What Anxiety Feels Like

Sometimes I get anxiety. The kind of crippling anxiety that feels like there is no hope. Like nothing and everything must be solved all at once, otherwise I may never feel normal again. It takes over every part of my body. I can’t sit still, I can’t think straight and everyone who cares about me can’t say anything right (because I am in no space to receive it). Anxiety feels like currents of electricity running through my veins. It feels like waves of the most painful uncertainty. It feels empty and also full. My chest feels like a cavern of space and openness with nothing to fill it except a thousand bouncy balls. It’s incredible, what it feels like.

It’s fascinating, truly. The way everything can feel unsettled. And reminding myself that there will be an end doesn’t seem to stop the emotion, and yet lack of emotion, from flowing. It’s overwhelming. And the hardest part? People hardly ever understand. When I find someone who I explain anxiety to and they do understand, I want to just give them a big hug and hold them because we both know what it means to feel like everything is ending, and yet to know so deeply that that’s just not true.

The hardest part about anxiety is knowing it will pass but not having any clue how to get it to move faster. I want it to teach me my lesson and move on its merry way. But that’s just not how it works, is it?

So, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve accepted that anxiety is something that I deal with. Some days are harder than others, some days feel terribly long, and others feel like they’re just screaming by. But the greatest part is knowing, down in my heart, that I am better because of it. I am more aware of who I am because I feel this tremendous overtaking of my mind and body. And every day, I will get better and learn how to live with this anxiety, instead of fight it. Fighting it won’t get me anywhere. Acceptance will. Acceptance of the waves of emotion and acceptance of myself for having them. For being who I am, and facing it.

Every day, I learn new techniques to grow through anxiety attacks. Every day, I meditate, I do yoga, I find space to be held in my body and my mind. I write. I draw. I dance. I come up with new and creative ways to become one with my anxiety.

I used to have this idea in my head that anxiety was something I could control. That I could suppress it and it would eventually just go away. I would no longer deal with it. But I’ve realized that the key is to learn to live with it. To be with it. That doesn’t, to me, mean always sitting with it. It means moving with it, holding it for what it is and reminding myself (sometimes over and over again) that it will pass. Whether that’s 10 minutes later or an entire month, I know that it will pass. And the beauty of knowing that, the beauty of seeing it as a part of me, has changed my perspective on it.

Anxiety is no longer a burden I carry. It’s a part of who I am and what makes me so aware, so hungry for personal growth and development, so unstoppable.

Do you deal with anxiety? How do you live with it?

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