Trapped by Anxiety

Knowing what goes on the brain of someone who struggles with anxiety can be a tough concept to understand, because for those who do not deal with the struggle see it as something from another world. How can you wrap your mind around a concept that can be so foreign to you? How can you understand how difficult it can be when many people seem to function perfectly fine? The past two days, my brain has been overrun by my anxiety. This post will give you a look inside my brain when this happening. This is NOT a typical day in my brain (that post will come later), but it IS one of my more difficult days. The days where I feel like my anxiety owns me. The days when I feel its hands around my throat and its grip on my brains. The days I literally feel it’s heaviness weighing on me like it’s something physical. But I can’t touch it, and I feel powerless to stop it. So, I learn to live with it. I learn to work around it. I learn to embrace it and wrap it around me like a blanket. The heaviest blanket in the world. This is what has been going through my head the last two days. This is what goes through my head on my bad days.

I’ve been awake for ten seconds, and already it’s all I can think about. Do I need to go to class? Can’t I just stay in bed? I have so much to do, I guess I’ll have to get up. Well maybe I can take a sick day or something. No, I definitely need to get up, otherwise I’m going to start failing all my classes. Oh gosh, I can’t afford to fail. I’m getting up. I feel like I’m going to throw up. My stomach is in knots. Maybe my shower will make me feel better. The water isn’t hot enough. I need to get it hotter. The knob doesn’t go any further, but I still feel cold. Stop thinking about it, stop thinking about it, stop thinking about it. Focus on washing your hair, and stop thinking about it. You’re obsessing, you know you are. I need to stop. I’m going to be late if I don’t hurry up and get out. Okay, what do I need to do next? Right, makeup. How badly do I need it? My face looks awful but I don’t know if I have the energy to put any on today. But maybe if I look pretty, it won’t be so bad. Ugh, my face looks awful. I definitely need the makeup. I wonder how bad this is going to be. How bad should I prepare for? Maybe it’ll be something good, but I know it can’t be. I might as well prepare for the worst because that’s what’s coming. Stop thinking about it. I have time; we aren’t talking until tonight. Just stop thinking about it. What was I doing again? Oh yeah, mascara. I wonder if I could get away without drying my hair. But then people would know something is up. They can’t know. I might as well plug in my straightener while I’m at it. I wonder how he’s going to tell me. How do you tell someone you don’t want to be friends anymore? Oh god, stop thinking about it before I throw up. I just need to get dressed, and then I’m done getting ready. And then I can rest. I’m already exhausted, maybe I should just stay home. Maybe if I can play sick, I can avoid it for just one more day. But then I’ll obsess about it all day tomorrow, so I might as well get it over with. Stop thinking about it. Go to class. Class will distract me. Class will take my mind off it.

Why is my heart pounding like that? All I’m doing is sitting, but it’s still racing. Okay breathe, just breathe. Oh my gosh, I can’t breathe. I can’t get enough air in. My throat is closing, I can feel it. I’m going to pass out if I don’t breathe. Okay deep, deep breathes. In out in out in out. I feel light headed. I wonder if my classmates can hear my heart racing. My hands are shaking. I can’t focus. What are we talking about again? We aren’t going to be friends after this, I just know it. NO! Stop thinking about it! Leg stop shaking, leg stop shaking, LEG STOP SHAKING. If I cross my legs, it can’t shake. But now my foot is bobbing. What if I cry in front of him? Will that change anything? No, he’s seen me cry before. Stop thinking about it. Focus on the class. Focus on the class.

Is it night class already? Oh god, after this is when it’s going to happen. What am I going to do? What is he going to say? I can’t do this. I can’t do it. I feel dizzy. Oh god, don’t cry. Not in front of the class. I shouldn’t have eaten that food, because now I’m going to throw it up. Stop shaking, clam down, breathe. Remember how to breathe. Don’t let them see you losing control. Don’t think about it. Focus on the professor. Oh no, class is almost over. I need more time. Dinner! I’ll go get dinner. Maybe eating was a bad idea. I’m going to end up throwing up. I haven’t heard anything. Maybe I’m off the hook. But what if he waits til tomorrow? I can’t have another day like this, I need to get it over with. I’ll just text him. Oh god I can’t. I just pressed send. I need some air. I feel like I’m suffocating. There goes my dinner. At least I was outside. He texted back, oh god here we go.

