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.