And why it is NOT the new buzz word.
I was diagnosed with anxiety over ten years ago. This diagnosis is one that I have mostly tried to keep hidden. It has been a source of shame and disgust to me. I saw it as a sign of my own weakness and ineptitude.
My anxiety takes the form of panic attacks, an inability to breathe in certain situations. I twitch, even though I try as hard as I possibly can not to. I shake, often violently. Again, I try so hard not to, but it isn’t something that I can control.
There are other things. Things that are less obvious. These include me often not being able to enter into new situations. I also find that familiar situations are overwhelming when my anxiety is particularly bad.
I tend to avoid these situations if I possibly can. I generally think of it as my being socially inept. I don’t cope well in large (or even, medium) sized groups. There are times when I can do it, but there are also times when it feels like a task that is simply too much.
It doesn’t stop there. When I am able to enter into these situations, I always come away from them feeling completely exhausted and wiped out.
I think this is partly down to the fact that I am an introvert, but it is also more than that. The constant worry and nervousness caused by anxiety makes it practically impossible for me to maintain any kind of ‘normal’ social life.
I have a small group of close friends, who understand; who get me, and who are happy to spend time with me, but who are also able to accept when I simply cannot be social. Sometimes, they even just let me sit in a corner and read or knit.
The thing is that I think, lately, anxiety has become a bit of a buzz word. More and more often, I see posts on social media with people talking about ‘my anxiety’.
Now, I am not, in any way, trying to dismiss these people, if they have true anxiety, but at the same time, I feel that I must draw attention to the difference between nerves, and being nervous, versus true, clinically diagnosed anxiety.
It is all on a spectrum, I know, but the difference between the two things is vast. In fact, it is as vast as the difference between a turned ankle, and a broken leg.
All too often, I have had people telling me that I should just get over it, or that I’m simply not praying hard enough, but it isn’t as simple as that.
When it comes down to it, the difference is that with nerves, they are usually surrounding a singular event, whereas anxiety spans multiple events, numerous times.
Nerves are something that can be overcome with relatively little difficulty, whereas, anxiety is crippling.
It can lead a person to live a half life; a life of fear, and panic and terror.
Of course, anxiety can be treated, and can be managed, but, again, this is a long, painful, and difficult road, which I would not wish anyone to have to walk.
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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.