Anxiety is a weird beast, it alters your perception of reality creating monsters where there are none and turns you into a quivering terrified mess at the drop of a hat.
You can be feeling like a reasonably functional human and suddenly you have completely lost the ability to move while millions of tiny spiders are crawling over your skin, the air in your lungs is squeezed out and all of the muscles in your chest contract into one painful tight knot. Or maybe that’s just me. Whatever the case it can be debilitating.
Trying to decipher what is real and what is the voice of the anxiety monster is an ongoing and exhausting job. It can be so tiring not knowing what is real and what is just an illusion created by the mind. Do my work mates actually hate me or is this just the chemicals in my head? Am I really an awful person or is the A-beast at work again? Am I completely alone in this world or are there still people who care?
The negative dialogue continues to gnaw.
When it is at its worst it’s like you feel incredibly angry and everything and anything could make you snap. It can make you paranoid believing the worst is always about to happen – you are going to get fired from work, your friends don’t really like you or you will never succeed in life.
You could lie down all day and never be rested because the fearful mouse in your mind keeps running on that wheel. It strips you of your ability to sleep, to relax and sadly to enjoy what could be lovely moments in life because the toxic fearful storm is raging.
One of the best things I have learned to manage anxiety is exercise. Not mild gentle exercise normally, but intense runs or high intensity cardio of some sort. It feels like the anxiety is being flushed out of you one sweat droplet at a time. Afterwards you get to feel that blissful normality that people who don’t injure this disease must get to feel most of the time.
I recently sprained my ankle so my usual tactic of running off my crazy has not been an option. I have other tools at my disposal playing guitar, yoga, meditation, and of course writing, but nothing is quite so immediate or as effective as a run around the park.
Anxiety is a strange and irritating thing, at it’s best it is the mildly annoying negative voice in your head and at it’s worst it is a debilitating paralysis that crushes down on you like a giant vice causing you to search for any way out no matter how extreme or permanent.
Why does it happen to us? Is it the remnants of some primal fight-or-flight mechanism or is it some unknown or under evolved element of our existence that we don’t yet understand? Whatever the reason, it is a tough road.
In our society it is one of the most common forms of mental illness. In a world that moves so fast and expects so much time from its people, the room for peace and calm is quickly disappearing. We are becoming sedentary in our bodies and chaotic in our minds, never fully able to turn off from the world. Perhaps it is just a symptom of our disconnected times.