Thanks Anxiety Disorder For Making Me Look And Sound Like An Idiot All The Time!

I’ve had an anxiety disorder since the age of 12. It was easier to hide the disorder from my peers back then. I could still act awkward and shy, people would think it was cute. Of course everyone would tell me that I just had to break out of my shell. That never happened. 

Now that I’m close to 24 years I just cringe at the things I say and do. I’m not totally socially inept but I do make a fool of myself a lot. When someone asks me a question I take a couple extra seconds to answer because I have a hard time coming up with a response. If I respond too quickly I tend to jumble up my words. 

It doesn’t only happen when it comes to speaking. A lot of my actions are dictated by my anxiety. I try to avoid having lots of attention on me. Sometimes I’ll avoid asking a store employee for help. Sometimes I avoid crossing very busy streets because I don’t want eyes on me. It sounds ridiculous, I’m sure. 

I always wonder if people notice. I’m sure my family does to some extent. My friends may not have a clue. Maybe I’m just overthinking everything? Yet another symptom of my anxiety disorder!

Anxiety is Exhausting

anguish.jpg

I am exhausted. Not because I fill up my days with errands and work, but because I spend so much of my energy being anxious. This partly describes my lack of (good) blog posts. I just want to go home and curl up on the couch with a book.

There’s so many times I want to shut my brain off. Just a good 20 minutes of silence would be wonderful. I have thoughts constantly racing through my brain, even when I’m asleep. Of course this leaves me totally exhausted, even though I’ve been lying in bed for the last 8 hours. I often say to my self that it leaves my brain feeling “mushy”.

It’s not always this bad. It comes in waves, sometimes I’m doing well. Other times my mind feels like it’s being overloaded. I over analyze every situation, think irrationally, and fear places.  So, instead of thinking I’m lazy when all I want to do is stay at home, just know that I really do want to go outside but the sheer amount of effort it takes to everyday tasks is debilitating. It’s so much easier to skip going to the grocery store then have to deal with being anxious and on edge the entire time.

All I can say is… I can’t wait till I have my energy back!

It’s Hard to See Light When You’re Surrounded by Darkness 

light-at-end-tunnel-31000

I  don’t usually post this type of thing but I feel like this might be cathartic. The last several days have felt long, tiring, and painful. I would wake up and count down the hours till I could get back to bed. The anxiety and sadness comes in waves, sometimes I’m alright and other times it feels like I’m drowning. I’m just trying to keep my head above the water.

I get tired of hearing people say to work on strategies to overcome these feelings. Of course I should be doing that, but I’m too freaking exhausted. It just feels like there’s a weight lying on my chest. Weights on my shoulders that sink me down into the ground.

I know there’s light at the end of this tunnel I am in. It’s just pushing myself to get to the that light, that isn’t easy. I want to see all the positives in my life but it feels like I have this gloomy shadow following me around.

Hopefully I get out of this funk and if any of my readers are in this too, I hope you feel better!

How To Deal With Anxiety?

6357405020812055051488693726_anxiety-charlie-brown

How do others deal with anxiety? Anxiety seems to consume my every thought and action. The idea of coping with it seems almost impossible when I feel anxiety attacks coming on to me. The mix of the physical symptoms (shaking, sweating, heart racing) and thoughts (you are going to fail etc.) make it difficult for me to think rationally.

So how do I deal with it? I try many different things, and get some success. The biggest thing that helps for me is making sure I don’t think negatively. If I see myself going in a cycle of negative thoughts I’ll try to counteract it or distract myself. It’s not easy at all.

Another thing that helps me cope is making sure I eat enough. When I’m anxious I can’t stomach any food, it makes me feel too sick. Of course this is probably one reason I am so tiny. Not enough food means lack of energy, and that usually means I’ll be more anxious. I make sure to carry around a water bottle and granola bar in my bag.

Mediation and breathing techniques help wonders. I feel silly doing breathing techniques in public but they certainly make a difference. Mediation is great especially when I just wake up. I’ll be honest, meditation isn’t easy to get a hang of. I still struggle with trying to stop my racing thoughts.

Lastly, blogging helps! Just getting my thoughts out and connecting with others is a great way to lessen my anxiety. It helps knowing that I’m not alone in this battle with my anxiety. It’s really not easy to find coping methods.

Everyone has their own battles to face…. so don’t judge!

3df28c9.jpg

There’s some people that seem like they are happy 24/7 and to be quite honest it annoys me at times. This is mostly because I simply can’t be that way, I just don’t know how they are always cheerful. I had one friend in particularly that was overly perky and it just drove me crazy. What I didn’t know was that she was facing so many personal issues, I was so quick to judge. I assumed just because she was smiling it meant she was actually happy!

This seems like a pretty basic concept to grasp but I think it’s easier said than done. It’s so easy to look at that beautiful popular girl and forget that she may be facing her own problems. Even for me, I look very studious and put together but on the inside yet I struggle daily with my anxiety. I don’t blame others for not realizing my “battle” but it just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover (as cliche as that sounds).

I think we are so quick to judge individuals. We automatically assume that if someone seems sad or quiet they must be going through something difficult. If someone is smiling then everything must be all right. It’s so much deeper than that. So, before being jealous of my friends “perfect lives” I’ll consider the fact that they are probably facing their own battles whether big or small.

Got hired on the spot! Take that anxiety! 

negotiating-a-job-offer.jpg

This may be a boring post to read but I am so proud of myself! I actually went to my interview (if you have read my previous posts you’ll know I have a habit of skipping them). I spent 15 minutes dry heaving in my car beforehand, but luckily my dad drove with me into the city so I wasn’t all alone feeling terrible. I seriously wanted to turn around and go home but I somehow mustered up the courage to go in. It also didn’t help that it was pouring rain outside so I my clothes were half wet going into the interview.

