’t understand. Support is needed in this struggle, to feel loved and accepted despite the constant second guessing, extreme fear, uncertainty, mind changing, panic attacks, nervous mannerisms, hypochondria, etc. There was a point in my life when things were so bad I had troubles walking to the mailbox let alone visit a grocery store or see friends. It has been a long and painful journey but I have found my balance, and I can manage pretty well. I am finally at a place of high-functioning anxiety, but I know it will never disappear completely. It is a part of me. Your words speak to me on such a deep level, because I can relate and the battle is real. Light & Love to you ❤

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    1. I’m so sorry you can relate, but I’m learning quickly that I really like you ❤ Thank you for sharing this kind and very real comment. It's so true that it'll never disappear completely. You just learn to better cope and deal.

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