I haven’t been shy about my anxiety or my time in therapy to try to cope with that anxiety. I haven’t been shy about it because it’s not something I am ashamed of or think I need to hide, so I am going to tell you about a type of anxiety I have never experienced…until last night.
I had finally fallen asleep then woke up an hour later at about 1:00 am because my heart was racing. I thought maybe I had a weird dream or something and when it subsided I dismissed it…until about 5 minutes later when it happened again. My heart starts racing, I need to slow my breathing to try to slow my heart rate and anxiety just washes over me. Waves are the best way I can think to describe it because I could feel it coming and it started small, got bigger, crashed into me, then dissipated. These waves continued for about an hour.
While I am not ashamed of my anxiety (I can’t help it), I always feel bad when my anxiety affects other people. I worry they feel I am just being dramatic or out for attention when that isn’t at all the case. So I have anxiety about my anxiety. Also, I feel bad even trying to explain all of this to people in person because all they want to do is help you and tell you it’s okay. Really, this is a nice thing to do, but then I feel bad when them reassuring me doesn’t make the anxiety go away. You can see that they so badly want to help and you want to show them you appreciate it but it’s hard in the midst of anxiety waves.
One of the hardest types of anxiety to explain is the kind that doesn’t have a direct cause or source. This doesn’t happen to me often but that was the case last night – no direct source, it just happened. How do you tell someone that and not look like you are fishing for attention? And anxiety about anxiety comes around all over again.
Let’s talk about the physical manifestations of anxiety because no one else seems to be. For me, the biggest one is digestive system issues. Either I have a stomach that is in knots or it moves to my intestines causing restroom issues. The waves of anxiety destroyed not only my night of sleep but most of dude’s (which I feel pretty bad about, eventually I sent him home so he could actually sleep. I’ll be dammed if my anxiety gets to him too at 2:00 am). Now I have to go to work on very little sleep with these other physical manifestations be a leader.
So why tell you about all this? I want all those out there who are dealing with anxiety (from mild to extreme), and those supporting someone dealing with anxiety, that you aren’t alone. Kudos to those who support those of us with anxiety – you may not think you are helping much but you are, just by being there. Sitting next to us, holding our hand, telling us it’s okay and we are okay, and for me laying next to me and putting your hand on my hand (romantic comforting way) helps more then you know, even when we can’t directly express it. Thanks for listening all and if you need someone to talk to I am here!