what anxiety feels like

It’s like being so stressed that you’re calm, or so calm that you’re stressed.

Anxiety is living in a doubt house your mind can so easily trap you in, until you’ve sunken ten feet below the ground with no way out. It’s the restless nights of sleep as you toss and turn with your mind never being able to stop racing. It’s running a marathon without ever leaving your seat. It’s the thoughts you overthink throughout the day and before sleeping, leading all of your worst fears to feel like reality. It’s waking up tired even though you just started your day. Anxiety is learning how to function with sleep deprivation because it took you hours to finally shut your eyes. It’s wondering how to properly word every message, if you ever get around to even sending one, and how to perceive every one received. It’s the time you spend waiting for an answer as a false scenario plays out in your mind of what the other person could be thinking, or if you did something wrong. Anxiety is that piercing voice shouting into your ears, “maybe I’m purposely being ignored” or “I said something wrong” or “I’m not worth their time.” It’s believing every negative thought your mind can come up with.

Anxiety is waiting. It always feels like you’re waiting, even if for nothing, while simultaneously fearing life passing you by.

It’s the false conclusions and assumptions drawn up as your mind takes off, making you feel like you have no choice but to follow its destructive lead. You feel weak as it begins to consume you. Anxiety is self doubt and a lack of confidence and faith both in yourself and those around you. It’s the lies it tells you that you have to talk yourself out of believing. It’s being hyper aware of everything and everyone around you. So much so that you can tell if there’s a shift in someone just by their tone, body language or word choice, even if there’s no meaning behind any of it. Anxiety can unintentionally ruin relationships. It tells you “you’re wrong. this is wrong. something is wrong,” forcing you to jump to conclusions, withdraw because you fear confrontation and suppress your feelings because you’d never want to show you’re in a weak state — because you’d never want to feel like a burden. Until you’ve convinced yourself the relationship isn’t worth it, so you disassociate so well that you go numb and display carelessness even though internally you care more than anything. When anxiety wants to take over your relationships, it will feel like one side of your heart wants to give it your all because you can’t imagine losing this person, while the other side is petrified, has you feeling like a burden and is ready to give up out of fear of what could go wrong. You’re both scared and excited. You want to try, but you also don’t know if it’s worth it.

It’s a constant state of worrying and being on the edge.

It’s irrational fears and thoughts. It’s thinking too much, caring too much. Through sweaty palms, an uneasy mind and a constantly racing heart. On the outside, nobody can see this, because anxiety has perfected the exterior it’s placed on you so well. You appear calm, at ease, smiling like everything is OK — while underneath is anything but. Anxiety is wanting to fix something that doesn’t need to be fixed. It’s the stream of questions, negative thoughts and “what ifs” that make you doubt everything in and around you. Anxiety is the fear of failure in everything coupled with the constant strive for perfection, resulting in beating yourself up if you fall short or if something slightly turns in the wrong direction. It’s always telling you “you’ll fail. this will fail. just give it up.” It’s trying to exceed people’s expectations when nobody is expecting anything from you but to live and be yourself. But you don’t know what that means anymore. Anxiety is taking on more than you can handle just so you’re distracted, not overthinking and can numb yourself from consistently gut-wrenching pain. But it doesn’t work that way. It only results in your inner demons sinking deeper and taking control. It’s the triggers that set you off. It’s breaking down in private and being able to come to terms with your thoughts because you’re so overwhelmed, but again, nobody will ever see that side of you.

Anxiety is perpetually wondering “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

It’s the usual state of feeling nervous before an interview or important event, but it’s also feeling that way when you have nothing to be nervous about. When you’re just sitting at home and everything is technically fine, but you still feel uneasy and can’t figure out why, so you begin to obsessively try to dig something out of your mind. Anxiety is obsessive thinking and irrational thoughts. Something bad will come eventually. It’s constantly being pushed underwater by waves. Coming up for air gives you brief relief, but just as you find it, you’re pushed right under again. Sometimes the waves are small and you can swim through, but some are so powerful that you can’t do anything but wait them out, and have hope that they’ll pass. Anxiety is the cyclical feeling of a fight/flight response. Overthinking every sliver of life, with your mind trying to convince you that these negative thoughts are valid. It’s a constant battle between “me, myself and I.” There will be situations you’re in where the logical side of you, the non-anxiety self, wouldn’t think twice or be upset, but your anxiety monster within wins and leaves you in a constant state of panic. Meanwhile, deep down, you’re trying to convince yourself it’s nothing, clawing for a way out because you’re crippled by this demon…and you just end up exhausted over nothing. Anxiety is taking everything in life and turning it into a “worst case scenario” even if your rational brain knows everything is or will be just fine. It’s every problem, whether one you’re aware is real or one your mind convinces you of, coming to the forefront at once, causing a stampede on your soul.

It’s the past and future rising out of you and hindering your ability to focus on your present.

Some days you’ll wake up and feel great, like you can take on anything that comes your way, and then within the next 10 minutes, your chest becomes heavy, you begin to sweat and your hands shake. And because of this overwhelming and seemingly uncontrollable feeling, you begin to drain yourself and all you want to do is crawl back into bed, afraid that it’ll happen again. Anxiety is being completely fixated on one thing or ten things at once — it’s all the same. You can’t think rationally or logically, you only feel overexerted with emotion, or there’s so much of it that you begin to go numb. Anxiety is isolation, and it’s even harder in the you vs yourself world — an internal battle that’s all in your head, that you want so desperately to control and escape from. Especially when you feel like you can’t control anything else in your life. Anxiety can be a monster that steals all the joy out of a moment, tearing away the good parts of your life. And there will be times when it can seem to overtake your being.

Anxiety is an uninvited house guest in your head that’s here to stay.

to be continued

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