Dear Anxiety & Panic Attacks, I Hate You!
If you could write a letter to anxiety and panic attacks what would it say?
Dear Anxiety & Panic Attacks, I hate you!
If I could tell anxiety and panic attacks to just leave me alone, I promise, I would. If I could magically just flip a switch in my head and say, "You know what, screw you anxiety, you aren't exactly my cup of tea," I would a million times. However, it doesn't work like that. I wonder how often people with anxiety get told to just deal with it, to trust God and he will get rid of your anxiety, or to just "be happy." It is not easy, we do not make it up in our heads, and it is very real.
As someone who became passionate about psychology and is working towards becoming a therapist, let me tell you, just because I went into that field does not mean that I am perfect and have no issues. In fact, some of the best therapists that I know and admire actually went to therapy themselves and became better therapists as a result.
Does anyone else ever feel like anxiety chooses the worst possible times to strike? I can be at work helping a customer and all of a sudden have an anxiety attack. It comes out of nowhere and I do my best to hide it. It also appears when I am trying to have a good time with family and tells me all the reasons why I am not good enough and that the people I love would be happier without me. Do I want to think those thoughts? Not at all.
Admitting that you have anxiety or anything similar should never make you lose friends. Guess what? I have a few friends who tried to confide in their "friends" that they had anxiety. You know, the friends that said they would always be there no matter what. A few days later, they say, "Sorry, but you're just not happy for me and you should really figure out that whole anxiety thing. Maybe when you are happier we can hangout." Are you kidding me? No wonder people are scared to say something, I know I was.
The more friends I lost because my anxiety got in the way made me want to just become a hermit and never leave the house. For those of you who thought I didn't want to hangout or that I just didn't care enough to come to that meet, etc., I promise you, I wanted to be there and I did care. Instead of going, I was trapped by thoughts of, "What if they really don't want me there? I don't want to be a burden?," and "I'm sure they will be happier without me there." Thanks to anxiety, I may have missed out on some beautiful friends because of those thoughts right there. Has anyone else ever felt like this?
What is Anxiety According to Psychology?
According to an article written by Kimberly Holland, "Anxiety is your body's natural response to stress. It's a feeling of fear or apprehension about what's to come. The first day of school, going to a job interview or giving a speech may cause most people to be fearful or nervous. But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder?" (Holland, 2020) She brings up many good points in her article that she had reviewed by an actual doctor. I will use a few of these to backup things I have said before.
Did you know that nearly 40 million people in the United States experience a disorder in any given year? In an article on ada.org, it says, "National prevalence data indicate that nearly 40 million people in the United States (18%) experience anxiety in any given year." (https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety) There are many more statistics on this website. This just goes to prove that no matter what anxiety tries to tell you, you are not alone. Millions of people are experiencing this horrible disorder.
In Holland's article, she states symptoms of anxiety. The symptoms she states are: "An increased heart rate, rapid breathing, restlessness, trouble concentrating, and difficulty falling asleep." (Holland, 2020) I don't know about you guys but I have experienced all of these several different times.
Don't Forget Panic Attacks
Panic Attacks, I couldn't forget about you even if I tried. I will be in the kitchen looking for a snack or deciding what to make for dinner and randomly have a panic attack for no reason. The problem is, they don't care about when it is better for you or what your schedule is. Panic Attacks come and let me tell you, they are brutal.
I found an article that talks about one of the downsides of panic attacks. It says, "Many people don't know that their disorder is real and highly responsive to treatment. Some are afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone, including their doctors and loved ones, about what they experience for fear of being considered a hypochondriac. Instead they suffer in silence, distancing themselves,from friends, family, and others who could be helpful or supportive." (https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder) This is the sad reality for many people. They don't want to be told that they should just get over it. I know, I don't. I promise I didn't choose to have a panic attack. Why would anyone choose that? The number one thing people say about it that bothers me is, "Don't be such an attention seeker!" Immediately, I get defensive and frustrated at that comment and it is unnecessary.
I hope that many readers can relate to this. I will put my social media links below if anyone ever wants to talk. No one should ever have to face these circumstances alone. Anxiety and panic attacks are no joke.
Organization, ADDA. “Panic Disorder.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, 2020, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder.
Holland, Kimberly. “Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 3 Sept. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/anxiety.
“Understand the Facts.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, ADDA, 2020, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety.