\ aŋ-ˈzī-ə-tē \
is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety can be characterized by feelings of tension and worried thoughts.
For me, anxiety can be characterized by the sleepless nights I’ve endured, the intense pressure I feel on my chest, the trouble I have catching my breath to the constant waves of panic that wash over me as I sit still on public transit.
For as long as I could remember, I’ve felt this way. I assumed it was just my jittery nerves acting up time to time. I believed I was just too shy to confront others. Everything from ordering food at the counter to confronting someone who was in my personal space became the most terrifying missions. All I did was overthink every interaction, lay in bed unable to sleep or choke up when it became my turn to present my project.
Time to time then became every day. I would find my body tensing up and catch my hands shaking when I thought about my to-do lists. I’d procrastinate on paying my bills, leave my due papers unwritten, and watch as these lists became unbearable.
Instead, I’d sit on my bed and freak out over all the things I knew I had to do - but couldn’t bring myself to do the tasks. I couldn’t find a way to rationalize ways to get out of the sinkhole I put myself into. Oh, the numerous times I've hidden my tears; chewed my nails to the quick; or chased the racing thoughts in my head until I grew weary.
I allowed my anxiety to sabotage my priorities.
It formed into a bigger beast, and soon I found it hard to find solutions for the slightest mishaps. Little things like forgetting to charge my phone, to not catching a seat on the bus began to flip my mood completely. I became angry, and in turn, pointed a finger at myself and over and over again, ask what the hell is wrong with me?
All I could ever conclude was, I am fucked.
I couldn’t shake off this constant tension I felt within myself. The constant negative thoughts that raced inside my head began to eat me up from the inside. It became a constant battle to forgive myself - for the mistakes I’ve made, the way I knew I was treating myself, to just being myself. I had suppressed so much with a tight lid, slowly I felt myself falling apart.
Then it happened.
The Breakdown. All I had bundled up to a point I couldn’t stand it anymore. With a cry so loud I caused my head to pound, screams of Why am I like this, the voice in my head telling me enough is enough, I held a piece of glass to my wrists.
And there it was, the weight of all of my worries I carried with me always had finally broken its way out of the bottle
shattering the glass.
It was there I realized that it was not jittery nerves nor an uneasiness for certain situations, but a weight I’ve carried all along. I’ve had enough of my own thoughts. For so long, I didn’t live the life I wanted because I allowed my fear to control me.
For me, anxiety can be characterized by the countless tears I’ve cried, the immense weight I carry, the strain of having to pretend that flows from my mind down to my body. And I am here to tell you, that you are not alone.