A simple act, going to the gym. Getting out of my comfort zone. Sitting on a chair, staring at my phone, waiting for time to pass, for the class to start. I hear more people coming in, the noise is getting louder as my head starts ringing out of control. Muscles so tense, somehow I have convinced myself that if I move the slightest I will draw attention to myself. I am not in control of my mind or body. Simply watching. Trying to gain the slightest bit of consciousness so I can stop this monster in my head. I have to look normal. So I stare at the clock and wait. It feels like it's been way longer than five minutes. Just thirty to go. My mind doesn't know what to do. A minute goes by and it feels like I can't take it anymore. My mind starts debating. Oh no, I made a mistake. Constant regret. I sneak out, and I can feel the tears flooding down my face. Great, another fear I failed to face. Never again.
This is what living with severe anxiety feels like. No one in that room knew what was going through my head. No one realized how much I was suffering on the inside. I hid it, because if they knew they would ask why and I don't know how to explain myself.
Living with anxiety is like feeling alive through the motions of life but never freely living. It's being aware of my surroundings but lost in another world inside my head. Frustration rises, yes it's a curse but also within my comfort zone. That's why it's so hard to escape.
It gradually creeps in with no warning and before I know it, I am not in control of my life anymore. It's like a demon possesses me and locks me away. Paranoia and fear are my only reason to constantly escape. No one can know because it feels like they would never understand what it feels like to constantly be in a war with myself. The world needs reasons and validation. Anxiety is being okay one minute and out of it the next. Unpredictable anxiety building on more anxiety as it swirls collides and pushes me down.
Pulling me back, the voice in my head keeps getting louder and I can’t think straight. Not knowing where to look or what to do, overwhelmed, I run away. And the cycle goes on. There is so much life in this body, so many goals and achievements to strive for, and it can be so exhausting not having control. It has affected me a lot through my life and continues to this day. Making me believe that I will never be good enough for myself or the people around me. Feeding me all these lies till they become my reality. It’s like my brain stores every mistake and forever keeps it on high alert so it doesn’t recur. Always on the lookout to avoid hurt yet looking for validation to avoid emptiness. Making me feel like without people im alone. Building human connection on fear. Trapped in societies norms. Looking ahead carefully, afraid to cross any wrongs. Although some days are better it’s always there on the back of my mind.
People say just stop thinking but if it were that simple, if the brain had a switch, life would be so much happier for so many people. Anxiety runs on the unknown, and life is a huge question mark. Trapped in the past, present and future eventually sucks all the energy out till it gets so difficult to see anything clearly.
Not knowing what the day, future, month or week holds can bring a rise in panic and cause a feeling of lack of motivation and loneliness. It locks the soul away and keeps no room for growth. I've let it win a lot, and i've felt at my lowest so many times. I have looked for escapes and quick fixes. I have faced it, ignored it, tried every single coping mechanism but it never seemed to work. I have isolated myself from the ones who love me, and lived alone, thinking that it's the only way to escape. I have limited myself and pushed my feelings deep in my gut, I hide feeling ashamed, guilty, and useless. When I'm in that state of anxiety I'm not myself. I let this illness define me and grow.
As difficult as it is day by day I still fight. It takes more strength than I could ever explain to live and try every single day when at times it can feel impossible to have hope. But one thing I learned. One positive out of all this chaos is that deep within myself I know that I'm a fighter. I never let anxiety truly win. If I let the anxiety win, then there’s nothing left of me. I'm learning how to accept that it’s okay not to feel okay. Nowadays everything looks perfect, at least to me. You never know what someone is going through. What challenges people face. Everyone seems to be moving. The world will always move. Through time I'm realizing that I'm moving too, I've never stopped, that’s what makes me strong. Even when everything goes wrong and life feels like it’s falling part, I know that it is a journey and this journey is so far from perfect. I'm learning to accept that the worst can and will happen. Life will only get harder. I could let anxiety win. It may even feel easier. But I choose life. I choose to continue. I choose this unpredictable, exhausting never-ending feeling called life.