My Experience with Anxiety…

I have never been formally diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, neither an I some sort of expert on it but I do know that I have anxiety issues. I came across a post very recently titled 50 Important Facts About Having Anxiety… written by an amazing blogger who blog is called Every Word You Say. I would definitely recommend you to head over to her blog and read her amazing work. Anyways, she wrote about things that most people with anxiety face and I decided to personalize that post according to my experience. I am keeping some of the points as it as because they explain exactly what I feel and am changing it a bit in other places. But of course, I couldn’t have come up with all the points myself so Amy gets all the credit for that! But anyways, here goes…

  1. We’re not attention seeking. I am genuinely scared of social interactions or triggering situations. I am not pretending and most of the time, I don’t want the attention to be on me.
  2. We’re not vampires. I like to socialize, it’s just that I’ll think of everything that could go wrong and stress myself out completely. But even then, I do like to go out.
  3. It upsets us if you cancel your plans last minute. I have spent days, even weeks preparing myself to go out with you and then you’re cancelling 10 minutes before we’re supposed to meet up? Not okay. At least 24 hours notice please!
  4. It upsets us if you’re late.  Don’t be late. Or if you can’t help being late, text me! Anywhere I have to be I am there 15 minutes early. And if you’re not there on time I start to freak out. Have you been hit by a car? Have I got the wrong place? Do you hate me? And if it means I have to wait somewhere outside for you, I’m probably having a major freak out inside my head and probably feeling like everyone walking by is starting at me or judging me.
  5. We blush. A lot. Like 90% of my life is spent looking like a tomato. If I get embarrassed, or I start to feel anxious I tend to blush. I know I’m bright red! Please don’t point it out! Then everyone looks at us and it makes us feel a thousand times worse.
  6. We sometimes don’t like eye contact. For me, I’m okay with eye contact for a little while but if you constantly make eye contact with me while you talk, I’ll start feeling uncomfortable and look away.
  7. We might run away. I haven’t ever done this yet but I’ve though about doing it, especially when I have to talk to a large group of people.
  8. We have anxiety attacks. I usually freeze up or start crying. And I need someone to hold me. This does not work for everyone but someone I trust being around me and holding me just helps me. I’m not doing this for attention, I am overwhelmed and stressed.
  9. Getting drunk is not going to cure my anxiety. It is surprising the amount of people who tell me to smoke or drink to solve my anxiety. It doesn’t work for me at all. Don’t force me to do anything.
  10. You don’t have to have a bad upbringing to have anxiety. Personally some part of my anxiety does stem from my childhood but not all of it. But of course, do not automatically assume someone has had a crappy childhood just because they have anxiety, this can make people feel as though they are wrong or silly for being anxious when they “Don’t have a reason to”.
  11. Anxiety is not just being nervous. Initially, i used to think that I’m just being a bit nervous and it’s no big deal but it slowly kinda got really bad and then I realized that I’m not just being nervous and I might have a problem here. I know that lots of people get nervous for exams and all but I get physically sick during exam times, I usually always run a fever or something around that time.
  12. Our brains exaggerate everything. You take longer than 3 seconds to reply to my text? You’re either dead or you hate me. You didn’t hear something I said? You’re ignoring me, you’re angry with me, and you hate me.
  13. Forcing us to socialise does not help. Yes, please ask me to parties and to hang out with you. i might say no a few times but don’t stop inviting me please. I love going out, and I love feeling included but sometimes it’s just a bit much for me.
  14. We will probably leave the party early. I actually personally have to disagree on this one. I like parties. But I probably won’t do the typical party stuff and I’ll probably not talk to many people and avoid taking or hanging out in a big group at a party but i like staying till the end. I’ll probably just sit in a corner and read or just look around but I like to stay as long as people don’t start asking me why I’m sitting alone and all that.
  15. Telling us “Don’t be shy.” does not cure our anxiety. Oh thank you so much. My anxiety is now suddenly cured. You truly are magic. I am so tired of people telling me this.
  16. If we say don’t touch us, we mean it. Many people don’t like to be touched when they are going through something. I on the other hand like it. I like being hugged or just held when I’m going through something. That said, even I have times when I don’t want someone to even come near me and I snap if someone touches me. So of course, it’s always better to ask first.
  17. New people are terrifying. There’s so much pressure to make a good impression on new people. What if I mess up and they hate me? What if they think I’m a freak?
  18. New places are terrifying. I personally like new places but I have to see those places at my own pace. i can’t have someone pushing me to go somewhere. I want to go but let me take my time.
