I think a lot of people underestimate the true effects of anxiety on a person’s life. Having an anxiety disorder is not worrying about going to the dentist or worrying about passing your upcoming exam. Having an anxiety disorder can become pathological and maladaptive. They can cause distress that interferes with your ability to lead a normal life. Anxiety can be a serious mental illness. Suffering with an anxiety disorder means having a constant and overwhelming worry and fear which can be crippling.
Anxiety has prevented me from doing so much. It has stolen my childhood. It is so difficult to do normal everyday things when the anxiety inside you is so loud you can’t ignore it. It’s so devastating, but people underestimate it. If you tell someone you suffer with an anxiety disorder they just say, “oh, so you’re feeling anxious? why don’t you just stop worrying?”. How can I just stop worrying? My fears are irrational, they are constant. They do not stop. Not ever. I am not just anxious. I am not just feeling anxious. I am mentally ill. I am suffering with a severe mental illness that prevents me from living every single day.
I can always tell when my anxiety is worse some weeks than others. Over the past couple of weeks my anxiety has been quite high, probably an nearing a 10 out of 10. My anxiety presents me with physical symptoms – inability to make eye contact, inability to remain still, sweating, movement and clapping of the hands, heart palpitations, dizziness, difficulty breathing, cyanosis to the nails and nose and panic attacks. Sometimes it prevents me from sleeping, leaving the house, or interacting.
The above picture was taken in November 2014 – a month filled with severe mental illness, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, 4 hour long panic attacks and the inability to remain at college. I took the picture to show the true effects of what anxiety does to you – cyanosis in the finger nails due to lack of oxygen. Having an anxiety disorder is not attention-seeking nor is it over-exaggerated or simply an emotion. An Anxiety disorder causes very REAL physical symptoms.
I wanted to highlight the true effects of having an anxiety disorder in this post because I feel like suffering with anxiety can often be misunderstood and looked over. Anxiety can be a severe and life-threatening mental health illness that can prevent function in daily life and lead to self-harming behaviours and suicide.
Please be disorder aware and be mindful of those suffering with poor mental health ❤