The average person wakes up, eats some breakfast, gets dressed, and goes to work. There might be a little bit of nerves here and there: ‘Do I look okay?’ ‘I hope I get that promotion.’ – Nothing out of the ordinary. But, the morning of a person with anxiety is a bit different.
You open your eyes and your brain starts: ‘Is today going to be a good day?’ ‘Did I remember to take my medication?’ ‘What if there’s traffic and I’m late to work?’ As you emerge from your bed and walk into the kitchen, another torrent begins: ‘Should I eat what I want or what will be healthy for me?’ ‘Should I have a cup of coffee or stick with tea to avoid too much caffeine?’ ‘Should I go on a gluten-free diet? What about a dairy-free diet?’
Once you’ve decided on what to eat, you enter your closet and oops, it’s happening again: ‘Do I want to be comfortable today or look professional?’ ‘Maybe I should wear the heels instead of the flats?’ ‘Does this outfit make my stomach look pudgy? How about my arms looking floppy?’ You, thank the Lord, decide what to wear and finish getting ready. You leave the house, turn around the lock the door, and… ‘Which way should I take to get to work this morning?’ ‘I really hope there’s no accidents on the road.’
Seems exhausting? Those with anxiety think so too. However, it isn’t something they can avoid. They can’t just ‘not think about it’ or ‘calm down.’ They aren’t ‘just stressed’ or ‘overreacting.’ They, more often than not, suffer from a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Something to Keep in Mind
The above description is for the anxiety that hits a person every day. It doesn’t come close to the reality of a panic attack.
Imagine trying to catch your breath when you feel like the air in your lungs is running out. Picture your extremities going numb, starting with the tips of your fingers, traveling through your hands, and up to your elbows. Close your eyes and try to think what it would be like: to feel like you’re shaking underneath your skin; to have your vision begin to fade; to have someone pressing in close and they feel like they’re miles away, while also scraping along the outermost layer of your skin.
I realize our reality. We live in a society that overlooks the needs of mental health. We have insurance policies that don’t cover mental health, general care facilities that don’t prescribe mental health medication, and we have people who don’t truly believe there is an issue if it’s not affecting other people.
However, it isn’t about the big waves you can make, but the ripples a single action can create. When someone tells you that they suffer from anxiety, be a comfort, not a non-believer. When your loved one is going through a panic attack, don’t try to say or do. Just be there for when their head finally breaks the surface.
Above all, be kind and understanding and patient. You already know that everyone you meet is facing a different kind of battle. Well, someone with anxiety is facing World War III, and it’s all in their head. If you’re interested in educating yourself, go here.