Six Reasons Why Having an Anxiety Disorder is Bullshit

UPDATE 2/7/2014: Hey, as you read this, make a note of the date this was posted. This is a pretty old piece now and while it perfectly captures the state I was in at the time, a lot can change in three years. Just keep that in mind.

UPDATE 5/30/2013: Just an FYI, I don’t check this site a whole lot anymore but I’ve re-posted this piece at my new blog located here:

Like just about any nerd out there, I grew up with the constant knowledge that I was “different.” I’ve always been shy and quiet; I’ve also gone to great lengths to avoid uncomfortable situations and once or twice a year I have a full-on anxiety attack in the form of a huge tantrum.

Only in the last few years have I really found something to blame for all the things that made me feel like such a weirdo: high anxiety. It’s a small problem when compared to something like, say, addiction or genocide (you know, the standard benchmarks for sizes of problems), but having a constant sense of dread running through your brain is, to say the least, stressful. When that dread becomes too overwhelming, I freak out. These moments aren’t always, necessarily, full-blown panic attacks, but they are uncontrollable fits of nervousness and depression that shut me down for a day or two as my brain frantically sorts through all of its bullshit and buries me underneath.

High anxiety is such complete bullshit. It’s real and it isn’t at the same time. It’s in your head, but it also takes an actual, physical toll. It’s a construction of the mind, but it feels as tangible as a brick wall, where the bricks are made of mithril and the wall is covered in adamantium spikes and manned by rabid velociraptors armed with rapid-fire grenade launchers.

So what, exactly, makes high anxiety such bullshit? Well, for starters….

Everything Causes it and Anything Triggers it.

It’s an “everything” bagel. Get it?

General anxiety is exactly what it sounds like — overall, constant, day-to-day fear. Basically, a fear of everything. I can look around my room right now and find dozens of things that would stress me out if I started thinking about them: the stack of old bank statements on my desk that remind of how little I know about finance and how doomed my money is having me responsible for it; the LCD TV that I’ve used so consistently in the few years I’ve had it that I have to wonder how much life it has left; the shitty electrical outlet that only works if something is plugged in at just the right angle and will probably electrocute me someday; my cat/life that I’m responsible for who could become dinner for coyotes if she were left outside at the wrong time; my phone and the overwhelming cascade of texts, phone calls, instant messages, emails, and turns in multiplayer games that could descend on me at any moment.

You get the idea.

Because everything causes your anxiety, anything can boil it over into a full-blown anxiety attack or some other kind of freak-out; it’s just a matter of what bill, what email, what text message, what awkward social interaction will tip the scale and send you pacing around your house like a crazy person for the rest of the day, your thoughts racing as your brain does double-duty panicking and trying to think of a way to just calm the fuck down. (And because you won’t be able to calm down, you’ll also feel like a failure. Right? I hope that’s not just me. [Oh, hi there, insecurity!])

Worse, it will always happen when you think you’re feeling fine, when you think you’ve gone weeks feeling just peachy. Really though, you’ve been gradually losing your mind the whole time.

Nothing Fixes it.

Yep. I know that game.

If there’s any evidence that your brain is the biggest asshole in the world, it’s that the only remedy for your anxiety is also the worst coping mechanism humanity possesses: denial.

There’s no way to fix your dumb brain. The best you can do to ebb the tide of dread and exhausting mental fatigue is to just ignore it all — until that one trigger fucks up all the shit that you have on hand to fuck up.

And the best part? After your little explosion, you get to start the whole process over again, because. …

It’s a Self-Sustaining Cycle.

The truly shitty thing about an anxiety disorder is that it’s completely self-sustaining. There is no getting over it, there is no defeating it, because it will always come back. Anxiety is the Wolverine of bullshit mental disorders; as long as a single cell remains, its mutant healing factor basically makes it immortal.

Just like this.

The cycle goes something like this:

Brain: “Danger!”

You: “What? Where?”

Brain: “There!”

You: “Where?!”

Brain: “Everywhere!”

You: “What?”



Brain: “Why are you panicking? Are you in danger!”

You: “Brain, I’m in danger! You have to help me!”

Brain: “What?! You’re in danger?! OH GOD PANIC! PANIC NOW! NOW! PANIC NOW!”


Brain: “Why are you screaming?! Are you in danger?! PANIC PANIC PANIC!”

You: “Why?!”

Brain: “Because you’re in danger!”


Brain: “What’s happening?! Are you okay?! QUICK PANIC IT’S ALL YOU CAN DO!”

You: *Crying* “I don’t know what’s happening!”

Basically, the dialogue breaks down and your brain and body become engaged in a debilitating rendition of “Who’s on first?” (If “Who’s on first” ended with Lou Costello sobbing, drinking a bottle of wine (from the bottle) to calm his nerves, then eating ice cream for dinner while watching cartoons and hating himself.)

Cheer me up, friends.

The silver lining, I guess, is that you know for certain when it’s all over: when you’re crying yourself to sleep, too scared to drift off since your once manageable waking panic attacks have evolved into something else entirely.

Yup. It Evolves.

Something interesting happened to me several months ago. My regular, daytime panic attacks went away almost entirely. Sure, I still have bad days and moments where I freak out, but the actual fight-or-flight things that make my heart beat like a machine-gun and my brain dissociate entirely from everything happening outside of my own skull dissipated.

Or so I thought.

It turns out the actual-panic panic-attacks hadn’t gone away; they’d just moved from being a daytime thing to more of a middle-of-the-night-while-I’m-sleeping kind of thing. My anxiety evolved and became nocturnal.

My anxiety became Batman and my mind became — I dunno — Calendar Man or something.

Now my panic attacks happen while I sleep; I’ll just wake up, my heart punching its way out of my chest, feeling that I’m about to die. Sometimes they take the form of the most vivid, twisted nightmares I’ve ever had in my life, the illusions of which persist for a minute or two after I wake up. A few weeks ago I woke up clawing at my leg because I thought a bug had burrowed into my flesh. Then I tore up the covers trying to find it before realizing that it was a dream. Something like that happens about once a week now.

And remember that thing about anxiety being self-sustaining? Yeah, so now I’m pretty sure my fear to fall asleep plays a big part in why I wake up terrified night after night. I’m scared to sleep because of nocturnal panic attacks and I have nocturnal panic attacks because I’m so anxious about falling to sleep. And because there’s no fix for anxiety, this is just a thing that I do now. (The next several decades of my life are sure going to be fun.)

Well, I guess there’s no use complaining about something you can’t change.

The best part is that nocturnal anxiety hasn’t completely replaced my typical, waking anxiety — no, no, this is all in addition to, not in place of. There’s less of it, but it’s still there, and with the added nocturnal anxiety, it’s still more of this bullshit than I’ve ever had to deal with before. So as if being awake didn’t give me enough to be afraid of, now my own dreams have become as frightening as everything else in life. That’s really the worst thing about an anxiety disorder. …

Avoidance Behavior.

Once you realize that anything can trigger your anxiety, you start avoiding everything. And I mean everything. I go out of my way to avoid doing things that I should want to do. I avoid going to my friend’s house because his neighborhood only has street parking and I’m scared to parallel park; I avoid doctor’s appointments because I’m too scared they’ll find something wrong with me; I avoid anywhere where there might be bugs because they could be poisonous; I avoid the ocean because of sharks and jellyfish and drowning; I avoid concerts because I’m scared I won’t know how to act during the show. (I know that people yell “Woo!” a lot. Do I do that? It never sounds right. People will know I’m faking it and they’ll judge me for it.)

I mean, Jesus, everyone knows the ocean is lousy with Cthulhus!

In fact, most of my fears are social. A few years ago I started keeping my hair long, getting it cut maybe once or twice a year. Why? Because I’m terrified of the inevitable awkward silence and stilted conversation I’d have to endure with a hair dresser. I don’t answer my phone because I don’t know how to talk to people if I can’t read their expressions and their body language. I have $219 worth of towels in my car that I need to return, but I’m too scared to do it because the manager of the store checked me out when I bought them and he’ll probably be there and he’ll remember me because we had this long conversation about how many towels I was buying and then he’ll wonder why I’m returning all these towels and then he’ll know that I bought too many and the wrong color because I don’t know how to function in the world where adults buy towels and — and — ugh.

Now I just feel like a shitty person. That’s the thing about social anxiety….

Social Anxiety Makes You a Social Outcast (and Rightfully so).


It sucks but it’s true: people don’t want to hang out with somebody who’s clearly nervous and slightly afraid all the time. Your stress causes them stress. At worst they think you’re just kind of weird. At best they know exactly what’s going on and feel like they have to adapt their behavior to you. In any case, you’re just a bummer to be around.

