With anxiety, you’re pretty damn sure something is wrong. Something has happened. Or is going to happen. Or you did something wrong. Or you will. Or there will be too many people looking at you. Or no one will ever notice you. Or.. or… or. It can be never ending and it really is so hard to function like this. To find your center and do what you have to do.
I was trying to describe panic disorder & anxiety to a high school friend of mine and it really is tough if they haven’t been through it. They can have sympathy and support you but unless you’ve been through it, it’s so hard to really understand how helpless you feel. In panic mode, your mind and body are screaming that something is wrong. It’s like fight or flight has been kicked into high gear without warning for no apparent reason and you can’t shut it off. No amount of “It’s okay” or “You’re fine” or “Try to relax” sentiments makes the panic go away.
Trust me. I’ve been there. I still go there. I’ve gained friends who get it. I’ve lost friends because of it. (“You’re too needy.” Or “I can’t go through this with you again every few months.“) But it’s not a choice to have anxiety. You do have a choice in how you can help yourself.
Show up. That’s all. Just show up for yourself every day. Say “I am going to get up, get dressed, and maybe I’ll go do something that scares me a little.” You might only reach the “Get up” part but you showed up for yourself. That is a step in the right direction! Show up. Tell yourself at least once a day something good. Just a nugget. It doesn’t cure things but it doesn’t hurt. I don’t know anyone who has said, “I’ve had an awful day. I’ve just had too many positive thoughts.“
And remember, especially in that heightened state of anxiety that this is temporary. It’s just some stupid thing your brain does to lie to you and freak you out. And it works. But it won’t always. And you won’t always feel this way. And in that moment, know you are not alone. There are a lot of us carrying a lot of anxiety. Anxiety that has kept us away from friends, family, events, parties…life. We get it. Baby steps and you’ll get out of this scary, dark place. I promise.