The anxiety’s getting worse. There’s always a voice telling me things I don’t want to know. Most of the time I can quieten it – fill my head with other stuff. But more and more often this voice escalates into a shout I can’t quieten; it gets too loud. This is when the chest pain starts, the fast breathing, the panicking. I get stuck in a cycle of breathlessness and helplessness. It’s accompanied by a voice hurling abuse at me, which is why it can be hard to break out of this cycle.
Social situations are getting scarier. I go quiet before I get there because I am thinking about every possible scenario, every single thing that could go wrong I run it through my head so I have some idea of what to do/say. If I don’t, this is when I start sweating and go quiet and starey, which happens quite a lot. I don’t know what to say, so I choose not to say anything. A part of my brain commends me for this, the other tells me off for giving in to the anxiety. Sometimes I struggle to distinguish which is right.
So many contrasting emotions
I feel so many different emotions when I’m out with my friends. It’s lucky that I have them, yet I’m nervous to be around them, nervous to speak, I feel like I’m being judged, I feel stupid for even considering that, I feel like I’m not wanted. I wonder what I would do without them. I feel lonely, I feel overwhelmed by the people, I feel out of place. Feeling as though I belong, determined to join in but still scared to speak. I’m scared to say something wrong, I’m scared of being forgotten about because I’m being so quiet. I feel they prefer it when I’m quiet.
Now, imagine feeling all of these varying, contrasting emotions, all as equally as important as each other, all as loud as each other, all at the same time. A constant stream of thoughts that intertwine and hit you at the same time.You feel all of them at once, there is no filing system, no means of organising them. Just a wave of constant emotion that hits you; it doesn’t stop hitting you. That is anxiety.
Anxiety is complicated
Anxiety isn’t just worrying about things. Its not just about not feeling good enough or panic attacks or being lonely. It’s so much more complicated than that. You can never stop thinking “What if” and “How” and “Never”.
It’s not about me thinking I have no friends or they don’t like me or that I’m ugly or fat or I’ll never be happy. Because I don’t truly believe those things. Anxiety is the constant dread that I will never stop feeling. That I will never be able to fully communicate how low I am or how happy I am or how proud I am or how relieved I am or broken or angry or honest or grateful I am. Because it will always be overshadowed by the anxiety and my own doubt, and I am not strong enough to fight that yet.
So, yes, I can truly be happy, and I can show that, I can show all my emotions; it’s the ones in my head that I can’t control. The ones that fight to be heard, at different times, at the same time, at an inconvenient time. Whatever time it happens to be, I can hear them. Trust me. Sometimes I look different because I’ve lost myself in the cycle, the mess of emotions in my head. Whatever emotion I may be displaying physically is only a fraction of what I’m actually feeling at that time. And it’s horrible. It feels like there’s no escape. Like there’s no way out of the constant flow, the dread, the frustration. And that is anxiety.