Everyone at some point in their lives will have anxiety. But too often people confuse Panic Disorders and Severe Anxiety with the normal reaction to stressful situations.
Until one has had a Panic Disorder or any one of a number of Mental Disorders, a person will never understand or be able to compare themselves to someone whose life is severely affected a mental illness.
Imagine sitting there being totally overcome by a mind numbing and crippling fear that something bad is going to happen, to the point where you can’t breathe, your heart is pounding, you are sweating profusely, you have terrible shakes and your chest hurts like you are having a heart attack. You feel you are dying and you have no control over it. You feel nauseous and often have to deal with diarrhea. And the fear you feel is real to you but it could be something as simple as having to open the front door to a friend you were expecting to visit.
I have been this person, sitting there having that kind of panic attack. Or being woken up in the middle of the night and immediately having such a severe panic attack that I was rushed to hospital because I was suspected of having a heart attack because of the pain in my chest.
Some one once said to me “I have anxiety, but I ignore it”. I wish my anxiety was that simple. Like the feeling of anxiousness you feel just before you go into a job interview or go out on a date with someone you really like. I would welcome that kind of anxiety. But the kind I have has to be treated with medication, I often have to take a Valium plus my daily antidepressants just to go and see my regular doctor for a new prescription for the meds I have to take for my Anxiety.
But this isn’t all I have to do. I have to control my breathing and tell myself I am okay, that there is nothing to worry about. I spent a year in therapy to learn how to deal with all this. I have spent the last 4 years working on controlling my panic attacks. Having to remind myself to breathe from the diaphragm and not shallow breathe. Logic tells you there is nothing wrong or, that there is nothing to worry about, but the chemicals going haywire in your brain are telling you differently. Every time I go out anywhere there is a routine I have to go through, to stay calm. And only those close to me are aware of me working through my panic.
When a person gets to walk in my shoes then they can pass judgement on what it is like to have the kind of Anxiety I have to deal with. Until then don’t even try to compare yourself to what I go through.