Even worse, it keeps you from functioning as competently as your peers. You don’t feel like an adult. That’s not to say you won’t get there eventually, but get used to using the term “late bloomer” as one way to describe yourself, because you’ll be using it a lot.

Hopefully not quite this bad.

Maybe you can convince yourself that you’re a misanthrope, so you don’t care what other people think, but that just makes you a liar. Social anxiety kills your self-esteem. Because the world scares you, because you don’t know how to function in it, you can’t really be relied upon, but you constantly have to rely upon others.

Humans are social creatures, so we can’t help but burden our friends with our bullshit. When that bullshit is, say, financial ruin or addiction or your parents dying, friends want to be there for you. But when your “problem” basically just amounts to consistent inconvenience and a sense of helplessness that you’ve manufactured entirely in your own mind, you’re just a fucking drag.

I wish I could end this article with a message about how it gets better, about ways I’ve learned to cope, but the best way I’ve figure out to deal with my anxiety issues is just to drink. If I’m feeling nervous, overwhelmed, full of dread, depressed, or panicked, I drink. Alone. And eat my feelings. And watch depressing movies. So basically I’m like any great writer of my gender, only without any of the swagger, confidence, ability, life experience, or sex-having.

Huh. Suddenly I feel like I could really use a drink. …


Filed under Journal, List

92 responses to “Six Reasons Why Having an Anxiety Disorder is Bullshit

  1. First of all, I apologise for the spelling and grammar!

    I was on facebook when I first saw this blog.
    It was attached to a friends wall. I thought i would log on to see who this guy was that was slating people with Anxiety disorders: originally to get all pissed off, then i read on…

    You have pretty much just described my entire life: its unbelievable how you have been able to hit the nail straight on the head. And i Lol’d quite a lot: this was a very accurate and spooky read.

    I’v had anxiety since i was a kid: diagnosed at the tender age of 13 and i probably had it way before then. I remember when i was very young: about 9-10 years old, i used to have to hang over the edge of the sofa to catch my breath randomly on a daily basis. They said it was asthma: i know it was anxiety.

    As i got older the attacks kept getting worse. when i hit 15, i spent an entire year of my life sleeping in the day, waking up at night, because i was to afraid to go to school and interact with people. When i was finally forced to go back to school; which i did for my final year, but the same thing happened to me at 20. It took me 3 years to get of my arse, out of the house and back to work. That sucked. It then took me a further 2 years to finally find a permanent job and stick at it! Mostly because if im afraid of someone or something has gone wrong, and i think its my fault: I leave.

    I have never been good with confrontation, so im very easy to manipulate. If i think i have slightly upset someone, even if they have done the wrong, i panic: MASSIVELY PANIC! I take all the blame and beg for forgiveness. the stupid thing is that i know im being used, but there’s nothing i can physically do, because i just cant bare the arguments.

    Last year after i turned 25 i had a stupid anxiety breakdown about death and dying. I couldn’t sleep at night because i was so scared of my mortality. That was very difficult, because there was nothing i could do. it took me a month to get back to normal. One year later and i guess im better now but im still having anxiety issues. Mostly because my nan died a few days ago and other bits n bobs to do with everything going on in my life at the mo. Nothing major (apart from the nan thing) just my own stupid insecurity’s.

    I haven’t wrote this comment to get advice or seek your words of wisdom, I wrote this to give you a general understanding that your not alone out there mate. Most people can say they get it, or they understand: But unless you suffer from this, you cant truly get it. Because lets be honest…they dont think its worth being upset over…but it is. Because its so real for us.
    I cope with mine by smoking tbh. I know i shouldn’t smoke as much as I do but it helps me slightly. The only time it doesn’t help is when i hit the trig-angle as i like to call it. Where i get agoraphobia, claustrophobia and xenophobia all at the same time, which then in turn starts a anxiety attack. Those really suck!

    To conclude with this whole thing, I agree with everything, anxiety is total bullshit! You have a fellow sister on the interwebs that is right there with yah buddy!!

    Take care of yahself buddy!
    Garnie x


    this website helped me when i was having some serious attacks and i was looking for help. If you need it, give it a try:

    • Thanks for the link! I actually did remember something that helped me a ton: I stopped drinking coffee. Completely. Since then I’ve been in a better mood overall and my nightmares/nocturnal panic attacks have become a lot less frequent. So if anybody out there stumbles upon this and is looking for some small bit of advice: cut the caffeine. I know you love it — I do too — but your brain has too much going on as it is.

      • Marissa

        The coffee well I just finished my instant cup of coffee with 4 tablespoons in it I don’t like to taste so I drink it in a small quantity. Yes it is a joke and I guess that feeds my addictive personality. This is how I feel emotionally physically and mentally regarding the article doesn’t matter what it is she steps forward is a day behind I made of the same the other day that said wipe my tears my dreams are blurred and I think that has relation to my anxiety when I sleep I’m not a stupid person in fact my intuition goes above and beyond the call of duty its been doing this for about 6 months and the last 4 months I have been having problems with my hands and what situation oh and I tell my native American counselor or my chiropractor that I feel like I’m fighting myself inside they don’t get it but in fact you are explaining it to the T so I am going to let them read the article so that they find out who I really am because on the outside my Gemini what you do my default character takes over and is the laughing joking smiling independent woman and then the inner Gemini the one that should not be the default but its finding more true day by day is he insecure insufficient discombobulating questioning person and I almost interated the word full for that meaning anyway my hands of time feel better but when I feel anxiety coming on I can feel it running through my body and sometimes it feels like it wants to press out of my fingernails it has nowhere to go inside but to keep circulating which then escalates to just a cloud of nasty combustion that again can’t be released so therefore everything that I experienced day by day hour by hour minute by minute second by second it just escalated and right now my shoulder and my left wrist hurts to the point where I’m going to have to switch my phone over to my other side thank you for listening my blah blah blahs I actually made sense to myself and I’m going to go ask my mom to read his entire article along with my response

    • dude4

      You hit the nail on the head with this; If you can’t control the panic, and you can’t calm yourself down and manage yourself, then you are absolutely 100% correct to feel like a failure.

    • Candy

      This comment is great i was in the middle of nervous break down when i found this on facebook it just feels a bit better knowing there are people out there who know exactly how much anxiety fucks you up and can just affect your everyday life, like as if you have chains tied to your feet that won’t let you live life happily and have you as a constant fucken slave.

  2. Stephie

    I loved reading this. 🙂

    My post is kinda ramble-y. The TL;DR for this comment is: I can relate in more ways than I care to admit.

    I’ve always been an anxious mess over everything. As the ‘mom’ of any given group ( the one who packs, plans, cooks, takes care of the group ) I was always rushing around making everything perfect ALWAYS. People used to tease me and say it was OCD and it was a good, long running joke until I started experiencing panic attacks to go along with my mental freak outs. Turns out my seemingly obsessive need to clean, take care of people, do the right thing, straighten, organize, etc. all comes from a bunch of childhood crap along the lines of I-didn’t-have-a-childhood-cause-I-was-expected-to-be-the-stand-in-mom-and-wife-to-a-messed-up-family-dynamic and if I didn’t succeed 100% in everything then everything would be awful and terrible. ( Mom would succeed in her wish to die, Dad would just stay at work and never come home, my brother will not stop hitting me and beat me to death. ) I was scared of not having everything perfectly done because it seemed that when everything was awesome and fine that our family problems and issues were lessened dramatically and sometimes things seemed ok.

    It started affecting other things. I couldn’t relax or concentrate if things were out of order. I’m still the same way. If anything is over a certain degree of ‘messy’ or ‘cluttered’ I just cannot focus.

    “Laundry isn’t folded? Ok. Laundry is an octopus of fabric scattered on the floor? Well, the WHOLE UNIVERSE IS GOING TO DIE. YOU’RE A TERRIBLE PERSON AND oh great, there goes the heart palpitations. Freak out. Yup. C’mon. There we go. Oh? Your left hand is going numb? Awesome. I bet your arm is going to fall off now. Guess you really won’t be able to draw anymore if you’re missing your arm then what good would you be then, huh? You’d be useless as a person. Might as well die. Good thing you’re about to die right now. You didn’t know that, did you? Yup. YOU’RE GONNA DIE ANDIFNOTRIGHTNOWTHENEVENTUALLY!”

    To this day I still cannot be somewhere disgusting if that place is not a designated place for gross things. Example: A cave is dirty. I expect that. It is ok. Someone’s house is not a place for DIRTY. If someone’s house has roaches crawling around – I’m out. Nope. Nope. Nope!

    At one point, this mental abuse would send me to in a spiral of anxiety attacks and depression. I hid in a closet for three days once. I couldn’t even sit in a car in a parking lot without freaking out.

