Poor anxiety. It gets such a bad rap. It is so misunderstood….so unappreciated.
It is labeled as “the bad guy”….a ruiner of lives. It is hated, loathed, and feared. When talking about anxiety, people say they want to beat it….conquer it…abolish it…get rid of it…kill it…destroy it. Many people feel like victims who are powerless over this “awful force” that has taken over their lives. I think it is safe to say that most people with anxiety hate it more than they have ever hated anything. Anxiety has a horrible reputation and if anxiety were a person, I would probably feel really, really bad for it. Because you see, the truth is that anxiety is a good guy.
I know….shocking, isn’t it? But it’s true.
Anxiety cares more about you than anybody or anything on this earth ever will.
Anxiety’s sole purpose is to keep you safe and to keep you alive. It can spend hours, months, days, years trying to keep you out of harm’s way. As long as it sees that you need help, it is right by your side. It is so loyal to you, that it keeps coming back no matter how hard you try to get rid of it. It never gives up on you and it never will give up on you until it believes it is no longer needed.
It is a terrible shame your relationship with anxiety is so poor because anxiety never has and never will do anything to hurt you.
Anxiety is a hero…an amazing hero trying desperately to get your attention….to wake you up and make you slow down your life and start taking better care of yourself. Anxiety wants nothing more than to save you, despite the fact that every day, you treat it like it is the worst thing in the world.
You probably don’t believe a word of that, do you? I don’t blame you.
If I had read all that when my anxiety disorder first developed, I would have dismissed it as some hippy-dippy crap from some positive thinking Pollyanna and immediately clicked straight out of whatever blog I was reading because CLEARLY that person had no idea what REAL anxiety was. I mean, I had life altering anxiety that was so bad I couldn’t get out of bed. I wasn’t just stressing out over not being able to find shoes to match my outfit, which obviously was the extent of that person’s problems. What I had was an invisible monster that was looming over me every second of my life. I couldn’t see it. But I could FEEL it.
However, as somebody who spent months physically sick from anxiety……as somebody who once sat at a restaurant sobbing because I thought I would never be able to enjoy going out to eat again because all I wanted to do was get up and run away, without having any clue why, or what it was I felt the urge to run FROM……as somebody who has had every single anxiety symptom you could possibly think of at one time or another, I believe that what I am saying is true: Anxiety is a friend.
As near as I can tell, anxiety doesn’t have a whole lot of people out there who think very highly of it. In book after book…. in blog after blog….. anxiety is the bad guy and is the cause of the downfall of many a good person. Through this website, I want to set the record straight and help free all of my fellow anxiety “sufferers” from the misconceptions and misperceptions surrounding this disorder, and show you what I believe to be the truth:
Anxiety could be the greatest thing that ever happened to you.
If you pay attention to what anxiety is trying to tell you, such as:
- You are under too much stress.
- Your inner dialogue isn’t healthy.
- You don’t spend enough time nurturing and taking care of yourself.
- You are over-thinking things that don’t need to be over-thought.
- Your life is moving way too fast.
- Your nervous system is exhausted and over-reactive.
…and if you work on making positive changes to address these issues, you can come through to the other side of this as a stronger, more positive, confident, happier person.
I am living proof of this.
I am not a doctor and I am not a psychologist, but I have something that most doctors and psychologists don’t have and that is twenty years of experience living with anxiety and successfully getting it under control and getting my life back.
That is not to say that I don’t think doctors and psychologists can be beneficial and I strongly encourage anybody with anxiety to seek out professional help if they haven’t already done so. You owe it to yourself to know ALL the options out there and decide what is best for you. Sometimes you have to try a few different doctors or counselors before you find one you “click” with so don’t throw in the towel after the first try. Doctors and counselors weren’t the answer for me, however. And if you can’t seem to find anybody who helps you “get” your anxiety, or if you need some extra help or another voice to listen to, then I strongly encourage you to stick with me and read through my anxiety information pages and let me show you what DID work for me
Anxiety disorders are not a “death sentence”.
You can still have a great “normal” life despite having an anxiety disorder. Do not tell yourself any differently, and certainly don’t let anybody else tell you any differently. It is bad enough to live with the symptoms of anxiety. Don’t compound that discomfort by believing the great myth that is out there that anxiety is some kind of life wrecker.
