Anxiety and Other Awkwardness

The Monster

It’s bright and sunny outside, and a hurricane of anxiety has hit my brain with some mild chances of hysteria. My head feels like someone’s got a blender up there and is whipping up some brain smoothie. Not fun.

Brain Smoothie

I want to tell you that I’m handling it, that I’ve been calm and composed and haven’t let the anxiety monster drag me down to his dark lair. I want to say that I used ancient Asian meditation techniques to remain zen. But in all honesty, I feel like ripping my hair out and crying my eyes out on my bathroom floor.

The anxiety is pushing me down to that pit I know so well, but I’m hanging on to the edge with my pinky fingers. That’s the truth. What I want is to climb out and run far, far away from it. What seems so much easier to do is to just let go and give in.

HellDown the pit: The nine circles of fear

The bottom of the pit isn’t a place I’d want anyone to be. It’s dark and once you’re there, you can’t feel anything. Smiling is like a distant fantasy, and happiness is just an illusion. All that’s left is a lot of fear. The anxiety rules your head, it becomes your brain.

I don’t like talking about my anxiety. Talking about it makes me anxious. I’m feeling a little queasy just typing it out. I guess it’s because I worry that people wouldn’t understand. It’s difficult to explain anxiety to the un-anxious. They never seem to understand that life, regular daily life, can be so frightening that you’d rather stay at home and cower under your bed.

Anxiety is the fear of the unknown. It’s knowing that nothing in your life is under your control. Anything could happen at any moment. And that thought is TERRIFYING. The anxious person’s mind goes into overdrive trying to recollect past experiences to sort of get some control over the future. The results are never as expected. Instead of control, you’re left with a pile of horrible memories and your own personal anxiety monster following you around everywhere, telling you repeatedly that you’re a bad person. He feeds on every single one of your insecurities and gets bigger every time you doubt yourself. You KNOW you shouldn’t believe him, you KNOW he’s lying, you KNOW that nothing he says is real. But after hearing the same things so many times, you can’t help but think that they’re all true.

The Monster Talks

To anyone, I must seem like I’ve got it all together. I don’t have anything together. ‘Together’ and ‘normal’ are words of fiction to me. There are days I can’t even function like a regular human being, I feel like a robot just operating like I was programmed to. I smile and say good morning, I go to work and try to be as normal as I possibly can. The whole time, the monster is sitting on my head, crushing it with his weight, whispering all the things I’ve ever screwed up in my ear.  Hearing him talk is one heck of a pass time, I must say.

With anxiety, everything people say is somehow directly related to how inadequate you are as a person. Simple things like “You look good today.” translate to “You looked like crap yesterday.” Other times, I freak out over a punctuation mark (Why didn’t he put a smiley face at the end of his text? Does the period mean he hates me?!), or a while trying to make a phone call (What if she’s busy? She won’t want to talk to me right now. She’ll have better things to do than chat with me.)

It’s incidences like that that pile up eventually. They plague my mind, and the monster never gets tired of reminding me about them. My head runs a thousand miles a minute, it races and sprints and I can never catch up to it. I’m out of breath, and the world feels like it’s spinning too fast, I feel the heat enveloping me, the noise is too quiet, and the silence is too loud. I need to get a hold of myself but I can’t. I scream for help in my head but nobody seems to hear. I cry out for someone, anyone, to tell me that everything is going to be okay, but there is no response.

The monster has his chains wrapped around me so tight that breathing becomes impossible. The tears follow because (1) I feel helpless and I don’t know what else to do, (2) I get angry at myself for not being strong enough to stop the monster, (3) I feel useless and weak after hearing all the terrible things the monster has to say about me, (4) I hate myself for listening to him and letting him have such a powerful control over me. And that’s how he wins.

Monster Chains

He wins every time I listen to what he has to say. He wins every time I look in the mirror and wonder if I look fat. He wins every day I feel a little bit insecure. He just keeps winning over and over again, and I’ve had enough.

This time, I’m not letting him win. I’ve been to the bottom of the pit and out. I’ve stared all my fears in the eye and told them to F off once before. I can do it again, and I will. It takes time, but I know I’m going to crawl out eventually. The monster and his dark pit can’t get me again.