    I decided that it all had to end. I went to a doctor and got the lowest dose of sedative I could get ( and cheapest cause I have no insurance and I HATE HATE HATE HATE doctors – just thinking of doctors makes my heart race ) and I slept for a few days until the medicine was in my system. I did a lot of self behavioral therapy. I went in to the ER one day cause my stomach hurt really bad and I had myself worked up in to believing that my stomach lining was failing and acid was pouring in to my blood stream. The doctors gave me basic pain meds and sent me home with a few thousands of dollars in debt. Yay. Long story short – I became well enough to function and eventually better than I imagined I could be.

    I will never be rid of my anxiety disorder. I do things to help myself keep calm though. Self orientation helps me the most. When I start flipping out I go through some basic facts.

    “I am _______. Today is ____. I am _____. I am here because _____. I am safe because ______. I understand that I have anxiety disorder and I am prone to freaking out over things that have no real power over me. I am safe. That’s the most important thing. I am safe and if I am not safe then I need to remain calm so I can be in a safe situation again.”

    I carry my medication around with me but it is only as an AS NEEDED thing and sometimes just knowing I have my medicine with me helps me before I need to take it. Taking my medicine in instances where I know stress is going to be high before hand helps ( like before getting on an airplane where my first true I-am-going-to-die panic attack happened. )

    The people closest to me all know I have anxiety disorder and helps me whenever I need to verbalize my way out of an attack or through one to someone but otherwise, no one would have a clue now that I’m even ever nervous. Minus the cleaning thing. I’m notorious for cleaning still.

    • Thanks for your comment, Stephie!

      I share the same fact-based coping mechanism. Any time I start to freak out about hypothetical future things or stupid past things I have to make a conscious effort to focus on little things in the present, things that I can observe around me. “OK, this cup in front of me is green. It is a green cup. It is made out of plastic. It is roughly 6 inches tall.”

      I’m also the same way about cleaning. Not so much organizing, but I can’t stand to see dust and dirt around the house. I think it really just comes down to control. Control and a tangible sense of accomplishment in terms of the “before and after” of how the house looks. Every Saturday I clean my house and listen to the Comedy Bang Bang podcast, so every Saturday morning for me is exactly the same. It’s the one time of my week that I make sure I have total, absolute control over.

      I also wish I’d realized that whole telling-the-people-in-my-life-about-it thing a long time ago. It sounds very Hallmark-y but honesty and acceptance helps so much. At least now I can make jokes instead of spending a week in bed keeping a knife close at hand in case it should get too overwhelming to live with (which is how I spent one week my senior year of college).

  3. Will

    Man I coudn’t have said it better! Ten years later I STILL remember my first panic attack like it was ten minutes ago! I too had to quit the caffeine, wich sucks, but there comes a time where you say “Is all THIS really worth a cup of coffee or a Mt. Dew?” I’m glad to know that other people out there have the same sysmptoms, outlooks, and frustrations I do. Makes me feel a bit more “normal”, if that makes sense.

  4. Christopher Reeve

    I have social anxiety disorder, blaming oneself in any way doesn’t help at all (although it’s one of the symptoms of this awful condition of course which is one of the reasons we’re stuck in this cycle) I would definitely argue that this condition is about as bad as any other kind of “illness” just because of the fact that it robs you of a better life, it’s not our fault we have higher levels of anxiety in our brains it’s just one of those unfortunate things in life. I would even go as far as saying this condition (an emotional one) is possibly worse than either a physical or mental one just for the mere fact that it’s the least understood and usually trivialised by most who’ve never had to deal with it, but that’s another problem most people think they do understand because every person alive has felt socially awkward at a point in there life, and they got over it and so assume people like us are probably weak even pathetic, which on the contrary is the complete opposite of the truth, you become stronger from having to live with this thing, if you didn’t you’d probably top yourself after a time. Most people have normal levels of anxiety and are very fortunate, a lot of us have higher levels (some very high) it can be genetic or it can come from traumatic experiences usually in childhood, one of the most frustrating things about suffering from an anxiety disorder is that to most of the world it is invisible and doesn’t exist.

  5. Came across this post through a Google search and read through the whole thing. A good read, and something that I can very much relate to. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to my feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing…¬_¬

  6. Adam

    I like the misleading title you have here (it sounds like you’re saying the disorder is phony or faked with the word “bullshit”). It drags in the ignoramus hoping to be reinforced who don’t believe in anxiety disorders and their debilitating effects. It also brings in those who suffer from anxiety who can’t believe that anyone would talk down something that is quite evidently a problem. As for the actual content of the post: I think this will be both eye opening to the ignorant and perhaps mildly comforting to those who thought themselves to be alone in this God awful affliction called anxiety.

  7. Leyla

    This person is a genius. Finally someone who feels what I feel. It doesnt go away. All the treatment in the world won’t make that one cell go away. It will lay there dormant until u think ur having a good day then it shows it’s ugly head again. I hate the word “cure” for anxiety disorders. This is not realistic. It can come for no reason even wen ur not worrying about something. There is not enough research or studies done to help this major disorder that is life crippling. People don’t understand it which shuts u even more away from the world. Specialist always say to do breathing but it doesn’t work. Wen u have a disorder most symptoms hit u so quick that breathing won’t control it in the time frame that the attack can’t be managed. I don’t know what to do anymore. I have seen so many doctors and some have turned on me for my problems. Way to go with helping!

    • The whole “breathing exercise” thing is absurd. How are you supposed to concentrate on how you’re breathing when you’re in the middle of a panic attack? I think you just need to find a doctor who gets it. Unfortunately that can be easier said than done.

      Personally, since anxiety has so much to do with control, I’ve been keeping a journal of my symptoms and thoughts on an almost moment-to-moment basis. I just carry it around. I think it gives the illusion of control in that it makes you present (to be aware of what you’re feeling and able to articulate it in writing). It’s helped a bit, but every bit counts, right?

  8. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I can’t believe people are still finding this post, but it’s heartwarming to see people connecting to it.

    I wrote this article as kind of a reaction to when I really realized all of this and first started digging into it to find out why I was “different” and what was “wrong” with me. I’ve done a lot of self-help kind of things to try to figure this out, and while some have helped a bit, I still have big problems, some worse than ever. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it now and I’ve come to the conclusion to finally try medication. I know there’s something going on with me that’s deeper than any kind of learned behavior. Maybe I’ll document that little adventure. I just need to find a doctor in Texas that will take my insurance….

  9. awkwardgirly

    I frign love this article! it was jus TOO funny! You managed to explain everything I’ve felt and have been feeling since I was 5 til now and it explains all the things I felt but didn’t really understand why I was feeling or felt I was the only one feeling it…
    Absoloutly banging article! No nonsense, no bullshit. You should write a book on the effects of anxiety, it’d be a great learning tool for health “professionals” and i promise I’d be the first to buy it.

  10. Michelle Fernandez

    I stumbled upon this post when I decided that a google search for “anxiety calm the fuck down” was my best bet for a cure. I’ve been in a downward spiral for the better part of a month and, since prior to now my anxiety’s backed off for a while and I live in a foreign country, I don’t have a shrink at the moment. Given time constraints I probably won’t get to one for a while, during which time I have major assignments to do and my life is, predictably, crumbling around me. I just wanted to drop a line and let you know that, in the absence of real therapy/medication, this little bit of solidarity and laughter served as a welcome and necessary respite.

    • Glad I could help a little bit, Michelle! If you’re looking for a little more temporary therapy substitute I recommend the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast. I also find it incredibly helpful just to hear from other people.

  11. Just want to say that I stumbled upon your blog during some searching under anxiety, panic etc. Your articles are wonderful! I couldn’t stop reading and as well, haven’t laughed this hard in years!

  12. Tory Back

    anxiety attacks can be reduced by taking some relaxation breathing exercises.`

    Our own blog page

  13. NR

    Great blog, thanks for taking the time to share… so close to home. Anxiety must be the most insidious form torture – I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I have actually gotten to the point of acceptance – accepting that I will never feel “normal” or “well” again. It’s a bit sad actually. Any “normal times” just need to be cherished.

    If I can recommend anything it’s yoga and this book:

    Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr Claire Weeks

    It really is a great book and she really understands all the feelings and symptoms.

    much love.

  14. Hope I don’t harsh your mellow, but just wanted to say I really enjoyed the way you express yourself about anxiety, and, for what it is worth, think you do a good job of communicating the idea and feeling of the “episodes”.

