I received a text today, at 5 in the morning asking if I’m up and if I’m okay to talk because she’s going crazy. I read it an hour and a half later and replied with yes, what’s up but there was no call, no reply on her end so I went ahead to tend to my plants. But there was a distressing thought that ran through my head, worrying about what is going on with her, why she isn’t replying and the fact that she is miles away and alone.
This isn’t the first time this has happened.
I’ve read so much about anxiety and how it affects the lives of those who suffer it and those around them. It’s heavy, it’s toxic and draining.
Coming from someone who doesn’t suffer it, the person who has anxiety might just seem like a drama queen, overreacting to petty situations and overthinking things. Something that is very well controllable if you don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
But it’s not. I’m no doctor but I believe it has to do with brain chemistry or something like that and if you feel like you suffer from anxiety, GET HELP. There is no shame in it.
My best friend, I believe, suffers from anxiety and it’s progressing anxiety. And I feel like every time she pours out her never-ending battles with herself to me, I also contract anxiety. Anxiety on the thought that I might one day get news that she hanged herself. And it’s freaking real and possible. (Note: She is not suicidal, but you can never know.)
We used to joke about it, associating it with our zodiac signs, her being a Virgo and me being a Leo, letting the stars justify how we deal with certain situations. It does have some truth in it though, Virgo traits include worry, being overly critical of self and others, all work and no play which totally describes her and Leo traits include optimism, straightforwardness, stubbornness and impatience which is well, me. When you get to see or hear our conversations, you might wonder how in the world do they even stay friends. We’ve been friends since we were 7. I think I’ve developed eye muscles from rolling my eyes too much over the drama and I think she has strained her voice one too many times from nagging the shit out of me.
But anxiety, it’s different, and it’s scary. I always am very cautious with what to say every time she has her episodes. I may not suffer it but I get it. I may not understand how chaotic her brain is compared to mine but I know it must be hard living in constant fear, all sorts of fear.
She worries too much about things, sometimes things that don’t even concern her. She worries too much about how people see her or think about her, she worries too much about work and life balance, feels guilty over simple expenses that somehow make her happy. You name it. She worries about it. “What ifs” is a staple. And I know she’s tired, exhausted from fighting with herself, with her thoughts. I get tired for her and I’m just listening.
I read about General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), how this type of high functioning anxiety is masked by overdoing, overthinking, and over-performing that’s why it’s so hard to identify. People who suffer from this tend to worry too much about things around them that they push their selves to overdrive. Those who have these symptoms would feel like it’s something positive considering that due to their worries, they strive so hard to excel and overachieve and come out as someone really successful but they are constantly plagued with not doing enough, not being enough, always vying for everyone’s approval and no matter how hard they’ve worked up and achieved things, the anxious part of their brains will always continue to criticize them. There is the constant fear of judgement and misunderstanding.
Her episodes have been recurring more often lately, she doesn’t sleep well. And for the nth time, I told her to get help. What she has done as of the moment was maintain a spiritual group and she prays constantly. I believe this has helped regulate her episodes but there is no harm in seeing someone who specializes with mental disorders and just get evaluated.
If you feel like you’re suffering from anxiety, know your symptoms, google it, read about it. Try to see how it impacts your daily life. Frustrating over a simple decision, over-analyzing a conversation or obsessing over an extravagant purchase more often than not, just means that your anxiety is acting up.
See a professional. Therapy and medication might help depending on the severity of your anxiety. Seeing someone who specializes with this would help you recognize your behavior patterns and teach you how to deal with it. Anxiety can’t be ignored or pretended away. Psychological disorders are created in the brain and it’s not something you can always control or fix yourself.
GET HELP. Again, there is no shame in it.