Mental Health

An Anxious Person’s Guide to Explaining Anxiety

Welcome to the world of anxiety.

This is the place where you feel so anxious, you cannot breathe or think. When you try to calm your breathing, it only gets worse. Anxiety becomes a constant companion.

Some people don’t understand. They tell you to get over it. They say, “Just pretend it isn’t there,” or, “You’re overreacting.”

You constantly over-analyze every situation you feel uncomfortable in. You feel empty, and lost, but most of all, unimportant. You feel as if you can’t do anything. There’s a barrier between you and where you want to go and what you want to do. It feels like giving up is the only option.

You’re busy worrying about the embarrassing thing you did today, even though you know it wasn’t all that bad.

You’re consumed with fear you’ve done something terribly wrong. This thing you’ve done, you don’t know what it is, or why it’s wrong, and you don’t know how to fix it. It could be anything, and that only worries you more.

On the good days, you’d smile. You’d be happy and you’d feel free, but anything could change that. Any normal interaction or event could flip everything.

Because of this non-threatening situation, there’s this lump in your throat not going away. You feel your heart beating in your chest and it doesn’t help the sweating. You feel like you’re sinking into nothingness.

You tell yourself, “I feel so nervous all the time. I’m embarrassed by my own existence; I can’t function properly anymore.”

It’s gotten so bad you’ve begun to pull your hair out. Insomnia has taken over. Your smiles are not real smiles. Your laughs are not real laughs. You’re stressed about stress before there’s even anything to stress about. You hardly speak, and when you do it’s too slowly or too fast.

You rehearse things to say. You repeat, “Listen to the words I am not saying. Look for the things I am not doing. Ask about the things I am avoiding. Talk to me, but do not try to comfort me by saying, “This is all in your head.” You repeat this over and over until it’s engraved in your mind, only to discover it’s gone the following morning.

You dwell on an awkward moment for longer than necessary. You fake an illness or make an excuse to get out of a social event.

It’s a confusing race with anxiety, but you can get over it.

If you or someone you love is feeling anxious, call the crisis call center: (800)-273-8255, text, “ANSWER” to 839863 for professional help, or visit http://www.teenhealthandwellness.com/static/hotlines for more information.

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