  15. Shunte

    This article is actually great and I love you for it…… Anxiety to me is nothing but fears fears fears I justfound out about mines recently but I been having attacks for over 20 years and its all because I’m scared of what I don’t know, sometimes I panic like I’m going to get in trouble or a whopping but by Who? I feel like its something I can beat now that I know what’s been hindering on me all these years…. So now I’m going to read every bible verse that’s about facing my FEARS and pray to God because I know he answers……I know the world is a scary place but haven’t anything harmed me thus far & I’m 29 my kids are 6 and 3 I want them to be brave and strong so that means I have to become brave and strong.

  16. Megan

    yes, cutting caffeine is very helpful. The most helpful thing I found, at least for specific triggers, is to know what they are, and when that panic response floods through my body, i remember that it’s adrenaline. Same chemicals as doing something super fun…so why not enjoy the warm rush of adrenaline? I smile at that thought and it makes me feel so powerful; partly from the adrenaline alone, but also for over coming that trigger. It took about a year to train myself to rethink that trigger, and it certainly wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. One trigger down, many more to go…but that one gives me confidence to tackle others and it’s also one less stressor to deal with while confronting other things.

  17. Loria Amnekia

    Oh my! This post was just what I needed to stumble across at the best possible moment to stumble across it. I was looking for something to help me get through what was feeling like it was going to be the worst anxiety/panic attack I’ve ever had. And then I found your post, thought someone was downplaying the issue, and then read it. I think you really saved me from a night spent on the computer instead of sleeping. Here’s why:

    Sunday, February 24th, 2013 at just barely before 8 pm, I lost my cat, Dragon. I don’t know what happened yet, she seemed to come down sick Saturday. We couldn’t afford an emergency after hours visit, so we were trying to keep her going till we could get her in. She died with myself, my husband, and our 7 and a half year old daughter telling her how much we love her.

    My problem tonight, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it was something we could have helped with, something we couldn’t have helped with, something we did or didn’t do for her…bottom line:

    My best friend is gone. My heart is broken and I feel guilty because I don’t know if I could have helped her or not. I tried to go to bed around 11:30. I laid in bed for an hour, trying desperately to calm myself down, to slow my racing heart, to get myself to relax. I can usually talk myself down from a mild attack, just by telling myself over and over “There is nothing physically wrong with me, I am fine. I am not going to die, I am just fine.”

    But tonight, it was impossible, and the more it failed, the worse it got. I got up and figured I’d look around for some help, or at least something to read for the night. I found this, and now, I’ve calmed down a lot, and I’ve even laughed.

    Thank you, so very much for this post.

    • Loria Amnekia

      …It looks like it time stamped my post differently than what my computer says it is, my computer says my local time is Monday, February 25th, 2013 at 1:48 AM.

    • Thanks for your response, Loria.

      I am very sorry to hear about Dragon and I know how you feel. When I was around 17 I lost the dog I grew up with, Sparky. He’d developed a cancerous tumor in his abdomen and we had it removed. During surgery, the tumor (which was apparently massive) burst. He came out seeming fine, but they warned us they didn’t know what might happen since the tumor burst. A week or so later we were watching TV and he started seizing. We had to have him put down that night.

      As bad as it was losing him, the thought of what we put him through trying to keep him alive was worse. His last few weeks of life were traumatizing, just because we weren’t willing to let go. It’s one of my biggest regrets in life to this day that we didn’t just let him go when the writing was so clearly on the wall, when he was still comfortable, not suffering any visible symptoms and likely blissfully ignorant of his own condition.

      I’m so glad I was help a little with this article, especially as it’s really the only reason I haven’t shut down this blog entirely.

  18. yesenia

    I just found out I have “anxiety”. Although I secretly knew. Anyways, I love how this is so true!

  19. Loria Amnekia

    Thank you for your sympathy, Christian. I can say tonight that a lot of the anxiety and panic I was feeling over Dragon’s death has passed since we found out what the vet had to say. Our vet said that Dragon’s kidneys were so destroyed, he’s pretty sure she had cancer or something else wrong with them. There was nothing we could have done for her, she’d never shown any signs of being sick.

  20. SweetDickWillie

    Oh thank god you people are here! I thought I was the only one who felt this way! That feeling of dread you get when waiting in line at the grocery and the old bat at the front of the line just KNOWS she has the exact change in her pocket book and procedes to dump out it’s contents to look for it and all you want to do is pay for your stuff and leave and oh god now your geting hot and your legs are getting rubbery and why don’t they just open another lane oh for f*cks sake can someone make that kid stop crying and lady you DON’T have the change can you just give the cashier another dollar so we can all get out of here and now I’m dizzy and my heart is beating like a hummingbird flapping it’s wings and now the old bat is gone but the guy in front of you wants cigarettes and the cashier walks off to get them and f*ck I forgot to get bread and theres NO WAY IN HELL I’m leaving this line to get it which means I gotta come back again sometime soon and “no not the soft pack, a hard pack please” says cancer man and what the f*cks the difference
    and now I’m feeling like a train about to wreck o.k f*ck this food I’m outta here ABANDON SHIP!!
    Another issue I have is driving to and being in places I’m unfamiliar with.Example: I like to go to concerts, mostly rock/metal/industrial which none of my friends like, but, luckily my best friend understands the whole anxiety thing and goes with me, but I have to pay for his ticket and gas and parking and the whole time we’re at the show I’m in the mosh pit getting some agression out he’s standing in the back texting people, bored out of his mind. It makes me feel both A: like a bad friend for leaving him back there, even though he says no worries, go have fun and B; like I’m a handicapped person and he’s my handler because I’m not able to be out on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I bitch, but I REALLY appreciate him, even though it doesn’t sound like it. It just pisses me off because while I’ve had anxiety all my life, I only started geting anxiety attacks at 21, and before then I’d drive from my home state of NH to NY to visit a girl who was away at college ,when I was 13 my grandfather, my cousin and I drove to Florida and it was probably then most memorable trip ever ( who could forget when grampy missed his turn and I was awoke in the back seat at three a.m as he made a U-turn in some farmers corn field and corn is bouncing off the car like dead birds?) I used to be so f*cking independant and now I have to rely on people for the simplest stupid f*cking thing, damnit! O.k, going to breath now… to the author of this blog: Thank you so much for leaving your mark on the world, it’s left this guy with a sense of “belonging”, how ever screwed up we all might be! lol

  21. ah. your brain is my brain… i want to hug you for articulating it so perfectly. especially the velociraptors. and the wine. im sorry you feel that way, as it sucks tremendously, but its selfishly comforting to know i’m not, you know, completely 100% not human alien stress brain. i described it to my boyfriend as constantly wearing those sci-fi nightvision goggles that go ‘TARGET LOCKED!’ have temperature readings and gps and shit, except instead, its the emotional ‘frequency’ of EVERYTHING. ALL THE TIME. how do you turn this thing off, dammit?! side note:are you on any medication for your anxiety? i started taking ambien because i was sleeping so little- its basically harry potter magic, i actually fall asleep sometimes now which is the best thing ever ever. i also take zoloft, with slight improvement. but not really. and ativan for isolated episodes, which usually helps. thanks again for posting.

    • Thanks, Callie! Hugs are always welcome.

      I think the goggles thing is a perfect way of putting it. Everything just feels overstimulating and LOUD

      I’m not currently taking any medication but I am getting that process started. After spending a lot of time since I wrote this piece more cripplingly depressed than anxious, and becoming friends with a former co-worker who’s bipolar, I’ve started to re-evaluate my situation. Mainly that I tend to go through prolonged periods of depression and hypomania (a milder form of regular mania), with anxiety as a constant undercurrent that becomes heightened when I’m hypomanic. So I might be bipolar II. Or maybe not, I’m not sure yet, but my therapist and I are figuring it out. In any case, trying medications is the next step.

      I’m glad the Ambien is helping you, sleep makes such a huge difference. One aspect that’s become a lot worse is my ability to sleep. It sucks.

      As for the wine, I’ve upgraded to whiskey, so things are improving all over. 😉

    • Also checking out your band; I dig it a lot!

    • Yesip

      This is for anyone in general. I have general anxiety and i think I also have social anxiety (never discussed it with my therapist) and mild-mod depression. Anyhow, I tried celexa and effexor. I didn’t like the feeling at all. Effexor was the worst making me so sick I couldn’t eat. I lost about 9 lbs in a month. I stopped taking it, and I want to try adderall. I researched it and realize it is for add, adhd and could possibly make my anxiety worse. Has anyone tried it and had a positive result? I tried it before I was prescribed medication for anxiety because a friend suggested it to help me focus on school. That day I took it, it helped me focus and overall I was in a positive mood. Yes, my heart and mind still raced but it was different (I believe I was more level-headed). I didn’t have any bad symptoms.


