Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified person to talk about this. I’m just telling my own experiences with the hope that this will clarify things to those fail to understand anxiety.
Things come and go, except for anxiety. Anxiety has been your companion throughout the years. And even though lately you’ve been extremely proud of yourself because you’ve been less anxious, people who don’t know you well (read: co-workers, classmates and people that you’ve met lately) still see you as a little ball of anxiety. You radiate anxiety to them, or something.
You’ve mastered the art of the check-check-double-check because you check things once, twice and even 10 times just to make sure nothing is wrong. Because when something surprisingly happens, it gives you stress! Anxiety!
But anxiety isn’t just “stress”. You can’t just “relax”, even though you know deep down inside that “everything will be all right”. It’s how your mind functions. Anxiety isn’t a choice, it’s a part of who you are.
Either you’re born with anxiety or you’ve been through a trauma as a kid or later in life, you know that anxiety is uncontrollable. No matter how hard you try to block out those thoughts, you can’t.
Anxiety: an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future.
Anxiety starts innocently. It’s humane to worry and stress. That’s how our ancestors survived everything. Worrying about things that endanger you is natural. But sometimes, instead of controlling it, anxiety controls you. It takes over you, your life and your mind and there’s no way out. You overthink everything and you worry about everything. When anxiety strikes, it’s like having a tunnel vision and you’re only focusing on what could go wrong. It becomes obsessive. Your mind works faster than the speed of light, doing it utmost to figure everything out that could go wrong.
The next step is freaking out. Now your mind is falling in a deep, deep hole trying to hold on anything. Gasping for air, you’re trying to smile casually as if nothing is happening inside of you. “1,2,3, breath, repeat” you tell yourself. But your mind is still running in circles, trying to figure out how to get itself out of this.
Step three is when your mind comes up with something and you try your best to convince yourself that this the ultimate solution.
You can’t control this process. People will always say “relax” or “stress isn’t good for you”, you look at them and wonder if they really think you don’t want to help yourself. That you’re making it all up. That freaking out over the slightest things is your hobby. That you love attention, when attention is the last thing you want because it gives you anxiety.
Words like “relax” and “calm down” make you more anxious. Because you always try not to show your anxiety. Times and times again you tell myself that you don’t want to give fucks no more. That whatever happens, happens for a reason. That you can’t control everything.
It’s not lack of intelligence. It’s not depression. It’s just what it is.
And you know what? it works, sometimes. The “1, 2, 3, breathe, repeat” thing works every now and then. When you tell yourself three honderd times a day that you’ll no longer care about the smallest things, you start to believe it eventually. But not always. Sometimes your mind switches off all sensible thinking and starts freaking out. And it’s not due to lack of intelligence. It’s not depression. It’s just what it is. It’s anxiety.