It was a dark and stormy night, frightening and debilitating. Okay, so maybe it was not dark and stormy. And if we’re being honest, it’s not even night. But for someone with anxiety, depression, or other various mental illnesses, it can certainly feel like it. Every day brings something new. Some days are bright and beautiful, only to turn into what feels like a dark and stormy night. Other days you wake up feeling like the roof is going to cave in from the torrential downpour outside even though the sun is shining bright in the sky. No, it’s not something you can just snap out of. No, you cannot force yourself to see the bright and beautiful. It just does not work that way.
Everybody has days where they just feel off, sure. Everyone has days where they’re just a little blue or just a bit anxious over something. But they don’t know depression. They don’t know anxiety disorders. They don’t know what it is really like.
Hands up if you’ve ever had an anxiety attack. Hands up if you’ve ever had a panic attack. Hands up if they’ve happened enough you actually have different physical symptoms to each and know which it is based on your body’s reactions.
There were probably a lot fewer hands up for the last one. That’s because not everyone has had experience with anxiety disorders. For me, an anxiety attack makes me nauseous, my heart rate to speed up, I get a bit unfocused, and my palms to sweat. When I’m approaching something that just makes me nervous, I get these happening on a very light scale compared to an anxiety attack. When I have a panic attack, I can’t breathe, my mind completely clouds over, and I feel like I might die. Nothing can really seem to calm me down during a panic attack. I often feel like I can’t move, like I’m going to pass out. I can’t talk myself down during a panic attack because my brain can’t seem to make the connection that everything really is okay even though my body is freaking out. During an anxiety attack, I can usually keep my head clear enough to keep it from turning into a panic attack. But really, there’s not much I can do. Staying out of anxiety triggering circumstances doesn’t work with panic and anxiety disorders. They come about when they feel like it, not when the situation warrants it.