The purpose of anxiety is to enhance your life…to make it better. It was designed with the purpose of helping you.
Don’t let a bad case of miscommunication and misinterpretation make you believe that things are worse than they are. Yes anxiety feels TERRIBLE. I know this and I will never try to downplay those feelings. Those feelings are REAL. But those very real feelings are telling you lies and you are believing every single one of them. Don’t fall into the “If I am feeling something, it must be justifed and valid and I must pay those feelings their due. “, line of thinking. This is simply not true. We can feel things all day long, every day of our lives, that are based on nothing but imagination. It is best to let your logic and common sense tell you which thoughts those are so you can get busy carrying on with your life in spite of them.
Deep down you know this. Deep down, I believe you already know pretty much everything I am going to tell you throughout this blog. You are just listening to your emotions right now, rather than your logic – because they are louder.
But your true voice and true thoughts haven’t gone anywhere.
I know that you can still hear them, even if it is ever so faintly. But being overly sensitized and stressed out has caused a “fog” to form in your mind that is preventing you from recognizing the truth and hearing your true voice and common sense as clearly as you used to.
You are reaching around, trying to find your way through this fog and you are feeling all kinds of things that your negative thinking mind is interpreting as “bad”. I am going to help clear this fog away, so you can finally clearly see what has been around you all this time and think “THAT is what I have been so scared of all this time? That is so harmless!”
The TRUTH is that the anxiety response itself IS harmless. The way we push it into overdrive can take its toll over the years though as I am sure you are aware, in both physical and mental ways, so its important that you get rid of this fog and see the truth so you can get back in control of your life again!
Repetition is key to forming new healthier “thought roots”. Read this page a few times and let the information sink in.
I know that 99% of you are NOT going to do that but I’m still throwing it out there because that is what I did when I first started my anxiety recovery, and I think it helped. I read information over and over and over again until I felt like it had sunk in and now had an anchor sitting on top of it. It might seem like a very small, unnecessary thing, but the way you currently think about anxiety is deeply rooted. It is going to take some time for these new ideas that I am giving you to loosen up those old roots and make room for new, healthier roots to grow.
Also, the more you read about anxiety, the more you are desensitizing yourself to the idea of it, and that is KEY when it comes to your recovery.
So please, if you are really serious about making changes in your life and learning to control your anxiety , then take your time and don’t rush the process. As insignificant as you might think this page or any new anxiety related information might be…..read it again and again, and absorb every word before you move on and take in more.
When you are ready, check out Two Important Things To Know About Anxiety Control.
Photo Credit: Desk Set Pixabay.com
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Am I glad I found this blog. I’ve been dealing with GAD for about 20 years off and on. Mostly off, thank God. I’ve had 3 pretty bad episodes in those 20 years ..about 10 years apart. I’m in the middle of one as I type. ( had a mild concussion a month ago, then a bad stomach bug. Needless to say I became a complete mess )Read the first 3 ‘chapters’ and feel so must hope. Was actually able to talk myself out of a full blown panic attack this am, based on the things I read here. I feel like I can come up for air finally. Thank you and I can’t wait to continue to educate myself
Hi Jana and thank you for the comment. I appreciate you stopping by my blog so let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you.
I’ve been suffering from high anxiety for a month now, and yes I thought I was going crazy, my last panic attack was 15 years ago. I’ve been doing everything I can to help myself. I’m so glad I came across your blog. Ii can’t wait to read your stories, it’s helpful to know that I am not alone.
Thanks Sue, if I can help you in any way, please let me know.
You are an angel! I was meant to stumble across this page. This is the page I will forever visit when my anxiety flares up. I hope you never delete it! I have been dealing with anxiety for about 16 years, but I have managed it very well except for some blips, you know. But no matter how many times I go through it, when I get stuck I can never convince myself that it will always pass and I really will be okay. That is very frustrating to me. Thank you for this page!
I’m glad it helped. Anxiety is extremely frustrating, but it means well. Best wishes to you on your journey to making friends with your anxiety.
I literally started bawling when I started reading your stuff and I’m still at the beginning, I didn’t know other people felt the way I have been feeling and haven’t been able to convey to anyone who gets what I have been going through. I have felt so lost and out of control of my own thoughts. . I genuinely have been feeling like I’m going to loose my actual mind lately and I have felt like I had no control over my brain. Starting to read your stuff made me able to breath when I was on the verge of what I thought was a mental breakdown and I have no one to talk to about it. Thank you. I will continue to read, and this motivated me to start searching for books on how to help me deal with this severe problem that I need to take care of before I let it take over my life. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear what you’re saying.
