I have generalized anxiety.
Essentially, I feel anxiety while doing daily activities.
I found out it wasn't "normal" to have the thoughts and feelings I had about three years ago.
I actually didn't realize how extreme it was until a couple years ago when I really wanted to describe what I was thinking to a friend. Let them in on my hell. I wrote down every thought I had. It was pages of thoughts for doing a basic activity. That activity was riding the bus for about 10 minutes from my apartment to downtown Austin. I have a car but I wanted to hangout at the library for some time and didn't want to worry about parking.
A snippet of my thoughts when I woke up on that morning were...
Nevermind. I do not want to do it. I said I would but I don't have to. But then I have to tell my husband and it'd be embarassing to have to explain why. I have some coins but what if I don't have enough. What if the price went up but the website didn't update? I doubt they allow me to pay by card. I never carry cash - who does these days? What if I don't have enough and the driver has to tell me? Will he be mad? What do I tell him? What if he makes me get off? What if I miss the bus and look like a fool showing up as it pulls off? What will the people on the bus think because I'm late? What if more than one bus stops there and I am expected to signal to the driver that I'm not taking their bus? Will they be mad? I still don't think I have enough money. I wonder if that'd be ok? If they'd feel bad for me and let me ride anyway? What if the machine is broken? What if the bus is full and I have to stand? Will I lose my balance? Will people make fun of me if I lose my balance? What if there's someone crazy on the bus? What if I miss my stop? Do I have coins anywhere else that I can take just in case? I don't want to ride the bus. Maybe I can drive and stay a short amount of time? I already told my husband what I was doing and what if he realizes why I ended up not going?
At this point, I was still in bed. I felt like I was about to die - a heavy weight on my chest about to crush me. Nothing else in the world mattered. I couldn't handle the pressure of all the things that could happen if I took upon this simple activity.
My husband would never judge me. He knows about my anxiety. He does encourage me to follow through with things but understands that sometimes my brain blocks me from seeing the clear path he sees. I just didn't want to have to tell him that my anxiety stopped me from doing something simple. Also, yes, I had money. Rational thought isn't really a thing when this is happening, though.
Throughout my life, I've thought and felt the same as I did that morning. I didn't know it was anxiety for all those years but I always knew one phrase that usually pushed me through those moments of hell.
So, that morning I told myself the same thing I told myself for years...
I got up, grabbed my coins and backpack, and headed for the bus. I walked a couple minutes to the bus stop. Checked the live bus locator and waited. I continued thinking about all the scenarios I imagined up while I was still in bed but decided that since I was already there, there was no point in leaving at that point.
Sometimes, that's just how I overcome my anxiety. Two simple words. It's the verbal equivalent to throwing cold water on my face. It has helped me in some of the more mild instances but also some of the more extreme where I forget how to breathe. It's a way to express my frustration with all the thoughts I am having and casting them aside.
At many points in my life, my anxiety has held me back. At some point, I decided to throw my hands up and say fck it and do shit anyway. I mean, the entire thought is that I'm going to die anyway so just fck it. Sounds extreme to think about how death is inevitable but I do need to remind myself in situations where it feels like I'm dying. When I manage my anxiety, I realize that perspicaciously, my life was not in danger but at the time that's how it feels.
I hate my anxiety but I doubt I would have taken as many leaps and chances as I have without having frustration towards being cursed by it. It might be better to live a life without it but I don't really have the luxury of knowing.
Note: this is just the experience I've decided to share about my anxiety. And yes, I do meditate - I use Headspace almost everyday. I try to go running every other day. I have a daily routine that provides successful results with managing my anxiety. And this is one of the better ways I am able to bring myself into the "now" while experiencing anxiety. It works for me.