The cartoon I posted above does a pretty good job of representing what it’s like to live with anxiety issues but no matter how clever the cartoon is it can’t really show how people with anxiety problems really feel. Someone with no issues may see that cartoon and think that anxiety only happens infrequently while a lot of us live with it on a constant basis. I’m going to try to explain how it really feels.
Imagine that every day when you woke up you had to be punched in the face. You constantly know it’s coming and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. However if you somehow manage to not get punched in the face there’s a good chance that you’ll lose everyone and everything you love. Sometimes you feel like you’re not getting punched in the face enough or you feel like that no one appreciates that you’re getting punched in the face for them. You can’t tell anyone you’re being punched in the face daily for fear of looking weak or like a complainer. This is how I felt every day for as long as I can remember even when I was a small child in grade school. Just once I’d like to wake up without having that twitchy and flinching feeling knowing that the punch in the face is imminent. Instead, I and countless others put on this false face to try to convince everyone else that everything is ok even though just underneath the surface we are screaming for help. On those rare occasions we do ask for help a lot of times we’re met with eyerolls as to say “Well, just stop having anxiety” as if we wouldn’t switch it off if we could. I often lose sleep over it with the logic that if I don’t go to sleep I won’t have to wake up and be punched in the face. It affects your work too sometimes to the point of an almost paralytic fear but employers don’t want to hear “I’m sorry for my poor performance, you should feel lucky that I even came in today since I constantly have the fear of God in me.” Which leads to more punches in the face that your family and friends wonder why you just can’t take the punches. But you really do want to be able to take the punches. You want to be ‘normal’. You want to be like other people who can roll out of bed with no problem, duck the punch and carry on with the rest of their day. Instead we just keep getting punched in the face with every fiber of our physical being craving some kind of release from this personal hell that we know may only come at the end of our days.
I didn’t post this for sympathy. This is the internet after all and I know where to find it in the dictionary. I posted it in hopes that if you know someone who suffers from anxiety you can have at least a modicum of understanding for what they’re going through.