By Mauricia - 10/10/2017

 Anxiety is the feeling when your falling in a dream, just the moment you are startled awake. It's the moment you think you've lost your train ticket, just as the inspector comes along. It's the moment you see a police car in your rearview mirror, and think they are stopping you. It is the moment of panic, without the relief that everything is okay afterwards.

 My anxiety shows itself in different forms, and for the past few months i was mistaken in thinking i was free from it, when i have simply been distracting myself. The issue is, suppressing anxiety means that eventually it will come back, and it will come back twice as bad.

 I'm sure many people are unaware of the physical symptoms of anxiety: headaches, numbness, insomnia, nausea and weakness to name a few, and when you pair these with well, anxiety, then its easy to think your are constantly on the verge of death. Each day seems like a new set of problems alongside the constant "what the f*ck is wrong with me?!" and as a result it has left me extremely isolated at times.

 Each event comes with the invisible scales in my head weighing up whether or not i can cope with that a event today... will i have a panic attack when i leave the flat? will i turn up and feel too paralysed to socialise? or will i have an inability to concentrate? This, paired with not wanting to miss important work, or let people down becomes an absolute battlefield of emotions. So, in effect i have had to teach myself about living in the present.. asking questions such as "how do i feel right now" "can i, in this moment feel as though i can tackle the day?" and if not, i'll see how i feel later on, as opposed to predict it. Alongside this comes 'safety measures' i put in place to make things a bit easier, things like: knowing how to leave a situation quickly, knowing who will be there, if i know the place, and timings. To some people it may seem like i am 'stressing for no reason' or maybe i should just 'go with the flow' but for me, that isn't possible.

 People understand, people understand as far as they can. To truly understand how debilitating anxiety can be, and to understand how exhausting and draining panic attacks can be takes going through it; and that i do not wish on anyone. So i settle for people ~ kind of ~ understanding.

 Over the past few years i have found great comfort in reading about other peoples experiences, and talking to friends that are similar to me, just to prove i'm not crazy. And i suppose, if you too are finding comfort in my experience then i want you to know that you are also not crazy. I think that's whats hard about anxiety... no matter how much i can't breathe, or how many times i've missed an event i really wanted to go to, or how many other people i speak to going through the same; there is still a voice in my head telling me to snap out of it, telling me that i'm making everything up. People ~ kind of ~ understanding, is understanding until i have to cancel our plans, until i can't go somewhere where they would like to, until i'm struck with silence and just need to leave, until i become their burden.

 Anxiety is not a choice, and my quirks are not quirks, they are coping mechanisms. I'm not being rude, i'm not being difficult; not purposefully, not ever. But i am stuck, i'm stuck in a system where therapy is a £50 an hour luxury, and with a government who only seems to want to make this harder.

 Some days i don't know how to move forward with all this weight holding me down, and some days i feel so angry that i am not rid of the constant feeling that i'm teetering on the edge of a building, about to fall. But self pity is draining and i'm drained enough as it is.

 So i am taking each day as it comes, and just hoping a next spur of anxiety won't be on a deadline day or when something life changing is happening. I am also hoping i'll have some relief soon, to create, to write, to read; to go out and do the things i enjoy instead of being too scared to simply walk my dogs. But until then, i am still living.

Mauricia X


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