My Struggle with Anxiety

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

William Shakespeare

I’ll just come right out and say it. More often than not, anxiety controls every single aspect of my life. I’ve lived this way practically my entire life. I’ll be 22 in October, so that’s a pretty long time. I have had periods of time, ranging from days to months, where I feel like maybe I’ve beaten this whole anxiety thing. But then it’ll come right back to hit me stronger and harder than ever before. Because that’s the thing with anxiety. I don’t think it ever really leaves you. I think that you have good days (if you’re really lucky maybe some good months) and you have bad days. The highs are really high and the lows are really low. At least that’s the case for me. I haven’t had a break from my anxiety in a really long time. It’s become more controllable with medication, and most days I make it through fine. But it’s always there in the back of my mind, I feel it on every inch of my body, I feel it deep inside of my bones. I have horrible days where my anxiety takes over and I can’t even leave the house. Though most days I’m fine. I say fine because that’s what it is. It’s not great or incredible or spectacular, it’s just fine. I get up, do what I have to do, go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. Maybe I’ve gotten used to it, maybe I’ve gotten comfortable in that routine, or maybe I’ve just become numb to it. Most days I think it’s all three. And in between those fine days, I have really good ones. Ones where I do something with friends, or spend time with my family. I would also say watching the Penguins play, but they’re no longer playing hockey (thanks Montreal). I’m thankful for those good days, because I don’t think I would be here without them. But that doesn’t make those fine days any easier. I wish that I could sit here and say that I’m content with my fine days. But I’m not. I hate comparing those days to my good ones because I know what they could be like. I get angry with myself because I don’t understand why every day of my life can’t be like those good ones. I find myself putting a lot of the blame on me for everything that has happened these last 3 years. Anxiety does that to you. Our minds can be very convincing when the place that we’re in is dark. It’s easy for irrational thoughts to take over our rational ones. That’s something that I have struggled with a lot. It’s something that I’m very angry at my anxiety about. When I’m having really bad anxiety days, or weeks, I become a very irrational person. And I hate that about myself. I know that it’s something that I can’t control, because when I’m deep in my anxiety I don’t have any control. Anxiety makes me sad. Anxiety makes me paranoid. Anxiety makes me mad. When I’m very anxious, I can’t be around loud noises. If I’m sitting in the living room watching tv, and I become anxious, I have to go up to my room immediately because the noise of the tv makes me feel like I’m going crazy. If I’m around a large group of people, and I become anxious, I have to find somewhere to go to compose myself. A lot of the time I’m okay, and can handle all of that, but if my anxiety takes over I just simply cannot. It’s not a fun way to live. My life was already ridden with anxiety before my autoimmune diagnosis 3 years ago, and now with everything that has been piled on, it’s bad. My anxiety has not gotten better, I’ve just been given the tools to control it as much as possible. And I’m thankful for that, I just wish I didn’t have to deal with it all, but I guess that’s just how life is. Anxiety is funny. It owns us but doesn’t leave a trace. I wish that I could look in the mirror and have all my pain be shown on the outside. I wish that I could see all of the scars from my trauma over the last 3 years. From my anxiety, depression and autoimmune diseases. Maybe if I could see my pain I’d be a little bit easier on myself. But instead, all my scars and pain are on the inside. I have to remind myself everyday that I’m strong and capable and worthy of living this life. If I could see inside of myself I would look at all of the things I have overcome. Look past my broken body, and see a soul that was put together. I know it’s in there, I just have to keep reminding myself. I’m afraid to let all of my fears, anxiety, grief, guilt and pain out all at once because if I did I don’t think I could possibly survive it. So that’s why I let it out little by little. In therapy, these blog posts, in conversations with family and friends. I know that I’m not an easy person to live with, so I’m thankful every single day for my family. I really don’t know how they do it sometimes. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared to be a girlfriend, fiancĂ©, wife and mom. Because I know that I can be difficult to live with, even to be with sometimes. But I try my hardest. I don’t think that you can become a different person, but I think that you can become a better person. That’s really all I’m trying to do. If you struggle with anxiety, please know that you are not alone, even though it may feel like it at times. If you get up every morning and stare anxiety directly in the face and decide to live your life that day, I’m proud of you. Remember that anxiety doesn’t make us weak, it makes us strong. As I said in my last blog post, my favorite book of all time is Us Against You by Frederick Backman. I’ll end this post with one of the most profound lines. “Life is a weird thing. We spend all our time trying to manage different aspects of it, yet we are still largely shaped by things that happen beyond our control.”

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