Imagine sitting down in a comfortable chair, reading a book or watching television, and having a 100-mile-per-hour tornado roaring through every fiber of your body. Sitting still for even a minute feels like a lifetime. Focusing on being “present in the moment” is a distant thought. Just even paying attention to one’s own basic life needs feels like a struggle.
To me, this partly defines anxiety disorder—something I’ve had to address for more than 20 years. Honestly, it might be much longer but this is as long as I have been aware of it.
Generalized anxiety disorder leaves me feeling tired, lethargic, and not wanting to do a damned thing. I’d rather watch the squirrels in the trees or see the blue sky and white clouds than spend time on what I need to do.
This inner tornado of anxiety makes that word “focus” stick out like a sore thumb. Sure, I focus on what I am doing—like writing this piece—and can get it done pretty well. When it comes to larger issues, such as business, finances, relationships, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors, then I’m liable to go off the rails.
It’s funny because people with anxiety disorders can do a good job of masking their issues. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all description, and there will be those dissenting voices which say all of this anxiety disorder talk is just that…a bunch of talk.
Come live inside my body, friend. Live with the moments of peace and patience mixed with flashes of insecurity and lack of desire to live.
Yeah, sit there and tell me anxiety disorder is a matter of changing my thoughts. Please.
Medication helps tame this wild beast. I’ve tried different psychotropic medications over the past couple of decades, especially when all of this led to a pretty dark, depressive period of time. That space felt like I was just operating and pushing basic life levers while “living” became maudlin, dark, and a soul-sucking endeavor.
Thankfully, with professional help, I was able to leave the depression behind but not the anxiety disorder. It led me to leave a job and put me on the sidelines of life for a little bit.
As much as I didn’t want to feel this way or have that depression hit, it did.
Maybe it stemmed from being around emotionally-disconnected family members, especially one who tried to commit suicide and had two major nervous breakdowns. I had to hold it all together during those times and, Lord knows, those who worked with me probably thought I was a bit crazy myself in those periods, too.
Disorder is a proper word to use as everything in my own life gets dis-orderly (or out of order) pretty quickly. Sometimes, my skin feels like it is on fire, filled with nitrogen-laced goosebumps. My mind gets wrapped up in what has happened in my life, all of the down stuff, and then looks to the future filled with hopes and dreams. Just do anything but live in the n-o-w. That’s too painful.
Every single person who deals with anxiety disorders has their own experience. If you are around a loved one or friend who has an anxiety disorder, then show some compassion. Telling them to “just get over it” is not going to help. Saying “just go get more exercise every day” might aid the physical, mental, and emotional parts, OK, yet it’s not going to be a long-term solution.
There are ways to deal with anxiety in a healthy, productive manner.
Some people will choose a natural, holistic path of healing; others will seek Western medicine’s guidance. I’m not here to say which way works for you at all. From my own experience, a mixture of Eastern and Western practices has helped a lot.
Anxiety is not a bad word. Everyone feels anxious at times in their lives, and for good reason. It’s an alarm bell which lets me know when “the vibe” or an individual or situation is not going to be healthy for me. What do I do? I better listen to my intuition and follow it. The more I’m able to do this, then the less my anxiety gets into “red alert” level.
Some of us have a heavier dose of anxiety than normal people do. I don’t have the final answer around why this is, either. I do use prayer, meditation, breathing techniques, exercise, time outside, medication, and a little more gentleness in my life these days.
They help provide a stable base where I can actually live and function on a daily basis.
Being under pressure every waking moment is absolutely no way to live at all.
I would encourage any person who feels like their anxiety levels are causing problems to reach out for support. There is so much help and information available through the Internet and organizations which solely focus on anxiety disorders. Don’t be ashamed if you deal with this. I have my path of healing and wholeness and do my best to follow it each day.
My hope is that you find what works for you, and love yourself through the painful moments.