The Truth About Anxiety and the Lie It Tells
I’ve always wished I was a free spirit. A hippie that travels the world, leaving lovers in her wake.
I would love to be that person.
I’d even settle for being a watered-down version of that person: I’d give up the whole traveling and lovers gig to be the girl who doesn’t care when the project is due or if she impresses her boss.
I want to be that girl.
I dream of being that girl… but I’m not.
I worry about when the project is due; in fact, I do it weeks prior because I’m freaked out about it.
I lose nights of sleep because I haven’t been doing well at work.
I get overwhelmed by the littlest of details. I have anxiety.
I can’t pinpoint the exact time my anxiety started, but I also can’t remember not being anxious. Sometimes I’m ashamed of it and I don’t feel like most people understand it, but when it comes down to it, it’s my truth.
Nobody likes to talk about anxiety. At least not until recently, when the health and wellness and other hip blogs have started to put it out there (thank you!).
I’m pretty sure everyone knows how it feels to worry, but not everyone understands what it feels like to be consumed with worry.
It’s exhausting. Very un-hippie like.
It’s also embarrassing. I’d really rather not share with the world (or even my friends) that sometimes I have to take a little yellow pill just to get through the day.
There are times when my worries are minor and probably like what most people have: that ticker tape running in the bottom of your head reminding you what not to forget at the grocery store; the voice that stresses over money and work frustrations.
And then there are the times when it’s not so small and it affects my life.
I recently had my bridal shower and it was extremely special. My friends, especially my maid of honor, put tons of thought into everything.
Beautiful bouquets of pink roses decorated tables covered in gold-dotted place settings. The restaurant had written “Congratulations Cary” on the chalkboard. There were candles and mimosas and cake.
It was everything I could have wanted.
The only thing that would have made it better was if I wasn’t paralyzed by anxiety. I was shaking like a leaf the entire shower.
Friends who’ve known me for all my life expressed their concern when it was over.
So why was I like that? I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since.
It’s not over the man I’m going to marry, because I know I want to marry him. It could have been over work, and life, and wedding planning, and getting married – eek! – and having everyone there that loves me celebrating me.
Or it could have been over nothing. I didn’t take my little yellow pill and my anxiety was showing. I’m still not sure.
It was a day I’ll never get to do again, a day I’ll always remember – and yet, a part of me feels like I missed it. I wasn’t fully there because I was consumed with anxiety.
It makes me so mad when I think about it. I’ve lost enough of my life to this fear.
Did I really need to lose this special day? And what’s next? How will I be on my wedding and then, how will I be when I have children? (I’ve been worrying about this since).
The truth is, having anxiety sucks.
The good news is it’s not my whole life. It’s not always there.
There are a million positive things in my life, and often, I’m able to appreciate them.
I have a rock star fiancé that supports me. He knows my version of crazy and loves me anyway.
I have a solid group of girlfriends who love me even if they sometimes may not understand me.
I have parents that have calmed me down through many a meltdown.
There are so many parts of my life and anxiety is just one of them. I repeatedly have to check it for what it really is.
You see, my anxiety is a lie.
It tells me when it takes over is that it’s real. That there is no getting out of this particular situation or that whatever is I’m so focused on will happen.
With the help of therapy, a solid support network, a lot of work on my part (and when necessary, a little yellow pill), I know that’s not true.