Three months ago I discovered—or maybe finally admitted—that I have anxiety.
Up until then, I thought I was just a “worrier.” As I realised that these worries were keeping me up at night and interfering with my day-to-day activities, I figured out it was more than just that. Now, I’ve accepted that I “suffer” from anxiety.
Daily tasks such as driving to work seemed overwhelming. There are still days when they do. Sometimes I need to drag myself out of bed because the thought of going to work terrifies me. On certain days, I feel emotionally exhausted from having to do basic tasks like eating dinner or returning a phone call. It just feels too much. A feeling of worry or panic looms over me at some nights.
So yes—I do “suffer” from anxiety.
I put “suffer” in quotation marks because I don’t believe it’s the correct term. I don’t think we, people who have anxiety, are suffering. I think this needs to be understood with a different perspective. We need to stop looking at “anxiety” as if it were something to be scared of. We just have a different experience or a different reaction to an event. We simply ask to be listened to and understood.
Two nights ago, I found myself wide awake at 3:02 a.m. My thoughts were uncontrollable. I was worrying about anything and everything. I didn’t know where my thoughts began or where they ended. That’s when I thought, “My mind is running marathons.” And that’s the moment in which I decided to write this:
Yes—we are tired.
Sometimes, even a good night’s sleep doesn’t help us. We feel exhausted. That’s because our mind is all over the place. We are worrying about something that might’ve happened three days ago. We are worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. Sometimes we can’t quite see things as simply as others might. We can forget how temporary problems are. We forget that eventually, things will work out to be fine.
We run marathons.
We run thousands of them in our minds on a daily basis. That’s why we feel completely burnt out by the time we have to complete basic daily tasks. We’re not being lazy. Honestly—we’re just tired. Sometimes we, ourselves, are fed up of our own minds. We are aware of how overwhelming it feels. We are trying to deal with it. Being patient with us helps.
Most often, we just need to be listened to without being judged. Please stop telling us that we are being silly or that we are overreacting. Our actions or reactions aren’t unusual compared to yours. They’re simply different. Please don’t judge us. Don’t comment if you don’t want to. Just listen. Also, sometimes we simply need some reassurance and some affirmations. We need someone to tell us that we are loved and that it will be okay. Please don’t lecture us. Just tell us that you’re there for us.
We run marathons.
Our palms sweat, our heads hurt, and our body aches by the time our mind has decided to let us rest. Sometimes even the small things, like thinking about going grocery shopping, can trigger our anxiety. It can feel too much to do and too much to handle. Again, we’re not being lazy. We’re not being pessimistic. We’re running marathons in our minds.
I am tired of hearing some of my closest loved ones telling me that I’m too pessimistic. I might be. But I honestly don’t want to be. Sometimes I just can’t help it. A little bit of reassurance would work wonders, rather than being criticised.
We are trying. I am trying. I’ve accepted my anxiety and I am trying out different ways on a daily basis. We’re not lazy. We’re just experiencing something different to some of you. We are tired. We are tired of our minds and those judging, criticising, and labeling us.
It’s not easy to run marathons and still keep going. I think we are heroes—don’t you agree?
We’re still standing and we’re still trying to get on. A little bit of recognition, please. And a bit of understanding…
Author: Mizgin Koker
Image: Christopher Paquette/Flickr
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy editor: Emily Bartran
Social editor: Nicole Cameron