Anxiety is a bitch, talking about it is difficult, and living with it is worse. But this is better than therapy. My doodles keep me sane. My writing helps me escape. And you, my friends, are like life support.

For now, I’m holding on. It’s hard and I’m tearing my knuckles out, but I’m doing it. The monster isn’t going to win this time. Someday, everything’s going to be okay. It’s not today, and it probably won’t be tomorrow either. But someday soon, it really will just be okay. And I can’t wait.

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496 thoughts on “The Monster

  1. I live with an anxiety disorder, and I can relate to so much you have said. Many people don’t understand exactly how tormenting it can be. If you ever need to talk, I’m available. Meanwhile wishing you much peace.

  2. You can do it! If I had a sword that was +3 vs. Anxiety, I’d mail it to you right now (after letting my wife use it for a while).
    -one loyal reader in Korea
    (P.S. Can I call you Miss IIII? (4 i’s) ;)

  3. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles, NBG. I wasn’t aware you suffered from anxiety. If there’s anything I can do (you know, from way, way, way, way, way, way, way, over here), let me know.

  4. I totally can relate to whatever you say, because I’ve been there. And it wasn’t just once or twice. It’s hard when no one understands us and worse is that it doesn’t feel right to tell anyone.
    I really must applaud you I guess for taking this step to write about it. I know it’s hard.
    Hang in there. Your fingers are strong I must say, maybe because you are as well (did that make sense?) Everything will be alright :) *hugs*

    • I’m both glad and so sorry that you can relate, Keerthi. Sorry that you know what it’s like. It’s hell and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through it. Glad that there’s more people like us, and that we don’t have to hide anymore. Say it loud, I suffer deal with anxiety everyday, and I’m okay!
      *anxiety hugs*

  5. I’ve struggled many times with paralyzing anxiety. It used to take me hours to go to bed because I had to check every door, window, the fridge, etc. then have a perfectly timed snack, bathroom, tootbrushing trifecta or I’d have to start the whole thing over… And God forbid someone calls or texts me in the middle of that… And I even have a beard! ;)

    Anyway, there is hope.

  6. Anxiety really is a bitch. I don’t think I am able to put it into words as much as I would like, but I know how you feel. I am sorry you go through this too. ((Hugs)) to you, my friend.

  7. Your doodles are amazing. I doubt you ever look fat. Your posts are brilliant and insightful. Don’t let him beat you. He’s like an abusive husband. Kick him in the nuts and tell him who’s boss in your life. One thing I’ve learned, after years of mental health issues, is that nobody can beat your demons for you. Unfortunately. Keep strong.

  8. Keep fighting the monster. Although I do not think there should be a monster at all, since you are so awesome. If you want, i can come and flavor-fart on his face. Maybe that will drive him away. That’s the least I can do. Although I dunno how I can get the fart into your mind. How does one inception farts into minds? Lemme get back to you, I am going to place a call to dear Nolan.

    • A fartception?! I’d be all for that, but I’m imagining my head full of toxic gas, so maybe we should pass on that for now. You just keep being as awesome as you are, I think that’ll work just fine :)

  9. MISSFOUREYES, I can SO relate to this post. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder several years several years ago and I also suffer from bouts of depression. I have been where you are and it’s a terrible place. If you keep your “can do” attitude though, you will get out much faster.

    Oh…and for the record, I LOVE your doodles and I’ve even asked you what program you use to make them, which I have unfortunately forgotten. They are cute and funny, as you are.

    Stay strong and I will send good thoughts your way. :-) xo

    Wendy

    • The can-do attitude does help. Even if I’m not okay on the inside, sometimes it’s just nice to pretend, right?
      Anxiety hugs, Wendy

      P.S. I use Corel Draw. I’m glad you like them :)

  10. From me you get: applause, a digital hug, and the knowledge that you are SO talented (unlike doodle monster says, MFE is AWESOME and talented and so clever!!).

