What Anxiety Is Like

What Anxiety Is Like

Anxiety is like you’re constantly getting closer to the top of a roller coaster,

but you never feel the rush of going down.

 

Anxiety is like being nervous about a big test or an interview or a speech,

but the feeling never goes away after it’s over.

 

Anxiety is like having an absolutely normal day with nothing to worry about,

but constantly feeling like something is wrong.

 

Anxiety is like running through a dark forest to get away from something,

but you never see what is chasing you.

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Anxiety is feeling like you forgot something when you have everything,

but you continue to worry.

 

Anxiety is feeling your stomach drop when you miss a step on a staircase,

but you never regain your footing.

 

Anxiety is feeling like every hair on the back of your neck is standing up,

but there is nothing around to frighten you.

 

Anxiety is feeling like everything is always out of your control,

but everything is actually fine.

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Anxiety is asking your significant other if they love you, are they sure, for the millionth time,

because you need the reassurance.

 

Anxiety is asking your friends to confirm plans over and over again,

even though you never doubted them.

 

Anxiety is knowing you have no reason to feel so anxious,

but you can’t stop feeling that way.

 

Anxiety is knowing you are falling through the air,

but you’re not sure when you’ll hit the ground.

enough

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The Thing About PTSD

The Thing About PTSD
The thing about PTSD —
it’s silent.

It waits. Until you’re in bed — until you close your eyes — then it assaults your sleep, leaving you lying awake, waiting for danger. If you reach precious sleep, it reminds you of its control by plaguing you with nightmares. While you’re awake, you listen. Every stifled noise, every movement out of the corner of your eye could be danger.

The thing about PTSD —
it’s loud.

It screams endlessly in your head. It whispers constantly on your ear. Danger! It calls. Beware! It demands. Remember! It screams. It reminds you of the past. It throws into chaos the future. It reminds you so that you can’t work, you can’t sleep, you can’t concentrate. All you can do is listen.

The thing about PTSD —
it’s omnipresent.

It doesn’t just happen to soldiers, though their pain is never taken seriously enough. It can happen to you, to me, to anyone. It is indiscriminate. It doesn’t care about your race, gender, or religion. It doesn’t care how much money you make. It can happen to you.

The thing about PTSD —
it’s something I have.

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I thought it was just anxiety. “It’s pretty normal to have anxiety,” I remember thinking as I booked my first therapy appointment. I just needed help managing it. It was starting to affect my marriage and my day to day life. I had struggled with it for years, but I knew I needed new tools to handle it better.

After my first session, my therapist dropped the bomb on me. Yes, I have anxiety, but I have PTSD also. I felt like a train screeching to a halt. What? How? Me? Why? I was confused and couldn’t understand. I only came for my anxiety. I didn’t ask for this.

My therapist explained the filing cabinet theory. After seeing and hearing her explanation, I swallowed my initial thoughts and made a second appointment. My therapist sounded like she knew what she was talking about. I recalled in the moment that she specialized in trauma, and I knew I was in good hands.

Piece by piece, we’re going through each event that has led me to here. We’re tearing down each intrusive thought word-by-word. We’re reopening old wounds so that they can finally heal correctly.


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Because the thing about PTSD —
it hurts.

It hurts you. It hurts me. It hurts loved ones. Like a hurricane, it hurts everyone in its path. In the moment, it’s hard to stop. It can be uncontrollable.

The thing about PTSD —
it takes.

It takes your happiness. It takes your sleep. It takes your concentration. It takes your energy. It takes your memories. It takes your breath. It takes your quality of life.

The thing about PTSD —
it robs you.

It robs you of feeling safe, and of your sense of belonging. It robs you of music you can no longer listen to, places you can no longer visit, and hobbies you can no longer love without remembering the trauma.

The thing about PTSD is —
it can be beat!

You can beat it. I can beat it. With the right therapy and the slow progress of attaining a new mindset, it can be beat. I will beat it. You will beat it!

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Design & editing props for this post: Matt @ Normal Happenings.