Few people truly understand what it’s like to have anxiety. So this post is for all of the ones who don’t have a voice, don’t have a platform, and just want to be understood.
I cannot express to you how many times I have heard someone say: “I was so anxious about doing [insert activity here].” No. You weren’t. Because if you were anxious about it, you wouldn’t have done it. When I’m nervous, I have butterflies in my stomach, my hands and upper lip starts to sweat a little (Your upper lip probably sweats, too. Don’t judge). My voice may shake.
When I’m feeling anxious or have a panic attack, it’s an entirely different story. I may feel those same symptoms, along with nausea, racing heartbeat, racing thoughts, sometimes crying. Rocking in a fetal position is common. And if you ask anyone who has ever had a panic attack, they will probably tell you, “It feels like dying.” Thankfully, I have never felt death. Obviously. Because I wrote what you’re reading. But that’s what it feels like.
When you equate my anxiety to your nervousness, it’s like equating a bee sting to a dog bite. They both hurt, but in completely different ways. How would you feel if you got bit by a dog and someone just said, “Oh. You’ll be alright. You worry too much. It doesn’t hurt that bad.” You’d look at them like they were crazy, right?
I can promise you that I am VERY aware that it’s “all in my head.” So please, stop saying that. In fact, don’t ever say that to anyone ever, anxiety or no anxiety.
Sheltering/babying someone with anxiety doesn’t help, either. Because eventually, I will find out. And you keeping something that I may potentially “worry” about from me doesn’t make it better or worse. What if I totaled your car, but didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to “worry?” Because, in reality, not telling me something is the same as lying in my book.
Here’s what I’m trying to say. If you don’t understand what it’s like, ask. Some people with anxiety are too, well, anxious to talk about it. I didn’t say anything about mine until a few months ago. But I realized that the people around me were being effected. So I spoke up.
This may sound harsh or a little bitter. I’m not bitter at all. I understand that some people just don’t get anxiety. But, my philosophy is:
If you don’t understand it, ask about it.
It’s that simple. And if the person is comfortable, he or she will tell. If the person isn’t respect that. But don’t make assumptions based on what you think you know.
Speaking of, I greatly admire people who say: “I’ve read about anxiety and I have some questions.” Praise the LORD for these people. Do your research. It means the world.
I say all of this to say: I am human. I am hilarious (I laugh at myself, so that counts). I am in love with Jesus. I am smart. I am beautiful. I am a coffee addict. But I am NOT my anxiety.
So treat me as thus. Please.
P. S. If you have any questions about anxiety, ask me. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions! 😘