Again, here I am, writing because an article I read today really hit home. So I wanted to share it.
My main disorder is Borderline Personality Disorder, however I also have a side of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Unfortunately the anxiety makes my BPD worse and the BPD makes my anxiety devastating. Its a vicious circle. One that I am never, ever, no matter how calm or “normal” I seem at the moment, released from. I am always living in a heightened state of anxiety, no matter the situation. I have learned to live with it. Sometimes it is worse, sometimes it is better, but it is always there….
And it makes me act stupid. It is why I cannot maintain constant eye-contact (that and a bit of PTSD from childhood and a psycho stepdad). It is why I am always moving my foot or rubbing my fingers together. It is why I am always quiet in a crowd. Or it is why I cannot stop talking. There are so many sides and phases to my disorders that I cannot keep them straight most of the time. But again–I have learned to live with it.
My only regret is not being able to explain it to people in my life that don’t have these issues.
But, back to the article:
The ones in bold really encompass my own feelings and life. And the comments in italics are mine–not from the article.
1. “It can come out of nowhere, even without a trigger, and overwhelm you at any given time. It’s very powerful and scary. Feels like a heart attack, a dizzy spell and a punch in the gut all at once.”
2. “A lot of people with anxiety disorders are in a constant state of anxiety. It’s not something that comes and goes. It’s a 24/7 thing that can’t be turned off or turned down no matter how hard you try.”
3. “‘Anxiety’ is a term used very loosely. It’s not often that people acknowledge just how debilitating it is.”
4. “It’s hard to have a relationship when you have anxiety… anxiety causes low self-esteem and low self-worth and sometimes we push people away because of it.” (not sometimes, in my case, always. I always push people away. I cannot handle the judgement and lack of understanding and having to explain myself or constantly apologize. It is easier alone.)
5. “Hyper-vigilance — some of us are super aware of things going on in our surroundings, whether we’re conscious of it or not. This makes some of us easy targets to scare, and it can take a while to calm down from something like being tapped on the shoulder.”
6. “It’s exhausting. Being tense and on edge is physically and mentally draining. It is so much more than just the mind. It affects appetite, behavior, emotions — everything.” (I think this is why I sleep and nap so well and frequently. I am constantly exhausted.)
7. “People with anxiety can feel helpless and suicidal. These thoughts are not only associated with other ‘more severe’ mental illnesses.” (I talk myself out of dying almost daily)
8. “The physical issues that come with it. Constipation. The runs. Puking and much more. All the ‘gross’ stuff that no one wants to openly admit.” (I have been diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome/diarrhea—however, I think its more anxiety than actual IBSD.)
9. “Violent and tragic intrusive thoughts, like not being able to stop imagining family or friends you care deeply about dying horribly and painfully.”
10. “A panic attack looks different for different people. I’m good at masking them in public, pretending to be part of the conversation, nodding strategically because I can’t even speak.” (very often I will stop speaking because everything in my is focused on not having a panic attack in front of someone. Sometimes I will even lash out to make them leave so I can have my attack in peace)
11. “Sometimes, once you have it under control, you feel a little less like yourself. It’s so all-consuming that when it’s gone you almost don’t know what to. This little devil sits on your shoulder, and when you’re able to brush him off, you miss the company.” (this is probably the truest thing on this list for me–when I don’t have anxiety I don’t know how to deal with life. I am so used to be in a heightened state of emotion that when it is not there, I feel a little lost)
12. “It’s common for young children to be labeled as ‘bad’ because people don’t understand anxiety disorders in children.”
13. “Nobody talks about how everyone experiences anxiety differently. While I may need space, cold water and a tune to hum when I’m feeling especially anxious, others might need a shoulder to lean on and a peaceful distraction. This lack of conversation is particularly harmful because I and many others often have our experiences with anxiety invalidated when we tell someone that we experience anxiety in a way they may be unfamiliar with.”
14. “The guilt is there even when I’m feeling better. I feel such shame and guilt for all of the broken promises, dropped commitments, jobs I had to quit and events I missed. My anxiety is the thief, but I still feel like I’m at fault.” (I feel constantly guilty, even when I do things that help my issues. And if I lose control, it compounds the guilt by thousands)
15. “The physical part, the rapid heartbeats, the numbness, tunnel vision, being completely fatigued and physically worn out after an episode.”
16. “It gets boring. I have the same obsessive thoughts and worries over and over. I replay situations in my head for hours. I turn molehills into mountains until I can’t think of anything else. I get hung up on one detail and it’s all I can see for days. It’s boring, it’s repetitive and it’s overwhelming.”
