I can count on one hand how many people know that I have anxiety and even less than that know I’ve been on medication for it for the last five years. (Well I guess the cat’s out of the bag.)
I wrote this post two years ago during the last few months of my senior year in college, and everything in it is still true.
I don’t tell anyone about my anxiety anymore because it’s been used against me in the past. (I think that I don’t tell anyone anymore is because it’s somewhat under control now and not relevant to bring up.) Maybe I had bad friends and wasn’t surrounding myself with the right people. The real kicker was when I told a guy I had anxiety, he basically told me he didn’t want to get involved with me because an ex of his had it and he “didn’t want to go through that again” (his exact words). So that’s when I stopped telling people because it seemed like no one really cared once you told them what was going on in your head.
With the recent news this week of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I’ve seen a lot on social media of people sharing the suicide hotline number and “check on your strong friend.”
It’s hard that I feel like I can’t tell people I suffer from general anxiety disorder and some days I’m totally fine and other times I feel on edge and like an elephant is sitting on my chest for two weeks and my mind won’t stop making up scenarios that haven’t happened nor will never happen.
Everyone seems to be there when things are fine, but when things get messy, they run.
This post is based solely on my experiences. I hope that people who think they need help seek it or finally figure out what’s going on with them, even if it starts with a baby step. Because I never knew GAD existed, and it was nice to put a name to what I had been dealing with during my senior year of high school.
I’ve been in therapy three times: the first time in third grade (for an unrelated situation), second time in my senior year of high school, and the third time consisted of one session a week with a counselor at my college for all four years. (She was honestly a saving grace because she listened to the craziness that was my life and what was going through my head and told me that my feelings were valid.)
Your thoughts are valid. Your feelings are valid. You are valid.
I don’t want to preach from the mountains about mental health because everyone deals with it differently. People talk about it when something tragic happens, and after a week or so, it goes away. And sometimes that makes it harder to talk about.
I feel sad about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, but I don’t know enough about either of them to say much more. It’s such a tragic way to bring mental health awareness back into the spotlight, and some people might get the help they need, which is great. But what about those like me who feel like they can’t talk about it, or those who don’t know how to start?
For the most part, my anxiety is under control—which I sometimes feel doesn’t even warrant me to talk about it—but there were a few weeks back in March when it was bothering me on a daily basis. I did what I could, but I felt like I had to live with it and the elephant sitting on my chest until one day I felt like I was back to normal. There are no real warning signs—it just kind of pops up and I feel like I’m stuck trying to control it.
I’d like to think that my somewhat regular running schedule has helped, and I’m doing more things that I like, like reading and watching baseball (or yelling about it). Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a step back and relaxing and not over working yourself.
But I know that this is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life.
(I fully understand that by writing this it’s telling more people about my anxiety. I wanted to use this post to share my thoughts about my experiences in my actual real life and my interactions with family and friends. If anyone can relate to my situation or wants to talk about their anxiety, my inbox is always open.)
I think it’s really cool that you decided to share this so openly. I think we all have our battles but talking about them isn’t always easy, so I commend you. If you ever need someone to talk/vent to, I’m here.
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Looking back, it’s a lot harder to talk about anxiety when you’re actually experiencing it. Now that I have it mostly under control and I feel fine day to day, it’s a little easier to talk about. I wished I had better people in my life, especially when I started college, who didn’t push me away and make me afraid to talk about it. I know it’s different for everyone, and it’s good that people are at least talking about it now, but it’ll fall to the wayside and people might feel lost. And they shouldn’t. And thanks, I appreciate the offer 🙂 (in between me sending you tweets about bullpen carts).
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I have self diagnosed anxiety. I don’t know what else it could be. I think it’s so crazy how anxiety can manifest itself in different (yet, similar) ways for all people. You explain it as an elephant on your chest. I have described it before as “my tongue doesn’t feel like it fits in my mouth.” For me, it usually manifests itself as nausea, when I am out of my element – away from my home, in transit (plane, car), or somewhere it wouldn’t be acceptable for me to get up (a conference room or meeting, a dinner, etc). GAD is something I should explore more. Thanks for bringing it up. I am so happy for you that you are managing it, these days. I hope you keep sharing your truths & find a way to cope. .xo.
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It’s really interesting how anxiety feels different for people, and sometimes if it’s not one of the typical signs then you think something else is wrong. But knowing about GAD and what it covers was extremely helpful for me and knowing what I was feeling had a name made me feel better. Managing and coping with anxiety also is different for people, but I think by people talking about it and how they handle it, it won’t make everyone feel so alone.
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