MIRROR OF ME

The Power Anxiety Has Over Me

I am a person with severe anxiety. Sometimes I feel captive to myself and other times I’m just distantly numb from the burden. I know at this stage in my life, I am who I am, and that’s okay because I have learned how to live with my anxiety.

It first began for me on the stage while dancing. I used to think that it was my nerves getting the best of me. However, the feeling never left when the curtain closed and I was left with that twisting in my gut, the feeling of panic, the feeling that that just sits in the back of your throat and won’t go away. It’s the mirror of me reflecting this person I do not want to be. This is anxiety.

What does anxiety feel like to me? It’s a natural sensation that ruminates inside of my veins. It watches my every move during the day and makes sure that I know it is present. I do feel it’s presence and sometimes it’s painfully noticeable on the outside. However, most of the time it is hidden so deep that it’s not visible to those around me. It leads me within my structured path and constantly challenges my brain to change which then forces me to fight this force.

When I start my day, I wake up a little bit groggy because my sleep schedule is constantly interrupted by my itching thoughts. I usually wake up around 2 am from a myriad of concerns and it goes a little something like this:

Are the kids happy? Does my husband know he’s loved? Am I healthy? What’s that ache? Do I need to go to the doctor? I need more money. How can I make more money? Am I going to have enough money to pay the bills? Are we ever going to be able to go on another vacation? It’s not fair that I think about everything. Why do I feel so much? Why am I always so concerned about other people and their well being? Is it to distract me from my own emotions?

Yep, that’s just in the first 5 minutes of reality. After that, it’s a battle to fall back asleep and sometimes it gets me out of bed in the middle of the night. I always turn to crossword puzzles, which does nothing for my sleep and only stimulates my brain. Awesome! I’m doing something educational, but sleep deprived.

When it’s time to get ready, I pop out of bed like the weasel, running the race against time and checking my cell phone every 5 minutes for new emails. It drives me nuts. Once I get into the shower, that feeling starts; The anxious feeling. It sits in a clump at the back of my throat. It’s not a sharp or dull pain, but it’s aggravating. It’s like the annoying feeling of having a splinter stuck in your skin; you definitely feel it until it’s taken out. Unfortunately, that remedy doesn’t work too well for anxiety. Otherwise, I would be the first one in line, blasting through every dollar I had, just to eliminate my nervousness.

As the day moves forward and I begin my work day, the feeling remains. In fact, it remains all day, until I go to bed at night. I constantly bounce my leg until it aches. I get up and I sit down and then go on repeat. My day is like watching the water boil. When is this going to happen? When is that going to happen? How much longer? So many things are just out of my control and I hate that more than anything. I can’t accept it and damn it, I wish I could so badly.

Did you know that there are people who deny the fact that anxiety exists? I can’t tell you how many times I have had people tell me to stop worrying or to stop being so nervous. Who the hell wants to feel like this? If I could turn it off, I would. Sure, I will stop worrying and being so nervous on command. Done! If that could be, then the drug companies wouldn’t have created some of these amazing pills for sufferers. I am not supporting their behavior in our health care crisis by any means. They are a big part of the problem. What I am saying is that if it weren’t for therapists and these life changing drugs, my life, as well as others that live with anxiety, couldn’t get any relief.

What does relief mean to me? It doesn’t mean taking away the symptoms or making me feel like a different person. It lessens the intensity and seems to calm my responses. They are definitely not miracle pills, but they have aided many people, including myself, in understanding to take a step back. Some people are able to remain in this state and go off of the pills, while others remain on them forever. Unfortunately, I fall in the latter.

Anxiety is definitely a big part of my life and it’s funny because most people don’t know I have it unless I tell them. My nerves do not come and go for me. They are always there and it makes me, me. Although anxiety seems to be looked at in a more negative light for me, there are some positives that come with it too. Phew! I am always alert. I know where all the exits are in any place I go. I look around a lot to know my surroundings. I’m the first one to slam on the breaks and do a 180 back to school if anyone hurts my child. In my eyes, you are guilty til proven innocent. No, I’m not that harsh, but trust is a really big thing. Trusting someone allows you to naturally calm, so I tend to stay away from people that naturally stir the pot of drama soup. I talk a lot. A. lot. I’m not sure if it’s my nerves or my genuine friendliness. Maybe, it’s a combo of both. Either one, it’s who I am. I always get the job done, most of the time in fear of failure, and I’m always the first one to arrive when meeting people. No one knows the real reason, except for those close to me. Ask my husband and he will tell you I definitely have issues with time!

I don’t remember the exact first time I felt really anxious, but from a young age I knew I felt something. As I got older, I would be drawn to people that had unworkable problems, and I would just listen, and actually feel the emotions that were being expelled. I wanted to help. I always want to help and offer my excellent “been there, done that advice!” Seriously, I’m quite the doc without the Phd. It makes me happy to help others, but it also makes me feel really good to see the other person enlightened by what I’ve said and it can be very soothing to me.

Now that I’m officially an adult with a family, I guess I have to be honest with myself about my anxiety. I am someone who has a great deal of anxiety, worries about everything and always want to control the situation, but I am also very loving, trustworthy, driven, and a happy girl carrying a lot of fancy handbags on my journey. Baggage just sounds bad, plus I will be collecting more “handbags” along the way, so I should get used to the weight, if you catch my drift….