Those who have not been through an anxiety disorder may not be able to relate to the pain it brings. From their side it just seems like silly worries, impractical, and they can't understand why someone would be worried about such things.
And I can understand that. From the outside those worries do seem silly, but in an anxious mind they are complex monsters who dig deep into the mind and root themselves.
From September 2000
I don't like to ask questions like, "If I died today, what would you do?" I don't like when other people ask those questions either. Sometimes I feel like I have hunches for things that aren't necessarily true, but feel so true. I never used to be this way.
And from January 2002
Sometimes my anxiety makes me sick. My stomach will hurt or my heart will speed up. Sometimes my heart will even give out these sharp pains. I'm not sure if that's from the worry or not. But that's just another thing to worry about. I worry if my heart is failing me, which in turn makes it hurt, which makes me worry even more.
Sometimes I get dizzy and sometimes I just want to break down and cry because I don't know what to do about it. Sometimes things feel so real to me that I actually do break down and cry because I think they've already happened. I try telling myself that all of this is not worth worrying about and that God is in control of everything, but it doesn't help. Nothing helps and it's so hard to wake up in the morning and worry about whether I'm going to make it through the day or not.
I'm scared to say anything with the word 'death' or 'die' in it. I'm scared to say anything about tomorrow. I'm even scared to think about these things. It's like I feel all of this blackness around me and I just know it's about to pounce on me or someone I love. I'm just about ready to break down. It's bad during the day, but it's horrible at night. What am I supposed to do?
Not long before the anxiety, I was dealing with depression, so I already had a trusted therapist to work with. I learned more about the crippling worry and how to handle it. Things that helped me the most:
- Relaxation techniques
- Breathing exercises
- Ballet (or anything that required a massive amount of concentration)
Although I healed from the bulk of generalized anxiety, it took me a long time to let go of the fear that something bad was about to happen. In fact, it's only been within the past two years that I've learned that it's okay to believe in good things, that nothing is out to get me or my loved ones. I also like to remember that God works for the good of those who love him.
We're blessed to have so many resources and communities that can help with anxiety. A fellow goddess sister of mine, Gina Rafkind, has a beautiful website with tons of anxiety resources and tools to help you heal. If you're in the thick of worry, I urge you to seek out Gina's wisdom, and of course you're always welcome here in the sacred middle.
Just know that you're not crazy. This era has brought on anxieties that our ancestors did not know. We're living in a society that is always pushing for more and at a faster pace.
Slow down, breathe deep, dig up the worry and plant peace.