The Brain that Won’t Shut Off

If you have anxiety, then you understand the title.  One of the phrases that I absolutely hate is, “Don’t worry.”  Really?  You think that’s possible for someone with anxiety?  If anything, that makes a person with anxiety worry even more.

Here’s the difference between a person who doesn’t deal with anxiety and one who does.

Person without anxiety:  He’s not home yet.  He must be running late.

Person with anxiety:  OMG, he’s not home yet.  Where is he?  Did he have a car accident?  Why hasn’t he called?

There’s more, but since I’m not going to share some of my more humiliating 0-60 jumps to conclusions, you get the idea.  I recognize that my leaps in logic aren’t rational, but that doesn’t stop them.  It’s just how I’m wired.  In retrospect, I’ve dealt with anxiety most of my life.  I know now that it was a panic attack that I first had when I was age 10 or 11.  “Just calm down” isn’t a very effective means of helping someone in a panic attack, by the way.

I’ve learned some coping mechanisms over the years, some helpful, some not.  After a few stops and starts with medications, I’ve come to the conclusion that medication will always be a part of my life.  It’s necessary.  It’s not a cure, and I don’t pretend that it is.  But medication brings my whirling thoughts down to a tolerable level that allows me to deal with life, without blowing everything out of proportion.

I still have anxiety.  I still have the occasional panic attack, that hyper-aware, shaky feeling that overwhelms, and no amount of talking down works.  There’s nothing quite like waking in the middle of the night, convinced you’re going to throw up, only to realize that your brain is on overdrive.  And I often have to essentially talk myself into falling asleep at night.

It’s part of me.  It just doesn’t define me.


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