Stop crying. Don’t cry. Stop crying. I can’t. Don’t let them hear. No one can know. How did this happen? I knew this wasn’t good. Why did I do this? Why didn’t I just let it go? Now we aren’t friends. I need someone. I need someone who will understand. He’s working. I’m on my own. Oh god just stop, please just stop. You don’t understand. I’m sorry. Please just go. I’m sorry. Please. I can’t stop crying. I can’t breathe. I’m shaking. When did it get so cold in here? Nothing can make this better. I’m sorry. You need to understand how sorry I am. Stop trying. Stop trying. Just let me go. It’s better for both of us. I’m not strong enough to push you away, so you need to walk yourself. I can’t breathe. I can’t get any air. Stop crying. Stop crying. Just go to bed. Just go to sleep.

I’ve been awake for ten minutes, and I’ve replayed the conversation in my head fifteen times. What could have I said differently? Should I apologize again? No just let it be. I can’t fix this; there was never a chance of fixing this. Can I please skip class today? No I have to work. Work will be good. Just stop thinking about it. Go shower. The water isn’t hot enough; I’m still shivering. Stop crying. It’s a new day. You’ll survive. Just stop crying. Get out or you’ll be late. Just get ready. Should I make coffee? Of course I should, I always drink coffee. I can’t remember the last day I went without it. No I can’t, my stomach hurts too much. Coffee would just make me sick. Maybe I’ll have some later. Just get ready. Ready for what? What day is it? What class do I have? Oh, it’s Tuesday. Maybe I should talk to my roommate about it. No, I don’t want to bother her. I need to stop burdening people with my problems. Maybe I should eat something. No, that was a bad idea. Here we go again; throw it up. Get it out. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. Don’t talk about it. Don’t think about it. Stop shaking. Leg stop shaking. I need to focus. Don’t cry. Stop crying. Someone will see if you don’t stop crying. Find a distraction.

Work. Work is good. Work distracts it. Work keeps me from thinking about it. Concentrate on work. Don’t make a mistake. If you make a mistake, they’ll fire you. Don’t mess up. Make sure it’s perfect. Don’t ask a question. Figure it out. Work is done. What am I going to do? Do I dare eat? Maybe just a salad. I already feel sick. I need food. Hold it down. Keep it down. Stop thinking about it. JUST STOP THINKING ABOUT IT! Make it stop. Make it go away. I’m sorry, please don’t leave me. No, I’m fine. He’s not coming back. He doesn’t need me messing with his life. I’ll be okay. I can get through this. Just. Stop. Thinking. About. It.

Now this was vague on purpose, and obviously, I fast forwarded through a few points, but I think you got the gist. Trying to function in your daily life with anxiety invading the darkest corners of your brain can be nearly impossible. So how do we do it? It becomes part of the norm. You learn to function despite the fog, because you have to. This is just an example of what it’s like when something is on your brain. You can’t help but obsess over it, play out every possible scenario, and replay it over and over wondering how you could’ve changed it. You are afraid to eat, because when you do all you want is to throw it back up. Your head pounds as much as your heart. Your limbs shake and you have to remind yourself how to breathe. It’s like being trapped inside your own brain, and feeling powerless to free yourself. So for right now, I’m just waiting for it to pass.

Anxiety comes up in so many different forms, and it can be ugly. You may not even notice it if you don’t know where to look. The key is to be patient and empathetic when they are finally able to open up about it. Don’t tell them how to fix it. Don’t tell them to stop worrying about it. Don’t make them feel like their worries are invalid. Don’t tell them to stop worrying about it. Don’t be the Devil’s advocate. DON’T TELL THEM TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT. Just be there for them. Remind them that they aren’t a burden. They are fighting a war inside their own head, and all their left-over brain power is going toward acting normal. Anxiety isn’t pretty, so don’t romanticize it. It’s ugly, it’s mean, and sometimes it can even be terrifying. Now you have some insight as to what living with anxiety feels like.