It lasted about 40 minutes and at times I admit I was getting hot flashes and dizziness. I was able to make it through the whole interview with only stumbling over my words a few times. In the end they offered me a job that sounds like a great fit for me (and that makes use of my degree…)! I was shocked because I was convinced they would have been able to tell how nervous I was.

Anyway, there’s no real point of this post besides reminding myself and others that anxiety does not need to rule your life! It’s better to take a chance and fail than to take no chance at all.

 

Interviewing When You Have an Anxiety Disorder Is No Fun

jobinterviewcartoon.gif

The majority of people don’t like interviews, it’s nerve wracking. I have been out of a job for a few months and have scheduled an interview on Thursday. Of course, I should ecstatic that someone is even considering me as a good candidate but all I can think of is how terrible it’ll be. I shamefully admit I have skipped a couple of interviews (simply not showing up, walking out of the building, calling in sick etc.) Interviews just terrify me, and I know it shows on my face and in my words. I have convinced myself that it’s better to miss out on opportunities than go through the uncomfortable hour of being judged by a stranger.

I usually start sweating purposely and stumble over my words. I look like a complete wreck,  at least I’m lucky that I can at least “fake” confidence somewhat. I just have so many thoughts running through my head during interviews. Half of them are telling me that I shouldn’t bother because I’m not qualified and the other half is telling me that I’m overwhelmingly anxious. So, as I’m being asked what my skills are, I really want to tell them that it is “fending off a panic attack in stressful situations. Because that’s honestly what I’m doing in that moment.

I have tried to prepare for interviews beforehand but sometimes I get too nervous and physically sick that I make no progress. I really wish I didn’t have an anxiety disorder, my life would be so much easier but alas I can’t get everything I want. So.. in a desperate attempt I am finding ways to convince myself I will nail this interview on Thursday!

There Will Always Be Someone Prettier, Smarter, and Wealthier Than You

tumblr_mcxdp2qbfu1r73imgo1_500.png

Striving to be better than everyone else will not work. Simply because there will always be someone “better” than us. Sure, I may be smart but that doesn’t mean that just because I’m not the smartest person in my group of friends I am suddenly not good enough. I struggle a lot with comparing myself to others. This tends to leave me very anxious or depressed. It’s hard to remember that you should only focus on being the best you, not trying to be better than everyone around you.

It’s fine to use others as motivation. If I see someone who dresses particularly well that may motivate me to want to be more like her. I just have to be careful not to sit around and think to myself, “Wow, I wish I could look like her. It sucks being ugly!”. What good will that do? None.

This was a hard lesson to learn. I used to remember telling my parents about the grades or activities other students did at my school. I remember their responses always being along the lines of, “Why does it matter what the other kids are doing?”. I understand much more now why they would say that, I should really just be focusing on my own growth and strength.

To this day I still catch myself getting down because I see all my peers on social media putting forth their “perfect” lives. I just have to tell myself that I am happy for their success, but I need to work on creating my own path.

Don’t Tell Someone who is Depressed to “Just be Happy”

Anxiety-is-my-friend

Although I’m not struggling with depression at the moment this line has always irked me. I try to be very careful to not say it to anyone I know. I understand that people’s intentions are good but this line simply does not help. In fact it will probably make someone feel worse. It’s almost as if you are invalidating their feelings. If it was so easy to “just be happy” then we wouldn’t be depressed in the first place!

This also happens a lot with my anxiety. I’ll be jittery and sweating while concentrating on fending off a panic attack. People will tell me to “calm down”. Now, do they think that suddenly I’ll be like “Oh okay, yup suddenly I’m not anxious anymore!”. It doesn’t work that way. Our brains have been programmed after many years to spin in a vicious cycle.  Simply saying a statement like that wont make a difference, our minds are too loud.

I’d much rather prefer someone to tell me they understand my feelings. I would much rather have someone tell me that they are here with me no matter what I go through. I would also much rather they tell me that I’m not crazy or a terrible person for thinking in the ways that I do. Of course everyone is different. Some people may benefit from being told to just cheer up. I would just hope that before you tell someone that, you try to understand how difficult it is to control the negative emotions and thoughts that constantly run through our heads.

Asking for Help Doesn’t Make You a Failure!

ask-for-help-900

In our society we value responsibility and individualism. It’s good to be able to care for yourself and make your own decisions. It is also okay to ask for help! Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’ve completely failed at being independent. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just a part of life.

I was always scared to confide in my parents about my anxiety disorder. I suffered many years in silence hoping that they would catch on without me having to tell them I couldn’t go through it alone. Sure, they noticed some signs but I can’t blame them for not seeing how much I was struggling. I finally found the courage to tell them, I knew I would be safe and I would face no judgements. Since telling my parents I’ve been able to get access to care that I never even knew existed! I feel like I can live my life normally and I still have a lot of support.

This applies to smaller issues too. I remember being in school and not wanting to ask teachers for help. I felt stupid and didn’t want to single myself out. Of course my grades plummeted and I chose to do nothing about it. Looking back on it, I don’t think the teachers would have minded one bit if I went to them for help. That’s their job anyway, to help me learn!

It’s easier said than done, I get that. I have no problem telling my friends they can come to me for help but it just doesn’t feel easy to go to them. It makes sense, we are so much harder on ourselves. I think what we need to learn is that if we don’t ask for help we may end up in a very dangerous or unfavorable position.

So, if you need help with something… go tell someone!