  19. We struggle to sleep. You know when you lay awake and think of all the things you need to do and you can’t sleep? Well imagine that 100 times worse. I think of everything I need to do tomorrow and the next day and I’m so scared I’ll forget them I have to get up and write them down, I go through all the conversations I’ve had and I panic about them, I then think about the next social event I’ve got and I play all the possibilities through in my head. Because of this it usually takes me 1-2 hours of worrying before I fall asleep.
  20. We hate being left alone. If you come with us somewhere, say a party, do not leave us alone. It freaks us out and we start to panic. I usually end up tailing my friend who I came with around at a party. And if you suddenly leave, I won’t know what to do and i will start freaking out.
  21. We love being left alone. Then again, if I am upstairs in my bed surrounded by pillows with my laptop and a cup of tea in one hand, I want to be left alone. I don’t want to socialize at that point and I am honestly perfectly happy with my own company.
  22. We have scars. I have a lot of scars actually, and although I am not ashamed of them I feel the need to hide them a lot. Mostly because you get called “disgusting” and a “freak”. Please, if you see someone with scars, and they’re a stranger, don’t point them out and don’t be mean to me. I have gone through more than you will ever know. And please, if you know me and see my scars for the first time, don’t tell  our entire class I’m an attention seeking whore. Thank you.
  23. We are not just shy. I will open up and probably be the most talkative person you know but I need time to feel comfortable around you. Please don’t call me shy, it embarrasses me and I feel bad about it.
  24. We are proud of our little achievements. For example, If I texted 3 people in a day and I texted them first, please know that it took an insane amount of courage on my part. I probably wrote the message down first, then edited it and then edited it again and then I finally sent it and then I probably freaked out and wished there was a way to un-send it. So if I do something like that, it’s a big deal for me.
  25. Anxiety is not depression. These are two very different mental health issues, and although someone may have both of these, they are not interchangeable. If you are confused about the difference, please take 10 minutes to research both of these terms.
  26. Some people with anxiety take medication. Although I personally do not take any medication for my anxiety, some people find it very helpful. No one should feel guilty for taking prescribed medication to improve their daily lives, just because their illness effects their mental state doesn’t mean they should be ashamed of getting help.
  27. We know we’re not acting logically. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid of simple things such as going late to a class even when i have a valid reason. I know that it’s okay but It still freaks me out thinking that people will point and laugh and everyone will look at me.
  28. We hate feeling abandoned. I personally get really upset if I feel people are abandoning me, even when I know that’s not the case. For example, if someone calls me I have to hang up on them first otherwise I feel as though they don’t want to talk to me.
  29. We get flashbacks. If someone’s anxiety comes from a traumatic event (similar to PTSD in a way, but that’s not an anxiety disorder) then they may get flashbacks to times where they have been under stress. For me its slightly different though. I’ve kinda blocked out a huge chunk of my life and I know that’s not healthy to do but i cannot think of it in any way.
  30. We’re not ashamed. We want you to know we have anxiety, and don’t be afraid to talk to us about it. In fact, talk to us about it! Research anxiety. Anything you can do to educate yourself on why we feel and act certain ways can only be helpful.
  31. Anxiety isn’t just a mental problem. There are a whole heap of physical issues that go along with it. Shortness of breath, high pulse rate, shaking etc. Not only does this make us more anxious but it can affect our daily lives. Though my physical symptoms are not very bad it still bothers me.
  32. Work can make us very stressed. A lot of people get stressed at work, but for people with anxiety it can be 10 times harder. For me work is basically school. And simple things at school such as going to the lunch hall to eat in front of so many people or simple things like that have the ability to stress me out a lot.
  33. We’re good at offering support. We’ve been through so much that we can handle any problem you throw at us and we can remain calm and offer advice and support, without judgement (most of the time!).
  34. We care a lot about what others think. People tell us all the time, we shouldn’t worry about what others think. But I do. All the time. I care whether people think I’m talking to loud, or if people think I’m horrible or a mean person. So, just be careful what you tell us, because our minds may exaggerate what you say. And I’m probably going to be going over everything you said at least 10 times and I have the ability to make myself feel bad about something that would have been very casual and normal for someone else.
  35. We love compliments. Seriously, someone telling me they like my shoes can make me happy for the rest of the day. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right, I know we shouldn’t rely on others to make us happy but honestly I love getting compliments. If someone you know has anxiety, giving them a compliment can definitely help them relax and can help reduce their anxiety. I like being told I look nice. It helps me feel a bit more at ease in almost all situations.