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To My Rugby Rookies

This year has without a doubt been the season of rookies for rugby. As vets, we are vastly outnumbered by the intense number of new players we have welcomed throughout the year. For many teams, this may be viewed as a downside or a liability, however when it comes to our team, they have been one of our biggest attributes. This group of girls has been one of the best things to ever happen to this team, so this post is for my rugby rookies.

I want to start by saying that you girls are unbelievable. You have put your hearts into every practice and every game. Your passion for the sport struck you all so suddenly and has continued to grow; a process I have enjoyed watching. Not only do you play the game beautifully, but you girls have some of the most beautiful hearts I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. You are all so amazingly kind, supportive, and loyal. You have built us into more of team; you have built us into a family. You support one another in ways I never thought possible from a group of strangers. You show incredible kindness to each and every one of your teammates. You remain loyal to your team, and are people we can all count on.

You have all more than surpassed my expectations. We can show you the basics and explain the rules, but the strength and the motivation needed to play this game is something you must find within yourselves. You have all put yourself into this insanely, beautiful game and have become true rugby players. You have shown no fear on the field, which is something that isn’t always easy. You have taken hits without hesitation and gotten back up each and every time. Watching you play has been such a rewarding opportunity for anyone who has taken the time to see you play. But you have also surpassed my expectations in friendship. You girls have become my rock; you guys keep me going through all the good and bad. You have shown me that there are still beautiful people in this world. I know it’s normal for rookies to look up to vets, but I also look up to all of you. You are all incredible people.

I am so unbelievably proud of all of you. You have brought so much love and happiness to this team. You bring smiles and encouragements, but most of all you brighten my day every time I’m with you. Our team is beyond lucky to have you as a part of us. You all continue to amaze me each practice and even more so in every game. I am so fortunate that I get to the field with you girls, and I cannot wait to see what else you will do in the games to come. I’m here for all of you, and I love you all more than you know. Thank you for being a part of this team, and more importantly for being a part of my life. It wouldn’t be the same without you.

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Things to Stop Saying to Single People

As someone who has been a single for an unbelievably long time, there are some things I get so unbelievably tired of hearing, especially when they are coming from people in relationships. As I’m sure you all mean the best, all you are offering is pointless, rehearsed phrases that are somehow supposed to make us feel better about our current situation. The truth is no matter how single you were before, being in a relationship discredits pretty much anything you say to us when we are upset about being alone. While there are times you can be helpful and supportive, here are some things to just STOP saying to single people.

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“There is someone out there for you.” That’s rich coming from someone who already has a person. While I understand this is a go to phrase when a friend is feeling bummed about living the solo life, it’s such a cliché that we will probably just roll our eyes and forget you even said it. Plus, how could you possibly know that? There may very well be no one out there for us. As a single girl, I get so tired of hearing this automatic response, it may as well be said in your best robot voice.

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How are you still single?” If I knew that, maybe I wouldn’t still be single. This question is the worst, especially since it implies there is something wrong with me because I’m single. The best response to this? The only thing I can think of is that I’m just too awesome for anyone to handle. Just because I haven’t found someone yet, does NOT automatically mean there is something wrong with me, so don’t insinuate it.

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“You’re too picky.” If you think this is a helpful thing to say to your single friend, then you had better be prepared to defend you position and explain which of their standards they should lower. When it comes to finding a romantic partner, we have the right to be picky. I would much rather have my standards sky high than take anyone who smiles at me. In fact, my standards are right where I want them to be.

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“—— is single; you should totally get together!” Just because someone is single, DOES NOT mean I automatically want to date them. Do we need to revisit the high standards? If you actually want to set your single friend up with someone, maybe tell them a little bit more about the person other than the fact that they are single. But even before you do that, ask yourself why you really want them together to make sure your intentions have your friend’s best interest in mind. If it’s only because you want them to be in a relationship, drop it and let it go.

