If you know me personally, good chances are that you are more than aware that I have had chronic anxiety for around 12 years now. At this point, mental health awareness and understanding has become a little more than important to me, because, in my humble opinion, it is one of the most misunderstood things around right now. The US hasn’t quite caught up to the rest of the world in the means of healthcare, which can leave mental health services in the dust. I’ve never shared what my day to day with anxiety is like before, but I figured that it was about time.

I’ve known the feeling of anxiety since I was pretty young. The earliest I felt it was probably around when I was in third grade, but I didn’t recognize it as anything other than feeling nervous. I was really young, and for the most part, it probably looked like I was just going through a phase as a kid. Over the years, it was pretty clear that I was always anxious about something, even if there wasn’t anything worth worrying about.

So, what does anxiety look like now?

Now that I’m starting into adulthood, anxiety is a little different because I recognize the confused and messy feelings as being anxiety. As a kid, it was a little more confusing, but now I know that it’s only temporary.

On a normal day, I usually wake up feeling that familiar nervous feeling in my chest or stomach. Once I start moving, it usually lifts, and I start to feel ready to start the day, have some breakfast, and either get to class, work, or hang around home on the off days. For me, anxiety is usually felt in my chest, with a tingling feeling, racing heart, and sometimes heart palpitations. You get that feeling that something absolutely terrible is about to happen, even when you’re totally safe at home. It can throw a wrench into a normal day, turning it into something terrible for no reason. That is the worst part, in my opinion.

How is someone affected by anxiety?

Another part that people don’t seem to totally grasp is that anxiety has such a massive effect on a person’s energy. For me, I’ve learned to adjust to living while constantly pretty tired. Be patient with us, please! We’re constantly trying to reason with our minds, reassuring ourselves that the world is, in fact, not ending and all will be okay. Doing this all day long is exhausting. It might not sound like much, but when your mind refuses to quiet down all day, it takes a serious toll. For myself personally, I work pretty hard to keep the emotions and panicked feeling way below the surface, so I can work and function on a daily basis. This takes an insane amount of energy, and leaves me usually pretty drained. But, hey, it works for me, and lets me live my life.

Some days are better than others, but every once in a while, it can be hard to smoosh all the feelings down. It is so easy to get overwhelmed, stressed, and upset over seemingly menial things. When you’re constantly bargaining with yourself mentally, it can be hard to keep up.

With all the negative, it doesn’t mean that life is all dreary and sad for me. Yeah, it can definitely complicate things, but for the most part, I live just like everyone else, just with little adjustments here and there. The media can demonize people who live with mental health issues, but in all reality, 99.9% of people are just trying to be happy and healthy like everyone else. And, you more than likely have someone in your life who has a similar struggle.

So, how can I help a friend with anxiety?

Everyone is different. Just like any illness, it effects everyone differently, and everyone likes different things to help with the stress. For me, I like the following things:

  • Support from friends and family. Just asking me how I’m doing lets me know someone is there for me, and opens up the conversation if I haven’t been feeling very well. However, this is something that everyone needs, regardless if they suffer from anxiety or any similar ailments. Everyone needs support!
  • Understand that it isn’t something we are doing on purpose. These feelings are usually out of our hands! While it doesn’t excuse any behavior, it is really helpful to understand that we are doing our best to manage how we feel.
  • Understand that somedays I need a day off. I can get really overwhelmed, and a day off is worth its weight in gold.

In addition, if you need some self care yourself, feel free to check out my post about my favorite forms of self care! Everyone can use a little TLC now and again!

Do you know someone that has anxiety, or maybe you do? Want to share any experiences or advice? Share in my comment section below!

XOXO Em

24 comments on “Constant Anxiety – What It’s Like Living With Anxiety Disorders”

  1. I’ve been dealing with depression for about 11 years now and it was so hard to realise it was actually depression, I thought I was weird for the longest time. People around me (including me) thought depression was something way different. Two years ago I started seeing a therapist which changed my life completely. It’s so important to raise awareness though, so many people don’t know what a mental health problem looks like

  2. I know what anxiety means, maybe not chronic one, but my previous work made me quite nervous and I got anxious about everything. It was difficult for me to get rid of that. Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing. I suffer from depression but not anxiety. I’ve never really read about anxiety from the perspective of someone in their day to day life, but this makes me wish I had earlier. It clues me in to how some of my loved ones must feel as they battle their anxiety.

  4. Ugh, I relate with you so much! I, too, recently wrote about my struggle with daily anxiety (oddly enough, writing about it seemed to open this trapped door and lift a lot of weight off my shoulders). It’s nice to connect with someone I can relate with on this!

  5. I didn’t even know I had anxiety until I was talking to my doctor and she asked if I had ever been diagnosed. I don’t really take anything for it except for a tranquilizer once and a while if I have a bad spell. But it can be debilitating. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Some people genuinely do not understand how to interact with someone with anxiety. Posts like things opens their minds to be a bit more understanding.

  7. I love this! I suffer from anxiety as well, and I have for most of my life without even knowing it. I knew something was “wrong” with me but never knew how to put it into terms. I can’t imagine how life would be different for so many kids if mental health issues were talked about more! Thank you for bringing more awareness to the topic!

  8. there is such a stigma around mental health. I appreciate you opening up, because I too struggle with anxiety and bouts of depression. I’ve found ways to cope as well, making time for myself or saying NO to things have really helped me to find some sort of peace when I am having a bad day. Anxiety has affected my sleep habits over the last couple years, my brain won’t shut off and I too am constantly exhausted. Going to try accupuncture this year to see if something more holistic can help, instead of taking medicine.

  9. Yes! I am a psychiatric nurse and I see this everyday… being misunderstood is one of the biggest complaints I hear. I love your honesty and bravery! Great post to bring awareness!

  10. Lovely post! I agree with you that focusing on mental health is very important. I’ve some friends suffering from anxiety issues. I’ll be sharing this post with them. Thanks for giving an insight into how it feels to be in a state of anxiety as well as the helpful tips.

  11. i completely feel you on this – adulthood anxiety is so suffocating sometimes. Add in the life stress and sometimes the days feel impossible. BUT we talk and write about it – and help others in the process!

  12. I’m not really experiencing anxiety. I also don’t know any friend who suffers from it. I admire you for writing about it. This will be very helpful for people with chronic anxiety. Now I know how to address it, if ever I encounter one.

  13. I do feel anxious sometimes, but don’t think it’s something I’m suffering from. However, you have provided great tips for if when I do or know someone who suffers from it.

  14. Thank you for sharing this. The issue of mental health is a real concern, in the part of the world I am it is just an absolute nightmare as it is largely misunderstood and one has to suffer in silence. I began having panic attack episodes while I was experiencing PTSD. It is really discomforting and saps away all my energy, worst part is that the palpitations often cause me to stay awake for long periods at night. I am still around because of all the support of amazing family and friends. Its always refreshing to know I am not alone. We are fighters. We live on, and thrive. Cheers

  15. I really appreciate this post. People need to talk about anxiety and mental challenges more if only just to normalize it. I used to think I had anxiety, and I do but not the way most people do. Not the way you describe it. The more research I did the more I realize the anxiety I have is a symptom of ADHD. Just doing research and seeing how much I relate to other people made me feel 100x better about myself and what I go through and that’s why it’s so important to talk about it and write about it!

  16. Thank you for sharing this. I too suffer with anxiety and havecwriirten about it. It’s hard but I’ve devliped strategies over the years to help me.

  17. Mental health is so important. Thank you for sharing your story and for providing tips on how we can help someone we know.

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