  36. We are really good at problem solving. My mind is constantly thinking of all the bad things that can happen, and I always think of what I can do in case that happens. Also, because of my anxiety I am prepared for everything! Got a papercut? I’ve got 30 plasters and a bandage in my bag. Your hairtie broke? Don’t worry, I tie my ponytail up with three of them just in case. Your button fell off? I’ve got safety pins in my front pocket. I am a lifesaver! People actually like having me around on camps and things because I usually have a solution to all of these kinds of problems.
  37. We don’t like confrontation. If someone yells at me or argues with me I worry about it for days afterwards and it makes me feel very sick. And I’ll probably cry and freak out and be scared to talk to you again so please just talk to me calmly.
  38. We like our personal space. Just be aware that if I don’t know you, or I don’t trust you yet, you need to stay well away from me. I don’t mean avoid me, but I shouldn’t be able to touch you if I stick my arm out. I have this huge problem with my best friend. Even though I call her my best friend, I just need my space at times. So when we are standing in talk and I take a step back she always takes a step forward and it makes me awfully uncomfortable. I’ve tried explaining this to her but it doesn’t always work.
  39. We care so much about others. We do so much to help others, and because of our anxiety we are constantly worried about how others are feeling or whether they’re safe. In fact a lot of people with anxiety will put others before themselves because we are more worried about them than ourselves.
  40. We get moody. But we don’t usually mean to. Sometimes our anxiety makes us irritable. Imagine that every day you wake up and you realise you’ve got a really important exam to take, but you haven’t studied for it. That’s how we feel. Would you find it easy to be happy and upbeat in that situation?
  41. You are important to us. If we say that we love you, and we trust you, and we let our guard down around you then that means you are so important to us. We don’t choose friends or partners easily, so know that we love you even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
  42. We’re not weak. In fact, we’re the opposite. We’re some of the most courageous and bravest people you’ll meet because everyday is a struggle for us.
  43. We can’t “Just relax”. How the hell do you relax?! Every single waking second my mind is racing with thoughts, no matter what I’m doing. I just need to sleep in stressful situations or cry it out. I can’t relax otherwise so please don’t tell us to relax, because it’s pretty much impossible.
  44. We need you to be there. If I need to call you at 3am because just because I’m not feeling good then I need you to be there. If I trust you enough to ask for help, then please be around. Also, I probably feel like I’m annoying you by calling so late so I’m probably going to apologize for that numerous times but i need you to tell me that you’re there for me.
  45. We need you to listen to us. If you do not have anxiety then you don’t know how it feels. Please don’t try and give us advice when we’re having a panic attack because we’re too far gone, just listen to us complain and rant and freak out.
  46. We need our sleep. It is exhausting to be on edge every day, so if we’re sleeping please don’t wake us up unless you really have to. Getting to sleep is so difficult, so although we might go to bed at 10pm we probably didn’t fall asleep until midnight so please cut us some slack!
  47. Our words are precious. We might not say a lot, but what we do say has been well thought out. We don’t feel the need to fill silences with stupid small talk. We’re quite happy just listening in conversations, so don’t force us to speak when we might just not have anything to say right then.
  48. We’re good observers. We notice everything. We pick up on every little detail of your body language and the way you speak, and we make judgments on this. This also means we’re good at reading people because we’re very aware of when someone’s body language or tone suggests they’re angry or sad etc. Also, if you’re body language towards me changes, I’ll probably assume I did something wrong. i’m sorry but that’s the conclusion my mind jumps to.
  49. We use a lot of body language. We might not tell you we’re panicking but our body language might show it. Everyone is different, but learning how someone acts when they get upset helps you handle their behavior better. I personally get very quiet, I pull my sleeves down, and I turn away. At times like these, I need you to be there for me.
  50. We are not our anxiety. We are people. Some of us are so sweet and kind, and some of us are assholes. Take the time to get to know the person behind the anxiety, who knows you might just find someone amazing.

Okay so that’s all for now. Thank you once again to Amy for putting the initial list together. i couldn’t have done this if you hadn’t. I also feel like anxiety is one of the most misunderstood disorders and creating awareness is very important. So thanks for reading!

11 thoughts on “My Experience with Anxiety…

  1. Good post. While I don’t think that I have an anxiety disorder, #3, 4, 6, and 12 especially apply to me. It must feel horrible, though, to feel like you’re out of control in certain situations. I hope you find the strength to overcome it in circumstances where you are most susceptible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a good post! I haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety either, but pretty much on here was so relatable to the point where I could think of examples for everything from life. I think we could all add and take away things but these are so helpful to read ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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