We all – all 7 billion of us – deal with anxiety on a daily basis. It’s a feeling of worry or unease surrounding an uncertain outcome.
So, given that we all know what anxiety feels like, one might naturally assume understanding an anxiety disorder is intuitive.
Yeah… Not quite.
An anxiety disorder differs from day-to-day jitters in some pretty major ways. Today, as someone with an anxiety disorder, I hope to shed a bit of light on those differences.
And so, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
It Makes No Sense
For most people (more than 90%), anxiety pops up around circumstances where it’s more or less warranted. For example, it’s considered normal to be anxious right before you take a test or enter a job interview.
But when you’ve got an anxiety disorder, you don’t need a significant stressor to land yourself in full-blown panic. Even small things, for which no reasonable doubt should exist, can have you pacing back and forth as if you’re drowning in uncertainty.
Someone with a social anxiety disorder might constantly fear that their friends are upset with them if they don’t get a text back within an hour. Someone with generalized anxiety might feel nervous about even the most routine tasks – like getting paid, paying bills or car maintenance.
And whatever the reason, when the anxiousness hits…
Imagine a mini black hole opening up inside your chest and sucking all the life out of you.
That’s sort of what an anxious panic attack is like.
At best, you wind up on autopilot – just trying to make it through your meeting or date. At worst your heart begins beating so fast that you have no choice but to huddle in a corner, all the while swearing your death is imminent.
The worst part? You can’t always tell which reaction you’re gonna have. It’s like being on a roller coaster, except the track is under construction and it spontaneously bursts into flames at various points.
To put it simply…
It’s Hard To Control
When most people feel anxious, they take a few deep breaths and do something to relax. This allows them to move forward with their day.
An anxious disorder, by its very nature, is intrusive. It stops you from living a normal, healthy life. No matter how deeply you breathe or how much you try to talk yourself out of things, it’s there and it wants to be the center of attention.
Just when you think you’ve escaped it for the evening, it pops up without warning.
Notice that this section is called ‘It’s Hard To Control.” Hard – not impossible.
If you’ve read this post and come to the realization that your anxiety is a bit more intense than the norm, you’ve completed a very important step.
I encourage you to slide on over to this page, where we’ll share a few key points for dealing with severe anxiety.
Before you go, check out this video from Meghan Rienks that further outlines what living what an anxiety disorder feels like.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America