      • I don’t have any experience with drugs (yet) so I can’t give you any first and advice. However, I have heard a lot of stories about long-term side-effects of Adderall, even in people who benefit from it in certain ways (and they are not pretty…not deadly in moderation but also not pretty). That said, while we are an over-medicated society, those drugs do exist for a reason and some people do genuinely benefit from them. In other words, I would being it up with your therapist and work with him/her to come up with something that helps you. If that’s Adderall, then so be it. I find it helpful to keep a log of my mood/thoughts to track how I’m being affected by different stuff, since it’s not always apparent when you’re in it, you know? But again, I have not started any drugs yet (currently working on that with my therapist) so this is just two cents from someone who has not been there personally. Definitely keep researching and getting opinions/

      • Yesip

        Thanks so much for the advice. I think it is a really good idea to have a log just for my anxiety/experiences. I will talk to my therapist and GP. My therapist is going to be working with me on relaxation/breathing techniques. I have some hope left but over the year it has been getting worse. I am sure all medications will have long term and short term side effects, however like you said it may work for some people. The effects has always been a concern of mine since my therapist suggested use of drugs. Thanks, ill be seeing what happens.

    • Some alternatives to drugs, (I try to avoid them) are valerian root for sleeping, and an amino acid found in tea called L.theanine. The amino acid is now present in OTC sleep aids, but you can purchase it without the other stuff in it and use it during the day as well. Check with your MD first to make sure it doesn’t affect any drugs you are on. Benadryl also helps me sleep sometimes. As for the “hypermind”, i’ve found a book by Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now has been very helpful to me.

  22. Aimee

    This is just me.

    In my job I have to act confident all the time but I’m constantly getting the feeling everyone’s judging me and hating me straight away, my heart will be pounding the whole time I speak to someone and even before they come in I can feel it start, I’ve spoken to my mum about it and she just said ill Learn to ignore it, I can’t ignore it it’s sending me crazy. I feel sick all to time and I just dread seeing anyone, I never answer the phone but yet I try and fit in laughing joking and smiling but really in dying inside. I’ve been to the doctors but I was ton scared to say I have anxiety attacks incase they judged me and said I was lying, so I don’t know. Some days I feel okay then BAM hits me like a brick and I feel like shit, I just constantly put a front on but really I hate myself and I know everyone hates me, people always say I have everything going for me but I know they are lying, I am never aloud to make my own decisions and I don’t really have any friend because I’m a freak apparently, it’s funny because I’ve never been like this but since I fell out with my best friend of 9 years my brain has turned weird.

  23. Hi Aimee,
    I don’t know how it is in your area, but in my experience people are completely understanding and want to help. I used to worry about being judged, too, but I’ve never once had a bad experience since I started telling people. Letting it out has helped so much, too.

    Best of luck!

  24. Joan

    Anxiety is total bullshit. Mine revolves around finding out I have a horrible disease. Anxiety provides plenty of weird bodily sensations that I can easily turn into cancer, giant brain tumor, etc. inside my twisted mind. I will not go to the doctor because Idon’t want to be told I am sick,, or worse yet be told I am a freak. Been on all the meds, done the breathing thing (seriously,, what genius decided that was gonna be a “cure”?), meditation, prayer.

    Everything makes me feel trapped,,,, talking on the phone, planning a get together with friends, going out to dinner. Could someone please explain to me what if feels like to look forward to those things?,,, because I have absolutely no idea. I only dread and fear what everyone else gets excited about.

    And yep,, you are right,,,, it doesn’t stop just ‘cuz you are able to fall asleep (which is a crap shoot most nights anyway). Nightmares, waking up with the drum roll in your chest, mind racing –now THAT’S super relaxing,, and super recharging ! Nothing better than waking up feeling like you’ve just run a marathon, and then realizing you get to white knuckle your way through another day.

    It’s bullshit,,,, which makes means I AM bullshit,,, because anxiety is most of who I have become.

    • Talking on the phone is such a huge anxiety trigger for me that it’s the reason why after insisting that I need medication, I still haven’t tried it. My therapist gave me a number to call weeks ago and it’s the simple task of picking up the phone, dialing and dealing with someone I can’t see that keeps me from doing it and potentially making my life better.

      But you’re wrong that anxiety is most of who you are. You’re just so stressed you can’t hear yourself think. Take some away from all those triggers and let your brain sort through its bullshit. Whatever works for you.

  25. Pingback: Herbs For Anxiety And Panic Attacks | Panic and IVF

  26. I have been sick of my anxiety and was searching for some ‘answer’ as to how to fix on the internet but I found your article instead. You described anxiety brilliantly and made me laugh too!! Thanks!!

  27. Danielle

    Anxiety really is a bitch. My main problem isn’t about worrying about the future so much, but worrying about the past and what people think of me. I’m constantly reliving my most embarrassing moments. I’ve always had social anxiety, but it didn’t get to be so debilitating until my mid 20’s. I started drinking and doing some drugs a little under a decade ago. I enjoyed them the most because they allowed me to talk to everyone and say and do anything without caring what anyone thought. I started making friends easily. People seemed to like me and some even started looking up to me. I enjoyed being that cool girl everyone wanted to be friends with. I was totally self-involved. Drugs definitely heightened my sensitivity to jealously, and need to compete for attention from pretty much anyone. This backfired, though. Now, I’m 26 and sober. I stopped all this when I was 25, and have been a nervous wreck since. I can’t stop thinking about all the embarrassing stuff I did when I was drunk or high (but it’s not limited to this). It’s kind of weird, though. There are things I did that should be embarrassing to me, but aren’t, and there are things that shouldn’t be embarrassing that are. My anxiety level to each thought seems completely random and can change in short time or over a long period.
    Something kind of just snapped in my brain about a year ago. I’ve done a lot growing. I started seeing the world differently, started thinking differently. I’m no longer as jealous, self-involved. I think for myself and question everything. I feel more enlightened, in a sense. However, I’m still battling with anxiety. Not so much depression anymore, but the anxiety is still there. I’m able to control it a little better, but in way am I’m cured.
    I also feel like people think I’m faking this to make excuses for not being responsible. I hardly ever answer the phone and it’s really hard for me to call people I don’t know. I’ve always been like this. I’m not even completely comfortable talking to my parents on the phone. Doing things like going to the bank or pay a bill is very hard for me, and always has been. When I moved out of state, I never renewed my license because I was too scared to go to the DMV. My ID expired, but I kept using it because I was still too scared. Then when my husband went with me to get it renewed, I found out I waited too long and had to settle for an identification card. I now have to take both the written and driving exam over. I’m so scared of this. I’ve been riding my bike everywhere, because I’m also too scared to drive. It’s hard for me to keep a job. I’ve had almost five jobs in three years. All of them, I either walked out on the clock or just stopped showing up. I hate myself for this. The people never see it coming, as I’m actually a pretty good employee and feel really bad that I let them down. My mother-in-law is a very materialistic person who tends to value people based on their income. She’s constantly asking me about jobs and when am I going to go back to school and all that. She knows I have anxiety, but either she doesn’t believe me or doesn’t understand it. She talks negatively about so many people behind their back, and I know she has about me too. She causes me so stress, because I want her to like me and I can’t help but care that I’m always going to be that daughter-in-law to her that will never be good enough for her son. I know her opinion shouldn’t matter to me. I realize she’s one of these people who always stick to what the majority believes, and never really thinks for herself. She knows little about what she’s usually talking about. My constant stress, anxiety, and depression got so bad, I started depersonalizing. It’s funny. I feel like if I had the money for help, it could greatly improve my life. Though, in order to have money I need to work. The only jobs I qualify for now are costumer service jobs. They are the worst kind for someone with a social anxiety problem. I need the help before I get a job and start going to school, but I need a job to get the help. Ahhhh!

    • I have the exact same problem with phone calls and daily errand stuff! I do my grocery shopping late at night because when it’s crowded I just freak out. I get this overwhelming feeling that I just MUST get home IMMEDIATELY or I’m going to die.

      As far as finding help, there is such a thing as low fee therapy. Usually you’re working with students or graduates working towards their license. The place I go in Austin charges on a sliding scale depending on your income — I pay $10 per session. It’s been very helpful. I found it just by Googling “low fee therapy” in my city. Best of luck!

