Anxiety does not schedule an appointment with you so it can strike at an appropriate time. It is less predictable than a tornado, and destroys the mind much the same as one. There is no logical side to anxiety; in fact it is utterly irrational, but the fear anxiety generates is real…to those who suffer with it.
Anxiety preys on every single, miniscule insecurity you have, and it will take that insecurity and create some of the most gargantuan, terrifying thoughts. Anxiety leaves you feeling as if you have been chewed up, spit out, and stomped on. Anxiety is a lifetime prison sentence, only to be to some small degree controlled by medicines, herbs, prayer, breathing exercises, and at times a combination of all.
People will tell you that you must face your fears to overcome them, that you worry too much, that you don’t trust them, that it was just your imagination. People don’t understand anxiety and panic attacks unless they suffer with them. I don’t say “deal with them” because you don’t deal with anxiety. Anxiety will make you suffer, and when the anxiety is strong enough to bring on a full blown panic attack, the mind is ready to deliver the most intense torture you can imagine. Anxiety’s target is not society. Anxiety targets its carrier. YOU are the target, and it means to destroy YOU! There is no escaping your own mind, so you are trapped there alone with two choices:
When I am becoming anxious, my first thought is “Oh no, not today, please, please not today.”. When that anxiety starts to escalate, my thoughts change to “Just breathe, hopefully it will pass…deep breaths and blow. What was that breathing exercise again? Crap I can’t remember it.” When anxiety is in full scale attack, I start praying through the tears, whether it is out loud, or just my thoughts “God please make it stop, please, please, please, I don’t want to go there. God please I can’t!” And when that same anxiety sets off panic attacks that create physical pain so excruciating and terrifying, my thoughts go to “I’m dying, is this a heart attack? I am going to die, God please help!”. Those are just the general thoughts, which combine with whatever fear or torture anxiety is creating at the time.
People who suffer with anxiety tend to overthink everything. They tend to second guess themselves. They are not trusting, because anxiety will not let them be. Anxiety drives the mind to create doubt in every aspect, so confidence is not high. People who suffer with anxiety want control. The thought of controlling everything around them will put anxiety at ease. There is little to no room for anxiety to slip in right? Wrong, because anxiety is degrading and will cause them to feel that what they are doing is not good enough. So we turn to perfection, and add to the load of controlling everything and the cycle continues…until we break. The load gets too heavy and we crumble.
I suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD. No I am not military, a common misconception with PTSD. I live in constant fear of everything, but I am functional. I work Monday through Friday, I am a mother with children that have their own anxieties, I am sociable, I have a relationship with John which anxiety tries its best to destroy, and I travel. I carry my medicine with me everywhere I go because I never know when an attack will take place. I have had a full blown panic attack in Walmart which included dry heaves, sweating, chest pains, and going to my car to hide until it passed. I have flashbacks which I can’t discuss because they trigger my anxiety. I rarely dream, but on the occasion that I do dream…my dreams are never sweet!
We all cope with our anxieties differently. What works for me, may not work for you. I have not found any certain way to cope because each attack is different from the last and must be dealt with accordingly, but if you have I am proud of you. It takes a strong person to keep up the fight. So I will do what I do best and that is to smile through the pain, breathe, pray hard, and most importantly (for me) laugh at it!!