The Root of the Issues

by Holly on February 28, 2012

in anxiety,seriousness

I have issues.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know this. I talk about my issues openly. Candidly. And with a bit of humor. Because we all have issues: every. single. one. of. us.

Maybe I’m a narcissist, but I like to think that by talking about my issues, I give others the green light to let their freak flag fly too. Talk about what ails them. What they struggle with. The crazy lurking behind the facade. And perhaps through sharing our issues, we can all remember that none of us are alone. We are all fighting something.

And I think it’s time to share with you all that my something is anxiety.

Specifically, generalized anxiety disorder.

Every since I can remember, I’ve been a worry wart. I worried about seemingly impossible things happening, like an asteroid hitting Earth or getting swallowed up in a tornado or kidnapped by a stranger. As I got older and into high school, the worry spread to social relationships, what others thought of me and my unknown future. Whattttt? You want me to choose a college to spend the next four years at…but what if I make the wrong decision? Instant worry. Irritability. Insomnia. The treadmill of neverending thoughts began.

And with each passing year, the worries transformed into something new. College. Dating. Internships. Jobs. Money. Often, I’d have problems concentrating. The task at hand seemed so much less important than thinking 10 steps ahead to my next job…or my next plan…or my next attempt to discover what I really wanted to do with my life.

Never fully engaged in the present moment, I was constantly occupied with figuring out the next thing…thinking somehow if I could anticipate it or plan it, I’d have control.

However, as it turns out, life doesn’t work that way.

Doesn’t the quote go, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans?” Despite my best attempts to plan out my life for the next step…life would bring me somewhere else…and I began to worry whether I could even trust myself. With nothing ever working out the way it “was supposed to,” I didn’t know what else to do but fear the unknown more.

Don’t get me wrong – from the outside, you would think I was a perfectly functioning human being. Because I was! And still am. And that’s the funny thing about anxiety…you can be a mess of words and thoughts and worries and irrationalities on the inside, but even the people closest to you can’t always see it. Unless it’s your mom, because moms always know.

The tension that would build up in my shoulders and back. Nights spent awake at 3am because I couldn’t stop my brain from thinking. Overthinking. Sometimes daydreaming, mostly worrying. Sleeping as much as I could, for it was the only time my brain ever felt quiet.

Worrying makes it hard to let go.

Worrying makes it hard to be positive.

Worrying makes it hard to say no.

Worrying makes it hard to truly believe that you deserve it. All of it. Everything.

Because worrying creates a solid foundation of distrust between you and the outside world. And when that seed is planted so deeply within the neurons of your brain, it’s hard to extract actual worries with worries that simply have no basis in reality. The smallest little thing can set off worry…transforming it into tension…manifesting into a panic attack….and anxiety has won.

But it doesn’t have to.

I’m working on it…every single day. I’m working on relaxing more (which I am notoriously bad at). Meditating. Going to my therapist. Limiting the amount of news I watch. Checking my thoughts. Breathing. Being engaged in the present moment, even if it’s just brushing my teeth. Not thinking ahead too far. Being excited over the unknown as opposed to worried about it. I am aware, and the first step to solving anything is the awareness of its existence.

I still worry. I still have problems concentrating. I still have irrational fears. I still overthink. I still love sleeping. I still have problems trusting myself. I still have really bad weeks where the world seems to be crumbling around me, and I cry on the phone to Mama Everythingtarian. I still have anxiety. And most likely always will.

But here it is: anxiety. The root of all my issues. My freak flag.

And just maybe, if I let it fly, one day it just might fly away.


Barb March 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm

I like what you said about constantly needing to think 10 steps ahead. I’ve never heard any one describe anxiety in quite that way. It makes sense, though.

Laura March 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm

One of the greatest things I have always loved about you blog ever since I started it following it a few months ago is that it is so honest. This is just another testament to that and I thank you for sharing it and in so doing offering further inspiration. And thanks for all the lovely humour along the way!

sofia March 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm

thank you for this post. and for reading my supa late comment. i feel like modern life must lead to anxiety, because so many of us suffer from it in at least minor ways; some more intensely than others. i am so glad you are seeking help (yay, therapy!) and talking about it. and working on it. keep it up, lady. :)

Elizabeth March 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I think I am going to bookmark this just so I can remind myself I’m not the only one that functions this way! And sometimes I cry when I read blog posts that I feel like were written for me.

Sarah March 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I just love your honesty.
I love the bits of you that I get to know through this blog.
I really would have never guessed that you deal with anxiety, what with all the adventures you regularly embark on. With that said, I get what you mean about the worrying.
And with all THAT said, I’m pretty sure that your admission about dealing with anxiety doesn’t change how much your fans adore you one little bit.

Frances March 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

Your honesty is refreshing. Regarding anxiety: you n’ me both.

Kathy Roberts March 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Never would have thought a girl who travelled through Laos alone suffers from aniety.
Thank you so much for sharing, now I know I am not alone in my freakiness because you also think too far ahead and have the courage to take chances. I am planning a move to Ecuador! That is if this mole I found and worried about all night doesn’t kill me, or I fall down the slippery carpet steps in my townhouse, or the plane crashes……

Amy March 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Anxiety…Control Issues…the epitome of my first three years of college…and soon afterwards something happened and my life began to change for the better. We really should talk more about this sometime ;)

Thanks for sharing and for your honesty.

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