Do you remember a few years back, four perhaps, when everyone was complaining about their anxiety? I couldn’t stand it. I mocked those people and the concept. I rolled my eyes at the notion so many people were claiming they were suffering from this so-called anxiety.
To me, this was an attention-seeking, “I’m not getting enough dopamine hits from Instagram likes, so I’m going to tell everyone I have anxiety” issue.
And then having anxiety became popular, in a good way. Funny, even, like this: “Those crumbs on the kitchen floor are giving me anxiety.” “I can’t decide if I want sushi or pizza for dinner. This is giving me anxiety.” “You’re being way too dramatic right now and it’s giving me anxiety.”
Until it happened to me
Now it wasn’t so funny. Now I was the one experiencing the awful, internal, physical and emotional pain of worries, fears, stress and paranoia that I had been reading about, coming on almost always for reasons unknown.
Being on anti-anxiety medication helped, but I hated the fact I was intentionally putting unnecessary chemicals into my body, so I stopped taking them. And after a few weeks of being medication free, feeling like I had beat those feelings of sadness mixed with fear mixed with stress, the anxiety returned, happening more often and more severe than what I had remembered.
So I went the natural route, changing my diet, upping my workouts and meditating, even going to therapy — all of which helped, but didn’t help enough.
After two years of experiencing these horrible bouts of depression and consistent and uncontrollable anxiety, I finally realized why I felt sad and anxious all the time.
I felt alone.
I was alone.
I was a new mom, I moved to a new city I hated and I changed career directions. And I was dealing with all of it alone, pretending everything was fine when it was everything but.
I was experiencing the opposite problem that everyone else seemed to have. Everyone else was too busy to see straight and I was desperate for face-to-face interaction with someone, anyone — I just didn’t know it.
Realizing the solution to my anxiety
It wasn’t until a receptionist at a doctor’s office struck up conversation with me that it hit me why I had been feeling so miserable (and was so miserable to be around). And it wasn’t about the weather. She had papers and files stacked everywhere around her, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing and her co-worker was calling for her from down the hall. It was like none of that was happening because she just sat there, smiling at me telling me about a funny Facebook video her friend had just uploaded.
That was it. That was what happened for me to realize I was missing the bigger picture of life. I wasn’t connecting with anyone, which is why I felt so alone.
You cannot go through life alone. We gain the greatest joy when we experience life with people, and I’m grateful that I know that now.
Pretending to be okay when you aren’t won’t make things better. Don’t let it get to a point where you no longer have control over your emotions and reactions.
Anxiety is very real and very terrifying, and if your symptoms are severe enough that they get in the way of your everyday life, I strongly suggest you first tell someone about it, and second, seek help to find a solution to the pain you’re experiencing.
The greatest power lies within the people we choose to be around us, who uplift us, make us feel like we matter and support us through life’s difficult moments. Hang on to those people in your life and don’t ever feel like you are bringing them down by telling them about your problems. We all go through struggles in life. It’s much better if we go through them with others.
Thanks for reading!