17. “It can cause you to snap at people when they’re doing something that triggers you. Then later, when you try to apologize or explain, they don’t understand.” (this is the worst part for me–is taking it out on people around me, especially my kids (guilt again). And sometimes I am just so embarrassed or ashamed that I cannot even bring myself to apologize–it just makes it worse, so I just let people think the worst of me. It is easier)
18. “Even if I take medication, it doesn’t mean I’m suddenly free of panic attacks and anxiety.” (medication only takes the edge off–it doesn’t make it go away.)
19. “Anxiety can make you jump to a wrong conclusion really fast.” (this is my super power)
20. “For me, sex/relationship difficulties stem from anxiety.”
21. “It’s just like depression in the sense that there isn’t necessarily an answer to the question ‘what are you depressed about?’ Depression is an illness. It’s ‘about’ an illness. ‘What are you anxious about?’ Who knows?! I just am. The end.”
22. “Anger can come with the anxiety. I show irritability when my anxiety is high and it makes me seem like an unhappy person. I’m not, I’m just spinning out of control in my own mind.” (anger is my go-to emotion. It is my comfort zone. It always has been. Learning to identify other emotions aside from anger has been extremely difficult.)
23. “It affects every facet of my life. The constant tension, irritability and fear seeps into every part of your daily existence. Snapping at the people you love because they’re doing something making you more tense, sleeping so lightly that every noise wakes you up. Anxiety shapes your day.” (the only problem I DON’T have is sleeping lightly. I am usually so exhausted, I fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply. However, this does not mean I wake up refreshed. I am always, always tired.)
24. “Anxiety is such a powerful emotion. It’s hard to explain how it really truly frightens you to the point where is controls your life. It feels like being in an emotionally abusive relationship with the negative thoughts in your head. No escape.” (I guess it means I am never alone? Anxiety will always be my number one partner. I know how to make everyone else go away, I wish I knew how to make anxiety go away.)
25. “Anxiety isn’t always people freaking out externally or imagining the worst case scenarios, blubbering out loud about it. It’s more than that. Anxiety can be silent, unheard and internal. You’re freaking out internally and panicking and sometimes, keeping it all in will result in those moments when we just break down.”
26. “The paralyzing self doubt that comes along with anxiety can manifest itself is procrastination when it comes to doing things with your life or certain tasks. It makes you seem lazy.” (It takes so much for me to just get up off the couch or out of bed to do something as simple as clean the kitchen or vacuum the house or clean my room. I have always just said how fucking lazy of a person I am. When in reality, that isn’t actually the case. I am just.. SO. FUCKING. EXHAUSTED. all the time.)
27. “There actually is a level of healthy anxiety that helps us to perform well on tests, in athletics, in school plays or similar. The issue is when it starts affecting your everyday life and stops you from doing the things you love or stops you from being successful.”
28. “We constantly swap and wear masks to hide how we really feel. We are human chameleons and masters of disguise, so other people don’t see our panic and pain.” (YOU never see the real me. YOU only see what I choose to show you. There is not a person on the planet who has ever seen and dealt with my true self. I am a good judge of character and I usually know (or assume) how much of me you can actually handle and still want to be in my life)
29. “It’s a nightmare to find the best course of treatment. Medications can help, but they also have side effects. On the other hand, natural remedies don’t always work the same for everyone. Be patient with us while we are trying to figure out what is best for us.” (There are very few medications out there that I haven’t tried. Prozac is my go-to drug because it calms my brain the best. However, the side effects suck. I kind of get flat-lined so instead of emotional insanity, I seem to have no emotion at all. In reality, all the emotion is just bottled up a little better and I can fake in front of everyone just a little bit more. Of course, this is not something you ever get to know about–because having to be on medication constantly just so I can function in some “normal” manner shames me and irritates me and makes my negative self-talk ramp up. I cannot win for losing.)
30. “The fear of anxiety can also cause it.” (yup, the fact I have anxiety causes anxiety. the fact that I have BPD causes even more anxiety. The fact that most people dismiss it as me “throwing fits” or “being difficult” causes even more anxiety. Welcome to my hell.)
The link to this article is here: https://themighty.com/2016/03/things-no-one-talks-about-when-they-talk-about-anxiety/
Anyway–hopefully this made whomever is reading a little more aware of what I live with and what others with anxiety live with on a daily basis.
Just because you cannot see what someone is going through, doesn’t mean they are not going through it.
Those of us with mental illness–especially high functioning mental illness–learned early on how to fake it well.