  28. Danielle

    What I meant was, even though I get really bad anxiety during social situations, the future events aren’t usually the thoughts that plague my mind the most. It’s the past. It’s like I’m torturing myself internally with all my most embarrassing and awkward moments over and over again. My husband and a friend of mine can sometimes realize when I’m doing it because when it’s really bad, I’ll all the sudden look like I have a headache or something. I can’t help but to squint my eyes and sometimes kind of moan and put my hands to my head. It’s just a reaction. It’s like I’m made up of two people. The “real” me, and the other person who enjoys torturing me. Sometimes, I’ll feel like I’ve “conquered” these memories and thoughts, but then they just come back in full force the next day or some other time. Exercising, deep breathing, a healthy diet and counting do make a difference in the severity of the symptoms and have helped the most. But it’s still a struggle. It’s not nearly as difficult of a struggle as when you’re not incorporating these practices into your daily routine, but still difficult.

    • I drank for the exact same reasons and have the exact same retroactive anxiety about it now. Actually even when I do drink now, even if I just have a couple, I still wake up feeling filled with anxiety and regret–not because of anything specific that I did or said, but just because I allowed my own control over my brain to loosen, even just a bit. So now I’m turning into a control freak. Not sure which is worse.

  29. Ken

    Thank you for your article, it put a smile on my face today. I believe, no I know, I have anxiety issues I am in my forties now and looking back I can say, I have had them my entire life. I am always on high alert when out in public, and it seems as if it’s getting worse. I avoid crowds, when my wife and I do go out to eat I always arrange for it to be early so we can get in and out before the crowd arrives. We went and saw a movie last week, I made sure we got there early and sit in the back so I could make sure I got a seat and no one sat behind me. It was also an early movie so hardly anyone was in there. Every time I’m out in public it’s like I’m scanning the scene taking notice of everyone (who may be a threat) and making sure there is an exit close by. I have OCD, I constantly check things before bed, it’s an every night ritual. So, if I want to go to bed early I need to get the “checking” done about 30 minutes early. Lol I have difficulty sleeping a good night is when I sleep over 3 hours without waking. I’m always tired though, even if I went to bed early it doesn’t mean I slept good.

    I was in the military so I used to blame it all on that, but I can say I had the beginnings of it before I enlisted. It did get worse after I got out though. I went to college, got married, had kids have experienced the ups and downs of life. I had a great job, but the company closed it’s doors, had my own business, but it sank, went thru a bankruptcy, foreclosure etc; I think after my business sank and we lost our house, my anxiety got worse. I have cut people out of my life, of course, I constantly feel as if they are out there talking about me. I know these are crazy makers and a little on the paranoid side, but that’s me.

    I am experiencing mild depression now and I just find myself alone more and more. I don’t want to be around anyone, I feel they are all judging me that I’m a failure. I’m a good person and when people need me I’m always available and if not, I find time, but when we lost our house and needed to move I ended up doing it alone, no one was around. It’s not just that….there have been other things that have led up to it. I generally don’t discuss my problems but it has gotten to the point where I needed some outlet. I was just messing around on the computer and stumbled upon this site.

    It seems as if little things set me off now, the dog tracks some mud in the house and I blow up, the change engine oil light came on in my truck and I fly off the handle, someone I thought gave me a dirty look at my son’s ballgame and I’m boiling. I can’t relax. I’m trying to get a grasp on things but just can’t shake this annoying feeling of constant doom. It is bs to have this 100% agreed! I used to drink beer every Saturday night, stopped for awhile, but I may go back! Nice article thanks.

  30. Reblogged this on the Madhat Kat and commented:
    It’s all bullshit, folks. And it’s all bad for ya. (Rest in peace, George.)
    This was a great thing to read right now. Our headspace is maddeningly whacked out at the moment. Favourite bit (’cause not only does it have Tolkien references but ALSO X-Men references:) “High anxiety is such complete bullshit. It’s real and it isn’t at the same time. It’s in your head, but it also takes an actual, physical toll. It’s a construction of the mind, but it feels as tangible as a brick wall, where the bricks are made of mithril and the wall is covered in adamantium spikes and manned by rabid velociraptors armed with rapid-fire grenade launchers.”

  31. Chris W

    Denial isn’t the way to escape the cycle, but rather the opposite, acceptance. Accept that there actually isn’t any danger. It’s is all just in our heads. However, if there is actual danger, then accept the symptoms for what they are; a response to fear – and not an actual danger. Obviously it’s not a quick fix and you will have to keep reminding yourself that there actually isn’t danger but it WILL go away.

  32. Lindsey

    Holy shit! You just explained my life!!! I love you for that. Currently missing a concert with my boyfriend, pizza in the oven and drinkink copious amounts of wine. Damn. It’s like you are in my head. You are the only thing that’s made me feel normal in a while. Bless you.

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  34. lawrence

    This great. Thank you!

  35. I have anxiety and I think my house is haunted. And I always think I’m going to die ( not because I think my house is haunted ) and I’m always scared of doing things. I wanted to know if this is normal.

  36. I also went on vacation last Friday and came back on Monday. That’s when I staring having more anxiety.

  37. this is so funny, i loved it. you know what else is bs? how all of us anxiety sufferers feel the need to tell our life story on every anxiety blog..haha..i used to do that but i don’t anymore, now i just do what you do man

  38. MT

    Chris, can you elaborate on how you’re doing now? Medications? etc….

    • Selene

      Yes — as a lifelong anxiety sufferer, Christian, you have stuck a chord with me as well as the many others who have posted here. I would love to hear what is working for you. Exercise helps me a lot, when I am able to stick to it…. which I’m not right now….grr….

      • I’m with you on the exercise. It helps me a lot too but I’ve been too lazy for it for a long time now. But eating well also helps a ton. I have a pretty bad diet but I start every day with a green smoothie packed with good stuff and it goes a long way.

        I’m not on any medication but I think I should be. My anxiety is rooted in depression; what I believe to be real, chemical, something-in-my-brain-is-broken depression. Anxiety often seems to trigger it first though. Recently I became fixed on the idea that I was going lose my job and the anxiety over that sent me spiraling for a few weeks: lethargy, bitterness, insomnia, I was cold all the time….

        Mostly what’s been working for me is just working a lot, throwing myself into whatever it is that I’m doing. If I’m busy all the time then my anxiety can’t catch me. On the social side I’ve just been saying yes to things. I have a cousin who has a band and gets me into a lot of metal shows. I kind of hate metal, but I go anyway because the anxiety I feel when I go is actually less than if I just sit at home in isolation and dwell on my feelings. Isolation is the worst thing for me.

        Oh and I’ve been in talk therapy for a year now.

        Basically it just takes work. I think of everything as work. Eating better, exercise, going out, chores, errands, writing, going to therapy every week — these are all things I usually don’t WANT to do, but making myself do them makes me feel better. Like medicine, you know? Or eating your vegetables. If I just do the work, then I’m better for it. You just have to do it. If you can start — and starting is the hardest part — then keeping the momentum going is pretty easy. Like a snowball rolling downhill. Stopping, and then facing starting again, is the worst. I’m often falling down and then struggling to get back on track. I haven’t figured that part out yet. But I should probably still be on medication. As it is now I self-medicate with caffeine throughout the day, everyday and alcohol every night. Not good.

        That looks like the ramblings of an insane person but I hope it helps! And if anybody else has any advice, please share

        And as a side note, constructive criticism is also welcome. There’ve been a few comments lately calling all of this bullshit and I’ve deleted them because they’ve consisted of little more than condescension and name-calling. If anybody has some constructive, thoughtful criticism, then please share that as well. But I’ll keep deleting anything that’s just, well, mean.

  39. tomgordon38

    Thank you so much for this awesome blog! Not only is it hilarious but what you describe is so relatable to me… and so nice to realize I’m not the only one experiencing this thing (though I’m sorry anyone else has to).

    A couple of months ago by best friend took his own life and since then I’ve been dealing with depression and an overwhelming amount of anxiety. I’m seeing a therapist through my work’s EAP program and reading anything I can find on how to cope and overcome.

    Like you’ve said, exercise and diet (especially the lessening of your caffeine intake) really do help. I’ve been riding my bike a lot which has been tremendously helpful. Talking to your friends and family about it makes it seem less internal and overwhelming (as does talking to a therapist if you can find one in your price range).

    I’ve also found that an empowering mantra can help too. Something that gets you angry at the anxiety. If you get angry that anxiety is impairing your life it might just give you the perspective you need to take control of it (or at least get it into a manageable position). My angry mantra is “Inner Fear, Your Worst Enemy!” (a quote from Sepultura’s “Refuse/Resist” off of their classic album Chaos A.D.)

    I get anxious before work and my therapist suggested arriving a little early and listening to some soothing music in my car before I go in. Listening to loud Brazilian metal might not be what she had in mind but it seems to work for me and that’s what we all have to do. Find something that works for YOU. Keep looking, you’ll find it. Don’t give up. You’re not alone!

    Inner Fear, Your Worst Enemy!!!

