Many bloggers talk openly about their struggles with anxiety and depression. I am one of them. But have you ever wondered what exactly they’re talking about?
Have you ever had an argument with someone you care about? One where you mentally plan out how the conversation will go but they stubbornly refuse to stick to the script you created for them?
An anxiety attack is when it’s your own mind serving as your sparring partner. And it is a brilliant orator, curating a compilation of every possible scenario – all the while convincing you to make a hard left when life is quite obviously to your right.
Anxiety is totally normal. It’s a human defense mechanism to get a little fidgety and need to take a deep breath when dealing with a stressful situation. Just chill out.
Easier said than done. Especially when your mind has embarked upon an Oscar caliber creative endeavor of convincing you that everything can (and will) go wrong.
Anxiety is more than just a twinge of unease; it is a full-fledged fight-or-flight response. Unfortunately you’re the only one in your way – it’s not easy to escape yourself and it’s never healthy to harm yourself.
It starts with a knot in the pit of your stomach as Eeyore’s gray cloud descends upon you. Apprehension and dread envelops you – whether because of the panic attack you know is about to arrive or a foreboding imagined disaster is unknown.
The hamster in your brain is amped up like an addict high on a cocktail of speed and Red Bull. So your muscles take matters into their own hands – tensing up to the point of pain. You’re shaking now, trembling in fear from the terrible, awful “what if.”
In a saner world, you’re well aware your fears are unfounded. Yet you are completely paralyzed from concentrating on such mundane nuances of your situation. Increasingly restless, you anticipate the worse while desperately trying to solve the perceived problem in your head. (Of course, your mind is reacting to your rationales the way you’re playing them out.)
Your heart is pounding. You’re hit with a heated flush that reverberates down your body chased by the chill of danger. You can hear your pulse loudly drumming in your ears; you can feel the blood coursing through your veins. Your world is literally spinning. (Please remain seated for the duration of this ride.)
Irritability overwhelms you as you desperately try to convince yourself of how ridiculous you’re acting. Your mind goes blank as you attempt to breath in pathetically shallow conscious puffs. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Remember to keep doing this.
Your fight-or-flight reaction kicks into high gear as you’re overcome with an obsessive urge to flee. But to where? From whom? Perhaps you could just pass out. Curl up in bed and hide from the world. Turns out there’s something to that childhood instinct to pull the blanket up over your head to hide from the boogie man. Yet you can’t leave. The bad thing might happen. And you can’t shut off your own thoughts.
It’s an out of body experience.
The word around you is screaming, jeering, simply occurring. All while your mind is off on it’s own crazy mixed up ride through the files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. (Read it. Good book.)
And through it all, you’re trying to act out the role of a lifetime. You. As though you really are you. And everything’s ok.
Remember to breathe. It’ll be ok.
“Confidence is silent. Insecurity is loud.”
Mute the mind. Clear the mechanism.