Anxiety has an amazing ability to humble you.
No matter how big and tough and strong you think you are, anxiety can reduce you to a balled up, crying, shaking wreck. All you want is to be held like a baby, tears stream down your face, and you have no control over yourself.
I often have this odd sensation on my skin when my anxiety is high. It is hyper-sensitive to the touch. Even blankets or clothes can irritate to the point of pain. All you want is to be hidden in a pile of blankets four feet high, but it feels like a sunburn all over your body.
Anxiety is maybe the most co-opted mental health word out there today, although depressed is a close second. Being anxious and having anxiety aren’t the same thing.
It is extremely normal to feel uneasy about a test of a speech. It is common to stay up late worried about a surgery or money. And breaking down into tears over daily stress is a place I am sure all of you have been.
I doubt many of you have been balled up in the fetal position, arms wrapped around your chest, shaking uncontrollably, for hours without pause.
That is the difference.
There is an underbelly to that normal anxiety that is truly dark and disturbing.
I have experienced a lot of anxiety lately. I have missed about a week of work total over the last handful of weeks because I found it physically impossible to stop shaking long enough to shower or eat, let alone work.
This spring, like most springs, has not been easy on me. It still isn’t going particularly well. But, that being said, it has still been much better than the last several years.
I’ve talked on here before that I never experienced anxiety, really of any kind, until everything got particularly dark for me a couple months before my wedding in the fall of 2012. Since that time I have experienced a whole range of moods, but none have been as destabilizing to me as anxiety.
Depression is bad, mixed states are worse, anxiety will make you lose your mind.
And maybe it is simply because I’ve dealt with depression for a couple decades, and anxiety is still a new experience for me, but I do not handle it well.
Anxiety can make you agoraphobic, isolated, lonely, afraid.
Anxiety can make it physically painful to be around people or be engaged in any way.
Anxiety can make life impossible in a way that nothing else I’ve ever experienced can.
So you can see I am not talking about having butterflies in your stomach about getting on an airplane.