I can’t really pinpoint when my anxiety started. All I know is that when I was diagnosed with generalized and social anxiety during my freshman year of college how I felt in certain situations began to make sense.
My parents would always just say that I’m shy and that I need to break out of my shell. My friends would say that my shyness was adorable, that I was just introverted and that I had nothing to worry about. I believed them because I had nothing else to compare my feelings with. I started to realize that it might be more than just being shy when I started to have panic attacks. The majority of my attacks stem from social situations, but I still get them from my generalized anxiety.
I don’t like to think back on the times that I’ve had a panic attack or was close to having one, but I know that by attempting to describe how I feel will only help me with this project. When I’m feeling more anxious than normal it’s kind of like being in fight or flight mode. I’m taking in my surroundings and thinking about every possible situation that could occur. Most of the time I actually have nothing to be worried about and I know this, but I can’t stop my body from reacting the way it does.
It usually starts off with me becoming really antsy. I’ll bounce my leg up and down, I’ll cross and uncross my legs, I’ll fiddle with my finger, pens, paper, basically anything I can put my hands on. Along with this antsy feeling, my heart rate increases and I usually break out in a sweat. If I’m hyper-aware of what is going on I can usually calm myself down by taking deep breaths, but if not then it can lead to a panic attack.
My panic attacks are not pretty. My body kind of shuts down while my mind continues to think about whatever launched me into panic mode. I usually cry and hyperventilate. I don’t like people touching me unless I know them. And I can’t stand loud sounds or yelling; they make me panic more.
I guess for me, my anxiety is sort of like constantly being worried about tiny little things. For example, if I’m meeting someone at a specific time I’m always at least 10 minutes earlier than I need to be and if the person isn’t there on time I begin to panic. Am I in the right place? Did I get the time wrong? Am I the one that’s actually late? Are we even meeting today? Maybe they actually hate me and this was all just a big joke. I overthink everything all the time.
I have to have some sort of plan for everything and if not I get anxious. Spontaneity is not my strong suit. People and social situations make me the most anxious. The thoughts that I have around others are, but not limited to:
- All these people probably think I look silly.
- Why did I wear this outfit? I probably look stupid.
- No one is going to take me seriously.
- Oh god, those people are laughing. Is it at me?
I don’t know if any of this makes sense to anyone but me. I have such a hard time describing how and what I feel. And I often don’t even want to attempt to talk about my feelings because I think I’m burdening others. Or it just gives me more anxiety because I think that others are going to think I’m stupid or think less of me because I feel the way I do, over things that really aren’t that big of a deal. Like right now writing this post is so hard for me. I just want to delete it and never see it again, but I told myself I need to just dump my thoughts out and try to make sense of it all.