I am so happy for you! I know exactly how you feel! It is the beginning of a new life for you. Let me know if I can help you further!
Did this post?
I have had anxiety since kindergarten. I was afraid of using the bathroom at school. Terrified of public toilets for no apparent reason. Terrible public speaking anxiety when I had to present in front of the class in high school. Wouldn’t sleep for days and would cry before and almost not do it. Started having panic attacks after getting diabetes at 16. Intrusive obsessive and scary thoughts started at 22. Sometimes my panic attacks last for 8 hours. Then comes the horrible depression. I’ve had most of the physical symptoms of anxiety as well as the mental. High fear of going crazy, passing out, losing control, derealization. Your blog is so eye opening and gives me so much hope. I love your perspective on it even though you had more than ‘mild anxiety’. A lot more. Thanks for your writing.
Thank you so much and I wish you the best of luck. If I can help in any way, please let me know.
Finding your blog is like a ray of hope for me. Thank you so much.
Thank you for the comment Julie, I am so glad you feel that way. Best wishes to you on your journey. AnnaLisa
This is an amazing article. I can’t wait to read the next part. I wish I had known about this blog a few years ago. Well done and thank you!
Thank you, and I look forward to checking out your site as well!
I’ve only been ready you blog for a short time but. I love it….. I wish it was a book. I read it on my phone and I always seem to loose my place…
I love it and will continue to read it…
Thank you so much, your blog really helps me…
Diane from Ohio
I can’t thank you enough for this comment. You have helped me as well.
Saying ” The way we push it into overdrive can take its toll over the years though as I am sure you are aware, in both physical and mental ways” made me a little bit scared. I understand what you mean, but maybe, it made me scared because the first wave of my anxiety, I was thinking that I am losing my mind. So, it always scare me to think that anxiety would affect my brain in the long term!
No, the anxiety disorder is the toll. There is no need to fear a “nervous breakdown” of any kind because if you are living with an anxiety disorder that gives you daily symptoms and interferes with your day to day life….that IS the nervous breakdown. Its nothing to do with a mental illness or any breaks from reality. The toll that stress takes on us is a breaking down of our nerves to the point that we become mentally exhausted and start over reacting to everything. I have never heard of any stories were anxiety has caused long term mental illness or brain damage to a person. Now, there are people who live with PTSD and I am not sure of any long term issues that could occur because of that, however for those of us who live with no other diagnosis except for GAD or panic disorder, we have nothing to fear because we are already living with the result of our chronic stress. It doesn’t get any worse, except for the fact that your subconscious will keep finding new symptoms to conjure up but they won’t harm you. They will just be a major discomfort in your life until you manage the real issue which is your mental exhaustion and chronic stress level.
Your article is amazing i was having my worst week of my life thinking i could actually lose it now i feel so much better,i wish i could pay you back this has been a huge relief for me thanks a
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I’m finding your information so helpful. To befriend anxiety rather than be so frightened by it (though symptoms and panic attacks can be so frightening). I like the notion of owning and loving it (since it’s coming from inside of us, a part of us). I think it’s also realistic to see it as waxing and waning as we learn more about ourselves. I have believed that I have “beaten” it before…yet 2 years later symptoms have resurfaced. Some need is not being met emotionally or physically so it is my messenger. I do wish it just went away though after you get the message! It seems to be a long process to unwind the symptoms.
Yes I have definitely learned that it doesn’t go away….it just goes dormant for a while. 🙂 Anytime I start falling back into bad patterns and habits, it always finds it way back to the surface.
I dont even know what to say no one else even ill bet doctors… if your not one, you should be
Thanks for stopping by and reading Brad. No I am not a doctor, although I hope to be a psychologist someday. I am simply somebody who has lived with anxiety for 25 years and spent a lot of time trying to understand it. 🙂
Very interesting series. I’ll be reading all of them in my free time. Thanks for posting
I have severe anxiety, so it was nice to hear this. Great job and thanks for following me on Twitter!
Thanks so much @notmydisabilites. I’m glad you stopped by!