A lot of people ask me how it feels to have social anxiety. It is one of the hardest things to imagine for someone who does not have it. Those who have the ability to comfortably talk to others with little to no hesitation, often find it hard to believe that a disorder such as social anxiety even exists. Luckily, we live in a time where this disorder is being recognized and more people are beginning to educate themselves on mental health, and disorders such as anxiety and depression.
I have tried to explain anxiety and how I feel to those who do not understand the disorder, but often find it difficult. I begin recently to start using analogies. I feel that using analogies are easier for the person seeking an answer to understand. Here is how I feel often. I imagine that those with similar mental health issues also feel this way.
You ever felt like you were being suffocated? Or have you ever had a dream, and in that dream, someone is holding a pillow over your face trying to kill you? You try to wake yourself, you gasp for air and struggle, and then finally the struggling stops, you wake up gasping for air and realize that the blanket was over you face and mouth? Or you're face down on the pillow?
It felt as if you almost died when you woke up probably. Imagine though, dreaming this every night, and every morning waking up gasping for air, fighting to breathe. Imagine having to relive it over and over again. I'm sure at a certain point you would begin to just feel tired, you would feel like you couldn't fight to breathe anymore, you would cry and realize that no matter what you do, you'll always have this problem.
You come to terms with it, and it becomes a part of your daily. You dread going to sleep, but you're prepared for it. You build a wall and try to fight sleep as much as you can because you know you're going to have that dream and wake up half dead. People look at you and wonder why you never get any sleep, why you stay awake for hours until it hurts, but they just don’t understand because they don't wake up every morning fighting to breathe.
So you see, that's just it. A lot of people just do not understand what it is like to have a mental disorder. Well I cannot say a lot because I know that a lot of people do in fact suffer from mental health disorders and do know what it is like to feel trapped. The ones who do not understand will make assumptions, they may even tell you that your disorder is all in your head. God help them though if they spent a day in the head of ours. Mental disorders are so draining, and one who can live with this disorder and still have peace, well that person is strong.
Needless to say, this is what I feel like. This is what it feels like to me to have anxiety. We have medicines and therapy to help us cope, but it really never goes away. It is a burden that can be controlled and something that does not have to define our happiness. We may have it worse than some and may have to work harder, but it is all attainable.
© 2018 Shema Eddings