You know how thoughts and feelings come and go. My general anxiety is like that. I have long stretches of ‘normal’ it seems, then a season of anxiety will settle in. For weeks or days at a time, my anxious nerves will buzz quieter or louder.
I’ve had anxiety attacks that are acute and short lived. And I’ve had ones that are debilitating with a long fall-out, which means I work extra hard to recover back to near ‘normal.’
My anxiety flared up recently. Yesterday it was a persistent negative gnawing inside. And as usual, I kept quiet about it. But today, I’m surprised yet relieved; that anxious worm is gone. I am calm. No inner turmoil.
It’s uncanny. The most remarkable times are when the anxiety is present and then disappears during the same day. The anxiety can be carried over from the previous day or start in the middle of the night. Then hours later, it suddenly dissipates without a trace. It may sound weird, but it happens quite a bit.
The relief that follows is such a contrast that it makes me step aside mentally, wondering how long it will last. Often, I look within and think that the anxiety is still lurking somewhere inside me. “Can it really be gone?”
It’s like one moment you’re in a war zone with danger all around. The next moment you’re napping on a tropical island, peaceful as can be. It sounds strange even to me, but I’m describing my anxious reality as best as I can while trying to avoid being overly dramatic.
Usually, I don’t like to talk about my anxiety. It’s a difficult subject. I don’t like feeling as if I’m stuck in a relationship with it. I don’t fully accept that I have a mental illness. But the fact is, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder last year, prescribed anti-depressants for it, and I have a therapist.
I guess today I felt like opening up a bit because I felt so much calm and not fear. Like a lucid moment. Yet it’s still hard to know what to think a lot of times. That’s the reality of it.
I know there are others who struggle with anxiety. I don’t think you have to struggle alone. But I understand it’s hard to open up and be vulnerable because the anxiety attacks make you want to fight or run away in defense. You put up your guard instead of opening up. I tend to do that same thing.