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“Guys don’t like girls who are…” Shut up. Shut up. SHUT UP!!! The same goes vice a versa. You are telling me that I need to change who I am to be wanted, which is probably one of the rudest things you could even say to a friend. If you think your friend needs to change to gain a relationship, then maybe you need to reevaluate your friendship because you’re doing a shitty job at it.

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“It will come when you least expect it.” You know what else comes when you least expect it? A bus, a meteor, a tornado… If you can’t find the perfect wedding dress or your favorite pair of shoes, do you stop looking and just hope it’ll turn up? NO! You look your ass off until you find it, so why should love be any different? I was raised to chase my dreams, not sit on my ass and wait for them to find me. So maybe just let me continue my scavenger hunt instead of telling me to give up.

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“You need to put yourself out there.” This is especially rich coming from the same person who told you love will come when you stop looking. As if we weren’t already aware of this? Do you think I honestly believe I’m going to find the person of my dreams at home wearing sweatpants, binge watching Criminal Minds, elbow deep in a bag of Doritos? Of course not! I’m putting myself out there the best way I know how, which should eventually be good enough. Unless you are going to follow this phrase up with some concrete advice on how to do this, keep it to yourself.

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“I miss being single.” Please shut up; I don’t want to hurt you. If you miss it that bad, break up with your significant other. If not, then don’t say it. You’re most likely just going to piss us off, or at least roll our eyes. Seriously shut up, or I may punch you in the throat.

18081dde7f2392ad21545ba1d748ce56Next time your friend is bummed about living the solo life, maybe try to give them some helpful, non-cliché advice that they can actually benefit from. If you don’t have anything, maybe just hug them, tell them you’re sorry, and reassure them that you know it sucks. At least then you can level with them. We don’t need to be told what we are doing wrong, we don’t need to be told what we need to change, and we sure as hell don’t need to be told we just haven’t met “the one.” But most of all, don’t gloat about your happy relationship or the “journey” you took to find your match. Just let us be miserable and wallow in our self-pity rather than making us feel crappier than we already do.

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To the single people out there; you do not need to change who you are for anyone but yourself. Don’t lower your standards just because someone tells you to, because chances are that will just lead you to an unhappy relationship. Do what YOU feel is right for YOU and what makes YOU happy, and if you find someone along the way that makes your heart pound and your stomach flutter, that’s what I’d call a bonus.

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If you liked this post, check out my post on the benefits of being single found in the link below!

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2016/11/16/what-it-means-to-be-single/

The Memories

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Having an eidetic memory may seem like a blessing, especially to those who struggle to remember things. In some ways, I am very fortunate. I memorized the presidents in order one day, just because I felt like it. I memorized the Greek alphabet because I was bored. I remember my locker combination from fifth grade and my schedule from every semester of high school. I remember what rooms all my college my classes were in, and what time they were at. I can remember where I sat in all my classes from high school and college. I remember what I wore for every first day of class, as well as several other mundane days. But every silver lining is surrounded by a cloud. Having an eidetic memory isn’t always an asset; it can be a curse.

I can remember the day we first met and the morning after. I can remember the night he walked me across campus, because someone had grabbed me and scared me. I remember how he helped me through my first college anxiety attack, and how he was the first person I told when I scored a try for the first time. I can remember the first day he texted me that started it all, and exactly what it said. I can remember every conversation that made my heart flutter and my stomach flip word for word. I remember that the first big fight we had was on a Monday, and I had a job interview. I remember what I was wearing the first night I went to his house, and every night we spent together after that. I remember what we talked about and what we did on all ten nights I went to his house and what I wore the days he said the sweetest things I had ever heard. I remember him asking if I was okay after an injury, while I was riding in the car. I remember every time he made my cry, but also every time he made me feel safe. I remember all the times he told me I was pretty, but also the time he told me I didn’t need makeup to look good. I remember him telling me I was prettier when I smiled, and when he offered to pick me up when I was afraid. I remember everything that happened with us in that short period of time. I remember that at this time last year, I was texting him every single day, because the first day I went without talking to him was April 4th.

