Sunday, March 3, 2013

Twist of Fajita (irrelevant title!)

It can happen at any moment. That twisting, turning pain in your chest or stomach. The kind that gives you a headache, leaves you nauseous, and makes you want to run away and hide forever. It can be triggered by too much, too little, too big, too small... or nothing at all!

Anxiety is something I am afflicted with. Another obstacle that millions of people deal with in their lives. It's not the kind you can just take a pill for and everything is all right. Some people can but many can't.

It often stops sufferers from leaving their home or even leaving their bed. It's debilitating  and can easily lead to depression. When you never know what you will come across or, in general, what moment will trigger it, you come to fear experiencing things. You can learn you're fine in a 400 or more people crowd at a jumping, screaming concert and then you go home, put on music and sit with your dog in your lap and realize you find the combination of the dog and music is overwhelming you. You are finding it harder to breathe, your heartbeat is speeding up, and you can't focus on anything. You just want to get into the fetal position under your blanket and sleep. Of course, you're so wound up, you can't sleep, either.

This is what anxiety can do to a person. Take over your day, your happiness, your existence. It can even lead to an anxiety attack. The most dreaded time in an anxious person's life. You are certain you will cry or pass out or die. Everything is terrifying. You're falling, life is failing... Reason doesn't have any meaning to this person. You can tell them they need this or to do this but this person has fallen into a mental blackout. They can't necessarily process what they want or need, they just are following the motions of life. Oftentimes leading to depersonalization to escape the situation. This makes it easier for the sufferer but worse for those surrounding them, trying to help. This is why having anxiety attacks while alone are preferable, even though it may make them scarier.

I wish I could offer a cure or even a treatment. However, I can't. All I can offer is information. I will never expect anyone who has not faced anxiety to understand it. As much as they may try, like an disorder or unique thing in an individual, only those who have been through it understand. The problem with that is, because it is such an internal issue, those who do not know, may blow it off or act as if the sufferer is at fault or being dramatic. I say this because of what I have heard and seen and been told myself. Ironically, as many people as have anxiety issues, there are a million more who have experienced it once or twice and still do not lend an understanding ear to others.

Maybe my offer of a firsthand experience and understanding of anxiety will be of help and help those of you who have been misinformed or uninformed understand or reach out, even. Any step forward is important.

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