  40. Jamie

    Sorry to hear bout the shit you have to deal with know exactly how u feel I fucking hate my anxiety for a while I couldn’t even eat cause I was afraid I’d choke on my food and die. I don’t know if u check this out much anymore but I hope ur coping better with it now. The shitty thing is it doesn’t go away you just have to figure out how to cope with the shit and hope the next time u go to the store or something that ur body doesn’t freak the fuck out it sucks and I call it a fucking curse. I drank too just to get away from the shit thank u for this post nice to know I’m not the only one

  41. Xavier

    I have social anxiety too. I hate it so fucking much.

  42. Peggy

    Good job! I think many people with anxiety can relate to it and feel that someone is having the same issues with them. Anyway I’m seeing a psychologist and she told me that repressed anger triggers my panic attacks. Every time I had a panic attack I was indeed mad at someone. Once I realized that, my panic attacks got “better”. I am writing this just in case that someone has the same anger/anxiety issue with me and hasn’t figured it out yet. I hope I helped! 🙂
    (sorry for my English)

    • Jamie

      I found that seeing a therapist was the best thing that helped my anxiety stemed from holding on to every previous issue I had in the past and keeping everything all bottled up inside.

      • Jamie

        Christian I have advice don’t worry I won’t be a dick lol what I have found is that when I drank it made my anxiety so so much worse I drank for four years straight just so I didn’t have to deal with the anxiety not saying ur an alcoholic or anything, alcohol just kicks ur ass kinda badly especially if ur drinking a lot plus caffeine I had to stop drinking it completely cause it made me crazy just some helpful tips for u 🙂

  43. Mandy

    This is just what I needed to hear. I was sitting at my computer reading this yelling “Yes, exactly!” at my monitor. Thank you!

  44. Steven C.

    I DONT have anxiety or depression and I’m glad I don’t. My wife, however, does. She didn’t when we met and it was minimal when we married. Now she is dull as hell and has ZERO libido. Fun for me!!!!! I don’t understand it and can’t bear to be aroun it. She says its because of her anxiety that she doesn’t like sex or that we don’t go out. If she tried somehow to deal with it or get better, I wouldn’t think that she allows herself to have anxiety in order to have an excuse to be lazy as hell. I’m sick of this shit and I am seriously considering leaving her because of it. I don’t care if I am an ass hole. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with it. I hope u or someone replies so I can at least argue with someone who doesn’t resort to crying right off the bat.

    • Yesenia Perez

      First, You said you don’t have anxiety or depression and you don’t understand it. SO for you to say that you are going to leave her because of it is childish…you should be trying to help her get better. Try to understand what it is she is going through. However, from someone who pretty much had anxiety and depression must of my life since I was 14 years old, I find it interesting that you said she started having it after your marriage. This only makes me think that 1 either it is triggered by her marriage to you (which I am assuming however doesn’t make it ok for her to avoid intimacy with her husband) OR 2 it is just a cover up. I do not know her story or what she is going through. I agree though that she needs to make efforts to get better.All I have to say is if you really care for someone you don’t leave them because of something they honestly can’t control but if you can’t handle it then maybe that’s what you should do because you really would be doing her a favor.

    • Jamie

      My husband was irritated with me as well with it. Eventually he told me he couldn’t do it anymore so I made myself get out and do things with him cause I was afraid to loose him. It takes time to make yourself get up and do things cause ur in a constant panic. If you don’t have this stuff it’s hard to understand and can be very frustrating I’m sure. I don’t know cause I have it and been living with the shit for a long time. I don’t know what it’s like to be the one to deal with the person having the problem. Just be persistent don’t push too hard or she will just shut down. If you dont wanna deal and ur fed up then it prob is best for u to just let her go. Is she doing anything to help herself? Has she tried a therapist sometimes talking really helps. I cut out all caffeine. I don’t really drink anymore cause that makes it ten times worse. Anxiety meds can help to as well just some helpful hints. I don’t think ur an asshole dealing with the shit is hard u also have to understand living it sucks a shit ton as well be happy u don’t feel it I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Not trying to be a bitch just giving u my input hope everything goes well for u

  45. Jaden

    I was recently diagnosed with GAD and major depression. It felt like I was constantly suicidal but so horrified about what people would think of me that I couldn’t do it. I would break down nearly every night in gut wrenching paranoia, hyperventilating and nearly becoming sick with worry. Everything from “you don’t deserve help” to “they will judge me so much” ran through my mind each day and never ended. I stopped talking to people and would go days where I hardly spoke at all. I would get about 2-3 hours of sleep each night for months on end. By the middle of the school year people had started to notice my behavior and that just made me more anxious and paranoid.

    I had always felt like this. Hating to draw attention to myself while desperately wanting to please everyone, I was always panicked in one way or another. I didn’t know if if liked praise because it seemed like people were making me seem greater than I truly was at the expense of their own dignity. Eventually I became ridiculously self-conscious which later became self-loathing. I refused to believe anything good anyone said about me, and feared anything that could put anyone in jeopardy. That later became fear of people knowing how low my self esteem was and what I thought of myself, then who saw me do something, and finally whether or not I held eye contact for too long with the stranger I met only 10 seconds ago. Once my math teacher asked me what 4×4 was and I was so scared of being judged or wrong that I pretended to zone out for a few moments while my heart pounded erratically and counted on my fingers, just to be sure. It’s literally horrible. No matter what I did, something was always wrong. All I wanted was for the thoughts to stop but nothing would make them stop. Everything I did was a mistake. I apologized profusely for speaking over someone or forgetting to hold the door open. I literally thought I was going insane. Now going into senior year, a synonym to anxiety, I don’t know what I’ll do.

    I read this article and could help but laugh at how relatable everything was, and how much sense it actually made. I guess it kind of makes me think that I may not be completely crazy. This thing completely sucks, and I hope that you are doing better now. Your explanations were awesome, especially with the dialogue between you and the brain.

    Best of luck.

    • Jamie

      That sounds terrible 😦 try to stay positive I know it’s easier said then done. Have you tried anything to help yourself. That fear of being judged really does suck I hope your doing ok. Did you try talking to someone? Like a therapist or something I found a couple of things to help. My body always feels like I’m dying I have a constant fear of being killed or dying. I also fear what people think of me as well when I get in huge crowds feels like gonna have a heart attack. Well I hope that everything goes well for you

  46. vero

    O I fucking loved reading this. I feel you…why the hell am I over thinking if I should post this? Anxiety you’re an ass.

  47. Oh man, while I know it can get better and relapse and get better again, it fucking suuuuucks. I’m in a relapse right now, and the way you described the cycle was so hilariously spot-on. I was googling anxiety symptoms because even though I know it causes pretty much every symptom I have, I still want to make sure that I’m okay because anxiety! And the symptoms freak me out because anxiety, which makes anxiety that creates symptoms equaling anxiety. Fuck anxiety.
    Anyway, great article explaining your experience and thank you for the humor, I really needed it 😀

  48. Wow, not that it’s a good thing but the last 10 or 12 paragraphs all made sense, especially the drinking part, and I’m only 19 I feel like life’s a drag… Because I’m a drag, I want a job but I’m terrified of what the interviewer might think, I want to hang out with my friends but its been so long I’m worried they may judge how I’ve changed physically and socially… It’s just one big vicious cycle

  49. Mel

    Hi 🙂

    I had such horrible anxiety lastnight I woke up feeling like I couldn’t breathe and my chest was hurting and I felt dizzy I came across your blog and it calmed me down instantly !
    I was smiling and giggling as I can relate to EVERYTHING you have said here

    Thank you for that 🙂
    Hope your anxiety has gotten better xxx

  50. Mel

    Hi 🙂

    I had such horrible anxiety lastnight I woke up feeling like I couldn’t breathe and my chest was hurting and I felt dizzy I came across your blog and it calmed me down instantly !
    I was smiling and giggling as I can relate to EVERYTHING you have said here

    Thank you for that 🙂
    Hope your anxiety has gotten better xxx

    P.S EF you anxiety !!?

  51. Dan

    This is a pretty good way to describe the experience. I spent the first 15 years after the onset of my anxiety trying to fight my way through it, and the best way I can describe it is enduring the flames of hell on a daily basis while trying to maintain the appearance of normalcy.

    Five years ago, I finally discovered the power of avoidance. Now, I have a very rigid schedule for my day that prevents my mind from wandering into unplanned territory, and I absolutely refuse to deviate from it without considerable advanced notice. I can break away if I have time to mentally prepare, but spontaneous deviance from the norm upsets me greatly. Sometimes to the point of tears.

