Anxiety can manifest in all kinds of ways.
Sometimes it’s a heart beating rapidly, or it’s a massive hole in the stomach.
Sometimes it looks like racing thoughts or an inability to sit still.
It might feel like crawling skin, or like electricity is pulsing through your veins.
Sometimes, it feels like your chest is holding your heart too tightly… so tightly that you just want to rip it out and let it sit gently in your hands, where it can start to feel safe again.
Anxiety can feel like extreme irritability or displaced rage.
It might mean crying. It might look like withdrawal or sadness or confusion.
It might feel like social discomfort, fear, guilt, or even shame.
It might result in a panic attack, and even THAT can look like countless things… most of which include unexpected or uncontrollable behaviors.
You might feel nervous when you have anxiety. You might feel worried. It might be hard to draw your breath. You might feel fidgety one minute, then paralyzed the next.
Sometimes, you can anticipate anxiety. Other times, it’s a monster that preys on you when you least expect it.
Anxiety can make it hard to focus. It can put your mind in the thickest fog.
Anxiety can be a control freak. Sometimes it’s demanding and impossible to please. It can suggest that you’re not good enough, you’re not thin enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re just not enough, period.
Anxiety can wreak havoc on your senses. Noise might drive you mad, or you might have too many things to see, all at once. You might recoil from someone’s touch.
It might be scary to be around people; it might be scary to be alone.
It can feel like tenseness, rigidity, and stress. It can feel like nausea.
Anxiety might mean replaying that thing you said, over and over and over… for hours, for days. Sometimes even for years.
Anxiety is often illogical. There’s not always an identifiable reason for it, and you typically can’t reason your way through it or talk yourself out of it. It doesn’t work that way.
There’s not a cure for anxiety.
But some things can make a big difference.
You can take medication.
You can talk to a therapist.
You can find a place to be still, and just breathe.
*In and out… in and out… in and out.*
You can share your experience, and you can listen to others. You can believe them. You can take them seriously.
Anxiety is real. And it’s NORMAL. You’re not crazy. You’re not losing your mind. You’re not a bad parent, a bad child, a bad friend. And you’re absolutely not alone.
You’re just anxious, and so am I.
But, can I tell you something strange? I’ve almost learned to welcome anxiety as if it’s an old friend.
We don’t always get along, and we rarely see eye-to-eye. But it’s a huge part of me, and I refuse to be my own enemy.
Besides, when I treat it as a sidekick, rather than as a nemesis, it seems a little more inclined to cooperate.
But either way, I’m thankful to know real people who really understand.
So together, let’s own it. Together, let’s LIVE FULLY, right alongside it. Together, let’s help others feel seen, heard, and valued. Let’s ask openly to be loved, not *despite* the anxiety… but for all that we are, anxiety included.
Yes, we battle anxiety. But that makes us fighters. We’re tough and resilient, and we keep showing up in life (even on those days when we can’t literally be present or even move far from the couch). We keep going, because we have so much to keep going FOR.
This is me.
I’d love to introduce you to my anxiety…