Getting over someone is so much harder when you remember every time he made you laugh, made you cry, made you smile, and made you feel like something might be there. When you remember texts word for word, from the first to the last. It can make you ache for them times that remain clear as day inside your head. Ache to be back in the arms that you can still feel around you. Ache to listen his heartbeat the way you used to. Ache to have someone to talk to again. Because when something happens, good or bad, he’s still the first person you want to tell, but then you remember you can’t and you feel like your heart is breaking all over again. You ache because no matter how much you wish you could forget all of it, you know you never will. But the worst part? It isn’t him you miss at all. It’s the feeling of being wanted that you miss. It’s the thought that someone was choosing you that you can’t move on from. It’s the person you were with him, because that was a happiness like no other. But most of all, it’s not you that I miss so desperately; it’s the you I spend so much time building in my head.  

 

Undeniable Benefits of a Third Wheel

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“An extra person joining a couple in a social context, especially one that interferes or gets in the way.” That’s the technical definition of a third wheel, but honestly who reads the dictionary? People are constantly adding a negative connotation to the phrase “third wheel,” but if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that there are some indisputable benefits to not only being a third wheel, but also to having a third wheel. As someone who serves as an official third wheel for five couples, it is my belief that every couple needs a third wheel to be complete. Let’s start with the benefits of having a third wheel, as a couple.

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So why have a third wheel? Well, first of all, you will have an amazing friend who is willing to be there for you at all times. You have a third friend for any activities you might want to do, a third friend to make an abundance of happy memories with, another partner in crime, and a member for your future wedding party. The third wheel will offer unconditional moral support, award worthy relationship advice, unlimited fun, and a lifelong friend. We can help you do anything from picking out gifts to investigations of significant others all the way to helping you hide a body (just don’t tell us what happened, so we can testify). We will remain neutral in arguments, unless there is a clear wrong side. We help you plan and carry out perfect dates, have a blast at parties, and most importantly, show our love and support in any situation. Your third wheel is someone who will always be there for you; someone you can trust with your deepest secrets. They will always put you first and make sure your relationship is running smoothly. Now what many people don’t know is that being a third wheel isn’t all fun and games; it can be a lot a work and is a HUGE responsibility. This is especially true when your third wheel has more than one couple. So, try not to forget to show them how much they mean to you, because third wheels can forget this easily. Show your third wheel that you care about them and love having them be a part of your duo. Now as many benefits as there are to having a third wheel, there are far more to being one. 

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When you are a third wheel, you get to enjoy all the things that come with a relationship without actually being in one, which means no responsibilities. Plus, having two friends is much better than just one. Your couples will teach you the do’s and don’ts in a relationship, which will make you much better prepared should you ever get your own. You get to help plan all the surprises in a relationship, but won’t be held responsible if they don’t turn out. You get to figure out the type of person you want for a relationship, but you also get to see all the advantages of living a single life. You don’t have to worry about your wingmen stealing your crush, because they have their own significant other already. You have two people to always look out for you, and two that are on the hunt for you. You have easy access to points of view from both genders and you learn how to manage any awkward situation. You also get really really good at being a relationship counselor. You get the best of both the couple world and the single world without having to choose between the two. But the best benefit of all? You get to see what love looks like. You get to see the kind of relationship you want. You have a model couple to take after. Your faith in true love is restored. When two of your friends are in love, you can either see it as awkward and weird, or you can choose to see it as fun and exciting.

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Being a third wheel is not an easy job, which is why it takes a special type of person to be one. Remember to appreciate your third wheel, because I guarantee they appreciate you. If you are a third wheel, or even an eleventh wheel like me, remember that you are not just a third wheel; you are a beautiful unicycle and they are your training wheels. Stop making a third wheel such a negative thing, because it can be a wonderful, beautiful experience that you will lose when you stop being single. Enjoy being one and enjoying having one. You won’t find anyone else remotely close to them; you especially won’t find someone who loves you as much as your third wheel does, except each other, of course. To my couples; it is an honor to serve as your third wheel. You have taught me how fun being single can be, but also what a good relationship looks like. You have shown me what love really looks like; the good, the bad, and the ugly. So, don’t be in a hurry to jump onto a bicycle; enjoy being a tricycle.

