- 1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
- 2. Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.
- 3. a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
I can look back on instances throughout my childhood and see where anxiety played a part. Though I never actually was able to name my severe anxiety until I was in college.
For so long I thought something was wrong with me. I thought if I just focused hard enough, breathed deep enough, or closed my eyes tight enough it would go away and never return.
But return it would. Daily.
What I find most funny is that when I was finally able to name what was happening to me, I still kept it too myself. I didn’t want people to think I was damaged. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I began to start talking more and more about my anxiety.
Anxiety presents itself differently to each person. When combined with my ADHD, it is amplified in some ways. I can often find myself fixating on a negative thought to the point where it has taken me hours to fall asleep. On the flip side, my anxiety has also been so severe at times that it can actually wake me in the middle of the night and keep me up for extended amounts of time.
I tap my foot excessively. Shake my legs. My chest gets extremely tight and heavy and I feel like someone is squeezing my heart and won’t let go. It’s like my heart grows three sizes too big and I can feel each beat of my heart throughout my entire body.
What causes my anxiety to flare up? Any type of social gathering, public speaking (crazy right?), difficult conversations, stressful situations, the unknown, and grief.
I reached out online a few days ago asking what anxiety feels like for others, and I wanted to share some of the responses:
“A thousand voices all talking and yelling at the same time while Adrenalin courses through my veins” – Jeremy
“It feels like a little bug buzzing around in my ears and head, making sure I can’t think clearly” – Elaine
“Anxiety feels like being on a roller coaster – wishing I could get off the ride, fighting the urge to throw up, screaming at the top of my lungs, but the ride is so loud no one hears me” – Susan
“A negative lens, and immense responsibility that’s impossible to meet” – Julie
“Anxiety feels like I want to jump out of my skin. I don’t like people asking me if I’m ok either. It makes me more self conscious.” – Penny
“It fees like I’m a pressure cooker and all my organs are suddenly trying to burst through my body like the kool aid man bursting through a wall.” – Virginia
“For me anxiety is doubt- the feeling like everything I am doing is wrong- wanting to run- itchy skin- legs bouncing and a desperate need to clean everything” – Luis
“Waking up in the middle of the night, nauseous, sweating, heart racing, making lists in my head, replaying the day or a song over and over and over.” – Morgan
The answers were endless. There were hundreds. Why? Because anxiety has become even more prevalent in the midst of the pandemic.
So if you’re also someone who suffers with anxiety, what do you do? How do you “overcome”? Well, I don’t have all the answers. And I’ve learned that it’s different for everyone.
But a few things I HAVE learned are…
- 1. Seek out help. Never be afraid to speak with a professional or get medication prescribed (it may take working with your doctor to get the dosage and type of medicine correct).
- 2. Meditation and prayer have helped, at times. I never thought I would say “meditation” was something I was doing. But MAN, taking medication courses through Peloton or with the Abide app have been a lifesaver at times.
- 3. Know your triggers.
- 4. Journal
- 5. Breathing exercises.
Again, I want to be clear. What works for me at times, won’t work for everyone. Heck, half the times most of those things don’t even work for me. But I keep at it.
So why do I write this blog post? Because my anxiety has exploded over the last few months and when we talk about things, we feel less alone and therein help others feel less alone too.
In closing, I’d love to share this song by Sarah Reeves. I’m obsessed with her just released album “Life, Love, & Madness”. But there’s one song in particular “Anxious” that spoke to my heart. Especially these lines….
“Pressure building, body shaking
I can’t take it, I can’t take it
Feel the tension, pushing pulling
I can’t fight it, I can’t fight it
I don’t wanna live my life like this
I gotta lot of good in me to give
But I’m anxious
So many things I know I miss
Cause I’m anxious
I wish I could shake this
I don’t wanna be anxious“