The anxious mind is a vulnerable one, anxiety means manipulation and coercion are far easier to commit against people. Both the sufferer of anxiety and those who are around them feel the full force of just how difficult this illness is.
Anxiety causes huge stress over things that many people find simple. Having a conversation with someone over the phone, eating out in public or traveling on transport. Many things become arduous and make life feel like a living hell every waking moment.
Anxiety is my alter ego… one moment I can be fine in a room full of people, the next my breathing is erratic as I frantically try and find the closest exit.
Here are some situations I have been in where I’ve been okay to start with and my anxiety has kicked in and made tasks a pain in the bloody arse!
Walking over 3 drains
Rational mind – “It’s only part of the ground, nothing will happen if I don’t walk over them”.
Anxious mind – “What happens if you get hit by a car on your way home, or if someone attacks you? It will be your fault for not walking over the drains… turn back around and walk over them. You NEED to turn around and walk over them, something bad is DEFINITELY going to happen if you don’t… WALK OVER THEM“.
This becomes really quite embarrassing when I’m having a mini argument with myself, especially in a public place.
When people say ” just ignore your anxiety”
Rational mind – “They’re right, I just have to not focus on the anxiety and it will go away”.
Anxious mind – “HEY! Hope you didn’t forget about me, I’m going to make this walk to the shops the worst experience of your life. Someone’s following you, make sure you look over your shoulder every 4 steps you take, tap your fingers together in a sequence of 4’s each time you take a step. Don’t mess it up though! Or you’ll have to start ALL OVER AGAIN! 1, 2, 3, 4… 1, 2, 3, 4… You just walked past a black cat… Make sure you do this all twice as quick or something bad is going to happen”.
The more you focus on not thinking about anxiety the more prominent and worse it becomes.
Rational mind – “I’m just going to pop to x’s house for a coffee and a catch up, it’ll be a lovely surprise”.
Anxious mind – “Look at all these people talking, they’re obviously talking about you. Look! That woman’s laughing, I told you and now she’s laughing at you! There’s no empty seats so you have to stand! Everyone’s judging how fat you are, look at your fat legs… No wonder everyone’s looking… you look like something out of a freakshow”.
Anxiety is like having a bully taunting and ridiculing you 24/7, there’s no shutting yourself away from this bully though.
Anxiety is a hard illness to deal with, especially when it stops people from being able to do normal daily tasks. If you know someone who suffers from anxiety… please, let them take their time to leave the house… hold their hand in the lift while they’re scrunching their eyes shut… Let them check, double check and triple check the front door is locked before going out. Be there for them like you would be there for someone with a visible disability.
If Kiwi can cope, so can you!