What It’s Like Living With Anxiety
For the past few years, I’ve had problems getting to sleep due to an overwhelming sense of anxiety building up inside my head.
I’m worried about what others think of me, and that people will judge me for the insecurities I see in myself. Throughout every single moment of the day, I’m overthinking every situation, playing out events in my head, and imagining the worst-case scenario.
I feel like I’m continually at war with my mind, battling to stay sane throughout the day. Despite my best efforts to address my anxiety, in the hope that it eventually goes away, it always comes back much stronger than before.
I struggle with conversation during a date, going out with friends, and even talking to people on social media because I’m afraid of being called out for my imperfections.
And so with each passing moment, I’m nervous that the overwhelming sense of continual anxiety is reducing my sense of self-worth and destroying my mind to the point of no return.
There are days when I feel like I’ve won the mental battle inside my head. But as soon as I begin settling into a healthy life, the anxiety takes control of my mind and pulls me deeper into an inescapable abyss.
I want to get out. But I can’t. Even when I bring up my anxiety with friends or family, they immediately dismiss my concerns because “there’s nothing physically wrong with me.”
It’s an invisible illness preventing me from living the life I know I’m capable of.
The author, Ryan Holiday, said to “focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.” Although living in the present is extremely difficult with anxiety, I’ve found that adopting his strategy of focusing on the moment certainly helps to ease the pain.
The problem is, overthinking every eventuality within the future is merely a common occurrence within my mind. No matter how hard I try to focus on the present, my thoughts can’t help but think about what lies ahead.
I want to stop concentrating on the monsters that are keeping me from living a happier life and preventing me from focusing on the present moment. But it’s difficult.
The philosopher, Seneca, once wrote about the torment of living with anxiety. He writes: “There are more things… likely to frighten us than crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”
Similarly, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius said that: “very little is needed to live a happy life; it is all within your way of thinking.”
Whenever I get a few moments of silence, my mind races at thousands of miles an hour, telling me all the possible events that could ruin my life in the coming weeks.
Although I’m aware that most things in my head will never come to fruition, the thought of everything that could go wrong never fails to torment my mind.
What if I wake up late for a business meeting?
What if people laugh at me for my appearance?
What if someone I fall in love with ends up cheating on me?
What if the plane has an emergency landing?
It’s difficult for me to control my anxiety. But I’m making continual progress each day to understand, and eventually overcome it. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus once said: “it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
I recognize that change isn’t going to happen overnight. But if I’m able to share my experiences with the world, I hope that something good will come from all of this and that someone out there will feel like they’re not alone in their battle against whatever they’re currently facing.
Living with anxiety is not easy; I’ve discovered that it’s an invisible mental illness that keeps you living in an eternal state of fear. And so, my days are currently an internal fight against my mind to take back control of my life.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Ryan Holiday, who beautifully speaks about overcoming inner battles to create a better future.
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to learn how to control my thoughts, strengthen my mind, and create a better future.
That’s all that matters.