what does anxiety look like
I’ve sat down about 5 or 6 times now to write this post. I’ve had so much trouble I think because not only is this an extremely personal part of me. But I also want to explain myself in a way that will help you, or maybe someone you know, understand anxiety a little better. I want to get my struggles with anxiety across. And I want to get it right because it’s important! This is such a huge part of my life and for some of you it is too. Or maybe even someone you know.
I honestly believe that God has allowed and is allowing me to go through these things so that I may:
1) grow and come closer to Him and
2) maybe help someone who is going through a similar situation.
If I share my story and experiences perhaps someone will read it and know that they’re not alone or crazy.
There’s so much that comes along with having anxiety – consuming fear, apathy, depression, despair, obsessive behaviour, irrational and illogical thoughts. Just to name a few. This sounds so gloomy and hard, and it can be. I promise I’m not trying to be all morose though! I just want to share my experiences and give insight into the question what does anxiety look like?
You see, for the past two weeks I have been in bed. Surrounded by cushions, computer on my lap, perpetual hot chocolate on the bedside table. I had no compulsion to get up or get dressed. No desire to be a part of the world outside my bedroom. I felt flat, a little depressed and with no desire to drag myself out of my funk.
Even as I write this it sounds so lazy and self-indulgent, though it most certainly is not! The stress of things in my life coupled with my anxiety hit me like a sledgehammer one morning.
This is what can happen sometimes if you suffer anxiety and its accompanying ‘friends’. I didn’t want to feel this way believe me! The thing with anxiety though is it can just kind of sneak up on you. And in such a case as mine, it can blindside you.
After this particularly annoying episode I got thinking about other ways anxiety has manifested itself in my life. And what does anxiety look like? Sharing this I hope, once again, that it will give insight into the life of someone you know living with anxiety. Maybe you can identify with a few of these!
What Does Anxiety Look Like?
These are instances that I have personally experienced throughout my life with anxiety. These are things I have felt/thought/done.
- Anxiety looks like a swirling tornado on the inside but you’re calm about it on the outside.
- It looks like a sunny smile to your friends & family because you don’t want to let them know that you’re not ok. I don’t want to burden anyone with this again.
- It looks like waking up multiple times throughout the night with weird and scary thoughts.
- Anxiety is lying in your bed of a morning wondering whether its a good idea to get up today or not. I can’t be bothered dealing with life today.
- Anxiety is constantly worrying about everything you ‘should’ do but not having the drive or motivation to do anything about it.
- It looks like a roller coaster going up and down. You don’t know how long you’ll be ‘up’ so you try to get things done before the inevitable ‘down time’.
- It’s your brain saying “let’s obsess about EVERYTHING!! And let’s do it for a few years just so we can think about it daily from every possible angle”.
- Anxiety is having a mini panic right before you do something you’ve done a hundred times because what if this time you do it wrong.
Anxiety is restless energy
- It’s feeling like normal everyday tasks are just so hard. Why can’t I just do this? Normal people do this all the time!
- It’s singing and talking to yourself out loud because you’re trying to distract yourself from rising panic or negative thoughts.
- Anxiety is having to skip sleepovers, school camps and trips away because you get anxious when separated from your family.
- Anxiety is your hair falling out because you’re worried about it falling out so it falls out more.
- It’s being anxious about your future. Will I get married and have kids? How will my husband deal with my anxiety? How will I cope? Can I even be a normal, responsible adult?
- It’s wondering whether anything you’re doing is actually even worth it. I’m writing a blog but what if no one reads it? What if it’s for nothing?
- Anxiety is equal parts frantic energy and strong indifference. I want to do a lot of things but sometimes I can’t act on it.
- It looks like you making excuses as to why you can’t go out with friends. I’m too fat to fit in with my friends. Holding a conversation sounds too hard right now.
- Anxiety is waking up with a sore jaw because you’ve been clenching your teeth at night.
- Anxiety is snapping at others, saying awful words that you don’t really mean at all. I love you but I’m anxious about something and can’t tell you.
- It looks like taking a dress pin tucked into your book to piano lessons so you can prick your hand with it when you start to feel anxious.
Anxiety is a pounding heart
- It’s tossing everything from your closet onto the bed in a frantic search for the ‘perfect’ outfit so you feel like you fit in with your friends.
- It’s being anxious about being anxious so you get anxious about it. I’m worrying about nothing right?
- Anxiety is having the weirdest most illogical thoughts.
- Anxiety is basing the course of the rest of your life on one event whether its good or bad.
- It’s being obsessed about a certain thing and going at it wholeheartedly. Until you find something else to obsess over.
- It looks like incredible indecisiveness because you don’t want to make the wrong choice. This could impact the rest of my life greatly, I need to think of all the possibilities.
- Anxiety looks like being in a ‘down’ mood one day then the next you wake up ready to take on anything.
- It’s you sitting on the edge of your parents bed, bursting into tears because you’re done pretending that you’re fine.
It looks like starting each day by giving everything to God
That last one is very important. Without God I don’t know how I would cope at all. Because even though I still have debilitating anxiety at times God always shows up. Whether thats through a scripture He brings to my mind, an encouraging word from friends or family. Or with the reassurance that He has everything under control and I need not worry.
Since I’m being so honest about my life with anxiety I have to mention that I often slip up in giving my day, my anxieties to God. I’m definitely not perfect!
Phew! I’ve shared a lot here. Some things I’ve never even told anybody before. It’s always a little uncomfortable letting people see into my life. But if I can help or reassure someone then I will try to keep sharing!
With this post I hope that I’ve kind of answered ‘what does anxiety look like’ or at least let you know (if you have anxiety) that you’re not the only one. I also hope that I haven’t overwhelmed you or anything. If you’re all good you might be interested to learn a little more about my journey with anxiety by checking out some other posts I have written. One here about a particularly major anxiety in my life. And here, here and here are some posts about ways I have learned to deal with anxiety.
Thank you for reading and extra big thanks to those who constantly support me in this endeavour! You definitely minimise my anxiety about whether what I’m doing here is worthwhile 🙂
accessories: mini gold bag | zjoosh silver & pink opal rings | pandora other ring | antique family heirloom gold flats | rubi shoes (similar here) mirror | magill rd, adelaide pink faux fur rug | kmart earrings | colette nail polish | models prefer from priceline gold rimmed saucer | family heirloom mini gold stand | dusk (similar here)