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Things I am Tired Of

Have you had something that everyone comments on? Or maybe it’s something that, no matter how many times it happens, people never seem to stop talking about it? Are there things that people just keep doing that drive you crazy? Or it could be something about yourself that you hate, so whenever someone brings it up, you feel like your heart is being ripped out? We all have these things that trigger our sadness, our frustration, and even our anger. However, many people are unaware of these things, because they simply don’t see them from your perspective. It could even be that it only bothers you sometimes. Whatever the case, we all have things we are so unbelievably tired of. These just happen to be mine. This is a very personal post, so while I always encourage respect and kindness, I especially encourage it on this post. So here is the list of things I am tired of:

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People Commenting on My Shaking Leg: I jiggle my legs a lot, in fact it’s almost constant, however I cannot help this. I’m aware that I do it, so I don’t need anyone to remind me. I know it can be annoying, but it’s not something I can easily control; believe me, I’ve tried. This constant leg shaking is a side effect of my anxiety medication. Before the meds, I was paralyzed by my anxiety, but now that it has been slightly lowered, I get the jitters that are so common in people in anxiety. So if I have to choose between crippling, paralyzing anxiety and a leg that won’t stay still, I will take the shaky leg. If it annoys you that much, maybe I’m not the one with the problem.

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People Commenting on My Gas… Issues: Okay, so this one is a little embarrassing, but I’m soooo tired of this. I have a stomach issue, I know that. I’ve been to doctors; they couldn’t figure it out. If I could control I would, but I can’t. Stop reminding me every time it happens. This is one that is sometimes funny, but it also gets old very fast. If you have a cure, let me know. I will gladly take it.

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People Shushing Me: I come from a family of loud voices; it’s in my blood. I can’t help that my voice naturally projects, but the thing is that I don’t care. I don’t care if people overhear me saying things, so don’t shush me. I do not care what people, especially people I don’t know think of me, so why would I speak quieter for their sake? If I feel the need to be polite or secretive, I will be, but in normal conversation, I honestly do not care who overhears me. So unless you are my mother, stop shushing me.

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People Who Constantly Argue With Me Over Nothing: There are some people who argue with me simply to argue, especially on topics that shouldn’t warrant an argument. There are also the people who think they are being helpful by playing Devil’s Advocate, but you aren’t being helpful at all. In fact, all you are really doing is pissing me off. When I go to someone about an issue, it generally means I want someone to empathize with me; not someone to argue with me and point out why my feelings are invalid. If you would like to argue with me about something that actually matters, I would gladly partake. Otherwise, stop trying to piss me off.

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People Telling Me How I Should Organize My Schedule: When I say I can’t go to something, or I don’t have time for something, that means that I CAN’T go or that I DON’T have time!!! “Just go after.” Oh can I? You’re right, my days aren’t long enough already, I should take your advice. “Can’t you get out of it?” Um, NO! I work three jobs, have six classes (16 credits), volunteer, and play rugby. When I say I can’t do something, I can’t do it! And just because part of your schedule lines up with mine, doesn’t mean I can do the things you do, so don’t offer me up for them. My days are long, busy, and exhausting. NO MEANS NO! It shouldn’t be this difficult. It’s MY schedule, NOT YOURS!

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As much as I would love to continue to rant, I think this is more than enough. Despite the negativity seeping from this post, I am still trying to promote positivity. However, I am not perfect, and neither are you. We all need to vent sometimes; this is just how I do that. The keys listen to me when no one else will. However, once this is out in the world, stop letting it live and grow in your head. Get out what you need, but GET IT OUT! Unless it’s paying rent, stop letting it live in your mind. Keep being your beautiful, perfectly imperfect selves, and try to keep being positive. I know it’s hard, but so is everything else that is worth the effort. Just be yourself, because no one else will!

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