Living with anxiety is hard. Honestly, that is the understatement of the year. Living with anxiety is living in a world where your brain is ALWAYS hyper-vigilant. You’re constantly questioning everything. You’re constantly analyzing everything. You worry about everything. The weight of the world is on your shoulders. You’re constantly ON. And that’s where living with anxiety gets so tiring.
Your brain never turns off. It’s constantly spinning. And because of everything that has happened to me the past few months, my anxiety is pretty bad. Not to the point where I was at a few weeks ago with my failed quinoa experiment. I no longer feel so out-of-control that I’m begging to go to the hospital. But, it is bad enough where my anxiety is affecting my every day life. Add on top of that my PTSD and you’ve got the perfect storm brewing.
I’m legitimately afraid. Thinking about driving causes me to feel extremely anxious. Leaving my house to do more than just walk Lani makes me feel extremely anxious. Being afraid to run into people in town causes me to feel extremely anxious. My anxiety is stopping me from functioning. I just feel so emotionally, physically, and mentally wiped out. And this scares me even more because honestly I haven’t been this bad in a long time. On top of this, I keep reliving things that happened, or something triggers a memory and I have a flashback, which only makes me more anxious. Literally, the voices/thoughts won’t stop.
At the same time I’m afraid of disappointing people. People who knew me before everything went downhill. Who knew me as the bubbly person that I normally am when I feel good. Right now I’m not her, and I’m having trouble finding her. Right now I’m locked in my brain, afraid to do anything unless I have someone with me. Right now I don’t feel safe. And I don’t want people to get disappointed in me because right now I can’t do the things I was doing previously. When my anxiety is bad I tend to get flaky. I can’t commit to things. I might say I’ll do something, but then I physically and mentally can’t make myself do it. Or I just might “disappear” and stop talking to friends and outsiders because I feel like they won’t understand what I’m going through. And all of these feelings and worries just make life so much harder right now because the last thing I want to do is disappoint anyone or have anyone think differently of me.
My husband says it’s going to take time to get back to who I was, and that that’s fine because I’ve been through a lot. He tells me that I shouldn’t worry what people think of me and that I shouldn’t worry about disappointing people. Right now I just need to focus on me, and work on finding solid ground again. That the people who really care about me and understand me won’t be disappointed in me. And he says, even though I can’t see it, I am doing better. I’m taking Lani out for walks by myself. I’ve been going to the library by myself in town. When he asked me to run to the supermarket the other day, even though it made me super anxious, I did it. When I’m with him, I act more like my old self. He says these might be little things, but they are big things because they are huge steps forward.
I’m just disappointed in myself. I don’t want to be like this. But, anxiety and depression are a huge part of who I am. I know that right now I need to heal, even though that is hard. I have to love myself and treat myself with respect and know that I will eventually find myself again, but it might take awhile.
So, if you know someone living with anxiety and/or depression try to be there for them, even if you can’t understand everything they are going through. Don’t get mad at them because of what they can’t do. But encourage them for the things they can do. Just by being there you are helping them to get stronger, day by day.
Remind them that they are loved. And that you are there for them. Sometimes that’s the strongest medicine you can provide for someone struggling.