Ok so a while ago I posted a blog about having depression in your twenties and the response I had was amazing! I never did it for myself, I wanted to give others the confidence to admit what they are going through and to not be ashamed.
So, whilst I suffer from depression thats pretty minor compared to how prominent my anxiety is. I know lucky me, right? depression AND anxiety, I'm basically collecting them all.
So whats it like to have anxiety?
Its one of those things that is difficult to explain unless you have been through it yourself, but I think its important to try and explain what its like so people around you, your friends, your family, your loved ones are sympathetic and more importantly understand that you aren't your anxiety, its just a part of you.
Everyones anxiety is different, so I'm going to explain mine and what better way to write this than now, when i'm having a rough week of anxiety attacks.
Have you ever woke up from a night of heavy drinking, where you can't remember what you've done the night before? did you dance on a table, say something silly or just being a drunken mess. Well you know that panic you go through, imagining every bad possible outcome...thats what its like to have anxiety, but intensify it by 10 and have it 24/7.
My anxiety can come at any time in the day, sometimes I don't have it for weeks at a time then bam...anxiety attack. A constant stream of tears, hyper-ventalating and the feeling of being suffocated.I can't tell you whats wrong, because I don't know and I can't fix it. This is the worst part for your friends and your loved ones, because they want to help you, its natural but how? when I don't know what sets it off, sometimes there is no reasonable explanation for it. Personally, I'm still working on my trigger.
The daily struggle
On a daily basis my anxiety means I'm constantly overthinking, but I'm not actually concentrating on anything, sounds bizarre right? I can be in work, but I will be on auto pilot, instead my mind is working at a 100mph thinking about anything and everything at once, it ranges from random thoughts such as what shall I do at the gym to what am I doing with my life. Its exhausting. I used to be the most organised person that would take on as much as I could and get it done no matter what. Now? I forget everything, I find it difficult to concentrate, instead I procrastinate like a university student doing exams...
Sleep? thats a thing of the past for me. I have about 3 - 4 hours sleep a night and I always wake up atleast twice. If on a rare occasion I do sleep; i'll wake up with scratches on my face from where i've been anxious, I sleep walk or have nightmares.
I've got into this bad habit of over exhausting my body and not allowing myself five minutes peace, because five minutes to myself just means I end up in my head, whereas if I'm constantly busy, I'm distracting myself. I don't watch tv, I can't watch films and most of the time people think i'm ignoring them where I'm not I'm just thinking about other things. But I'm learning to deal with it, I have found it so helpful to talk about it. Luckily I have the most amazing friends and family who are very supportive and understanding, even during times when I am the WORST person to be around.
Being in your twenties with anxiety.
'Normal' twenty year old girls love going out with their friends, working and dating. All these things come so natural for most people, you don't even think about it you just do it. Social anxiety is a bitch...its so easy to cancel on plans and stay 'comfortable' in your own surroundings. No one can judge you there right? your safe, nothing can set you off. Thats what I tell myself anyway. My friends are understanding when I cancel on them now, but my best friends make the effort to get me out of my comfort zone. something i'm always grateful for. Dating? well thats is a no go for me, I recently found someone that understood what I was going through and was so supportive of my 'episodes', what did I do? pushed him away of course. In my mind no one wants to date that girl with anxiety right? I made things so much harder than they should have been, I wasn't honest about how bad my anxiety is and I couldn't control it. I don't blame him for walking away and I don't blame myself for the way I am.
My blank space
As cheesy as it sounds, music is my little saviour. Its the only time I can get out of my head, stop thinking and instead I focus on the words...my song lyric knowledge is impeccable. If I ever feel anxious, i put my headphones in, whether its to sleep, in work, at the gym...headphones on world out.