I don’t remember ‘getting’ anxiety. I just know that I used to love talking to people and doing stuff by myself and now I sometimes can’t physically get the words out. The shitty thing is, I’m not a shy person. I just have anxiety. I want to talk to you, but I can’t. It gets lonely. It feels like there is a tape across my mouth and I can’t talk, no matter how hard I try to get the words out.
The hardest thing about having anxiety is people not understanding what it’s like having anxiety. Anxiety can feel the same as when you’re home alone and you’ve just watched a terrifying film and you think you hear someone upstairs, except you’re just returning clothes to a shop, or asking a stranger the time. Anxiety disorders make your world shrink, but people understanding can make the difference between leaving your house and staying in.
If you have anxiety, tell people. tell your friends, tell your teachers, tell your tutor (if you’re in college). Trust me, it will help. If they don’t understand, have your GP write a letter explain. (obviously not your friends, that would be kind of weird). Mental illness is just as debilitating and valid as physical illness. Never ever apologise for it. We all know what the stigma around mental illness is like, especially in Ireland, but it is changing and most people simply don’t understand. Having the support of friends and family in everyday life, and your college, school or work can be the difference between being able to cope and not, and while you think that you might be able to get by without it, having help and being around people who understand can be a huge stress reliever and really make a huge difference to your quality of life.
Anxiety is shit, but it can be managed. I got a bus today and I didn’t feel like I was going to die. Or vomit anywhere. So if that isn’t managing, I have no idea what is.