    Avoidance has been a very mixed bag. On the one hand, I no longer feel like I am constantly in existential danger, but my life has become extremely dull and lonely. My home is barely maintained, and because I avoid shopping, I often have very little to eat despite having plenty of money. I have pushed away all of my friends, and my family is taking my withdrawal personally. But what else am I to do? Throw myself back into the lake of fire? I simply cannot allow it, and yet… I feel like I have to do *something* to get my life back.

    Thank you for writing about this so vividly.

  52. Mike

    SA doesnt exist your all sick in your head find help:)

    • Jamie

      Hey jerk off until you have it piss off how the hell would u know this site is for people who have it not for people to troll us and tell us we’re crazy so find somewhere else to be a jackass have a nice day 😝

  53. denisss

    Hi all, i found a way to overcome this anxiety thing 🙂
    I did it myself, at least, im overcoming it challenge by challenge.
    You see, going to the image under “self-sustaining cycle”; when you reach the “fight or flight” part, it is time for you to face your fear. Let the fear into you, approach it. You might have to do the same thing multiple times, but you will know you are on the right path when you sense there is something changing.
    You’ll also need some motivation.
    This method can be referred to as “facing your fears”.
    It helps to face other fears, and overcome them, to gather confidence; and confidence is super important!
    Further, if you think positive, see the positive of any situation you are in, and get better at excluding worrying and unnecessary negativities, you become stronger in general.
    This, trust me!, is what differs between people who are vulnerable to (social) anxiety (and anxieties in general), and people who are not.
    Many people seem not to be suffering from it; but truly, they are not immune to it either, which is why many people act like sheep (e.g. peer-preussure; with the excuse that you HAD to follow, although in some cases, people might hurt you if you dont follow, but that’s like, and another discussion for another time) – The point is; if you have an anxiety that is messing with your life; breathe in and out; concentrate; maybe even meditate; and face your fear, step by step. It worked for me.

  54. JonJon

    I like this peice about anxiety. My anxiety started when I tried Meth. Im 21 years old. I tried meth when I was 19-20 got hooked for about a year or so. You can say I went crazy. I lost alot of friends and stop talking to most my family. I also think im gay now lol but I cant accept it. I feel attracted to dudes like everytime I bust a nut I get images of dudes faces and I smack my self to stop thinking that. I mean im attracted to Girls too so i guess Bi is the correct word.

    Out of all year smoking that shit you call meth. One night was the one that really fucked me up. I over did it. I twisted my mind. Now my anxieties are “They wanna kill you, watch your back” and when something happens “its my fault” and my social anxiety is with people thinking “im a fag” i really dont know if I am tho. Sometimes I wake up and be like fuck it but the next day ill say nah pussy is better and i want a family etc…

    When im out in the streets I feel ready for war fearless. But when im at home I feel scared of my people wanting to hurt me and I dont blame them i was a prick when i was on meth. But we all make mistakes. Any ways i think the best thing for me to do is move out and get away from my family. I feel they hold me back in some type of way. they’re fake ive caught them talking shit behind my back and judging me. And I never did that matter of fact my aunt called me out on something that was my business so i straight told her ass “you wanna judge me bitch yous a hoe, judge yourself before you judge others” lol shes been cool ever since.

    Shit i need to talk to a professional, I know. I aint got the money for it. This is the best i got. Any pros out there wanna help me i think my brain has the cure for mental gayness lol. One day im a little gay and fruity the next im tough and straight. Its crazy anyways thanks for this blog man. And remember #FuckAnxiety! Peace to everybody

  55. beau

    this was amazing. i related to every word. all of it. every single thing. fuck man, just knowing that so many details of my experience are had by others feels so much better. sadly others suffering makes me feel less shitty about my own, because hey its fucking life and its not the pretty image most people portray on facebook. i fucking hate fadebook. anyways, thanks man/woman, this shit was perfect.

  56. Mary

    Thanks for the post btw. I don’t have this level of anxiety but I understand the denial aspect. I avoid being aware by always keeping myself distracted, work, school, sex, partying, going out drinking, smoking, networking, book clubs, working out, homework, joining school organizations. Ultimately I’ve learned the fear is in my head and when I’m sitting at home, that’s when the anxiety is full blown. Also I avoid intimate relationships with new people, long term because it’s not something I care to explain when I have an attack they think I’m cheating…luckily my mom, my best friend/ex/working towards a relationship again guy has been beside me for 7 years because he suffers from paranoia, but everyone else…I eliminate because they cause me so much stress over time. Human beings can be demanding. So I understand why it feels better to be alone. But trust me when I say get out there. Even if u do not feel like it. Fake it. Cake it (makeup). Until u make it. When u crash and burn, be alone for a few weeks to recover but take urself back out there. It is not worth it to live in fear.

  57. Mary

    Also I want to add. For a partner find someone who accepts u as u are. Without having to alter yourself to please them. Someone who is willing to listen and reply back to ur fears, don’t word them as fears obviously but life conversations. Someone who’s understanding and not judgemental. And someone who’s willing to give u 100% of themselves. Sometimes it helps when the person is also an introvert or a social introvert like myself. They think on other planes. If they also have a disorder it helps. Because then you will both be helping each other cope in a way. But above all build urself, work on your confidence. As a woman I make sure to take time, two days a week for beauty day. I get my nails, toes, eyebrows and lashes done. I do a facial peel, monthly Brazilian wax, coffee body scrub. I make sure my hair is done, my body is hairless and my skin is clear and my makeup and wardrobe is flawless. Why? Because If I look good, I receive compliments which further boosts my ego. And allows me to get out everyday and fight this war. I majored in public relations. Lmao worst mistake possible for someone who suffers from anxiety. But why? Because I needed to be in a position where I had to put myself out there than do IT or engineering or medicine(my original choice) which would perpetuate my need to just sit at home and be anxious. Was it worth it? Yes, I’m damn good at it. But it’s overwhelming at times. I just like the fact it’s a career that keeps me on my feet. Never bored and never doing the same meaningless task. Just take it a day at time. I stopped looking at life past one week. It’s fucking pointless. U cannot predict the future. One day is all were guareenteed, 24 hours. So live it. And don’t feel bad if u just need to take two weeks off from the world. Or a mini escape. People are so draining. Airplane mode or get a new number. I change mine every couple years for my personal number. For exes/people u consider expendable use freetone. For business get a Google number. 3 numbers one phone. Also get rid of all social media besides tumblr or wordpress. It’s shows a picture perfect reality that doesn’t exist, follow those who inspire u. Not those plastic barbies. Read more. Watch documentaries, go to museums, research interesting topics to keep ur mind focused on everything else but ur problems. Plus it gives u interesting conversation starters. Good luck to all.

  58. Jazzie

    Well let me begin by saying. I completely agree with u. I’ve had anxiety (social) since I was a little girl…I acted like I was okay all the time…but I wasn’t deep down. I was abused by my father bad and bullied in school pretty badly. I would also wake up unable to breath at night. My mom also said I had astmah now looking back I think I had panic attacks. I get them every day about. And still wake up with them.. SA runs in the family….I’ve been ohhhh so blessed to have it. And what makes this entire thing worse is that I am an attractive woman in her 20s who some how (I can’t believe) goes to college….so people always look and want to talk to me. The amount t of fear I have inside of me is not normal
    And the people around me do not really help the issue either. The whole “it’s in ur head thing” doesn’t help one bit. Eehhhhthe entire thing just sucks. But I have gotten better eating at restaurants and opening up….Ive been in long term relationships all my life…and somehow noone of them knew I had an anxiety issue until my last boyfriend…who I opened up to. I mean some days are better then others and I what helps me is when I look good I’m less anxious. But that makes me late for almost everything which isn’t good. Confidence I think plays a huge role in this.

  59. Shannon

    Thanks for sharing. Just diagnosed. This is almost exactly me, geekiness and all. Drinking ramps up anxiety. Your heart gets slow, then when your not drinking, overreacts and causes (you guessed it) anxiety. I know this is from 2011, but, perhaps, it will help someone not go too far down that road.

  60. Truth

    Bullshit really when you think about it.

  61. Jamee

    Omg you described my anxiety better then I ever could have. It’s unfortunate that I’m not alone in this, no one should have to feel the way we do, its so debilitating and life ruining…smh. But thanks for letting me know I’m not alone even though I feel it.

  62. Tammy Sutton

    Hey there just wanted to tell you your article is interesting I appreciate your honesty. I have a panic attack disorder but I instead of pacing around my body actually colapes. I rarely make it through a work day without popping a lorazepam. Which is so far the only thing that stops this terrible effect my own brain makes me do. It’s also quite embarrassing to just suddenly not be able to function . Which doesn’t help with all the other social down falls that come with some one that has anxiety. Drinking helps me socially but it’s still hard to make friends and keep them. Im probably just looking for somebody to relate too. Take care

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