What Anxiety Looks Like To Me

I think about most things way too much but one of those things is anxiety itself. It can be all-consuming and exhausting. Nobody wants to spend that much time looking inward and fretting that they’re a terrible person with no potential. But that’s what it does to you – it’s the voice in your head that whispers you’re a fool with bad jokes and everyone hates you.

Living with anxiety and depression is a ride. I experience highs sometimes, not particularly nice ones that border on mania (this is usually if I’ve foolishly let my meds run out) but the lows are more frequent. I can feel them coming usually which is helpful, as I can batten down the hatches and prepare for them but in between these extremes there’s the constant doubt.

I think most people have a clear idea of what an anxious person might look like but the truth is, we’re not all rabbit-in-a-headlight eyes and wringing hands. More people than you can imagine live with anxiety and mental health issues – and they look like any one of us. Normal basically and with only one head.

Anxiety to me is a very mixed bag. I find my feelings are quite contradictory and in the past when I’ve tried to explain it to other people, I’ve told them it feels like there’s a perpetual war waged within me. Me vs. Me – it’s like the Battle of the Bastards up in here with less Jon Snow wandering around gormlessly. It’s Me, the confident, independent woman up against Me, the doubtful worry wort – the paranoid introvert who doesn’t like crowds.

I have to remind myself every day that I have a right to be here are much as anyone – and that I’m allowed to take up space.

Anxiety looks different to everyone but to me it manifests itself in intrusive thoughts and dark spots on an otherwise happy life. It’s not crippling but it does need to be kept in check. I’m getting quite good at pushing back – I have the tools to fight. And lately I’ve started to think of it from a more positive stand-point – what if being anxious is my secret super-power? What if I’m supposed to feel crap sometimes so I can recognise it in others – and be a better friend/wife/colleague because of it?

I think my friend anxiety would hate that idea – which is why I love it even more.