    That is so wonderful that you were able to fight it this time, that you can stay out of the pit and keep thinking positive! I’m so glad that you have an outlet to help you (and I’m so glad it’s blogging because then I get to follow along with you!) You go girl!! =D

  11. KUDOS for writing about what you experience. I have anxiety attacks – but I don’t think it’s quite the same as ‘living with anxiety’. You are to applauded for finding strength to write this and to inform others of the pitfalls (no pun intended). Anxiety/depression are so common place these days, too much pressure to be perfect, to have our ‘shite’ together, to know what we want, to have goals, the list is endless. Your doodles are amazing, so never stop, never stop writing or believing in yourself. You are intelligent, humorous and have a lot to offer the world – but more importantly YOURSELF. Fight those demons, tell them to F off when they start lingering around, rise above. Perhaps the Mantra’s – I have been here before – I will be here again – this too shall pass? and I may as well join in with a naked hug :-) xx

    • Yay for naked hugs ;)
      Thanks, Mumsy, for all of that. I really think having your shite (I love that you say shite btw) together is overrated. Let the shite loose, let it out and let it mingle with everyone elses shit….er, not like that. You know what I mean. The world would be a better place. We could help each other deal in a healthier way.

  12. Miss Four Eyes,

    I imagine every time my boss calls me in to talk to him that something bad is going to happen. It almost never does. If he calls me in thirty times it might be thirty pieces of good news. Still, every single time he wants to talk to me I think the worst. Now if you knew me you might be surprised to learn this because I just about never freak out… but it might not be what you think. I am not really good at hiding freak-outs and I have not found transcending truths that help me rise above. I usually appear relaxed and unperturbed even when bad things are really happening. The reason that I don’t freak out is that I am too exhausted to. I feel numb, not enlightened– and you’d be surprised how often people confuse the two.

    As you already know, anxiety is not always so easy to spot in others. I know how hard it is to write about such things. Well done to you for doing so. You are definitely not alone and remember that even the ones who look together may not be so. Be well stranger. Cheers.

    -Soul Walker

    • Numb, yeah, I know what you mean. Bad things happen and I brace myself “Okay, I’m going to freak out now.” but it rarely happens. I’ve expended so much energy freaking out over something silly, that the bad stuff has a very minimal effect on me.
      Now that you point it out, I realize why. Thanks for that, Soul. And I’m sorry you go through this too. Take care, you. *anxiety hugs*

  13. Aww little miss, you are well loved as you can tell from the comments. If you need some extra fingers, use mine. I”m little too, but pretty strong. Big hugs! naked or otherwise. ;-)

  14. I have been where you are. Monsters die like everything else. You never know the battles each of us are fighting on the inside. I hear you story and wish you the best. Remember it is our own worst enemy and biggest critic that lives inside our own head. You are wonderful and any thought that tells you otherwise or takes away from that is not worth listening to. I wish you well my friend in your struggle. :-) (I left a smiley face so you know I mean it!!)

    • Yay for the smiley face! :D
      Thank you so much, Jon. I really appreciate that. I’m need to learn to go a little more easy on myself. I’m getting there, baby steps

  15. Brave post and beautifully written! Isn’t it the ultimate irony how some of the most gifted among us are also the most tortured. The same structural brain traits that allow for divergent thinking and creative expression can wreak havoc when having to deal with the ‘real world’. Our boundaries for self-perception and world interpretation are far more flexible than the average, so when things start to go bad, they really go bad… all the way down into the 9th circle!

    The greatest thing you can do is what you are doing – not letting the curse of your brain stop you from sharing its gifts with all of us. Thank you for being so strong! And so f*ckin’ hilarious!! ps: why are our bathroom floors always the dig sites for our deepest pits of despair? Must be some cosmic vortex or something :)

    • Why can’t things just go bad like regular people? We could just throw a little tantrum, maybe have a hissy fit, and then go on with our day. Why does it have to get bottled up and go right down to the 9th circle?! Sigh. Dealing with the world is hard stuff.

      I have no idea. Bathroom floors are ridiculously comfortable, though, when you feel like crap. I guess it’s just that it’s the most accepting room in the house. The toilet never judges, it knows what it’s like to feel like crap. The toilet creates a safe environment to let everything out.

      • “The toilet never judges, it knows what it’s like to feel like crap.” Bwahahahahaha!! Well I guess you’re feeling better now, you can’t possibly be that funny while still down.

      • So true about toilets! Brilliant! And I totally agree with BFG that to tap into your wit and giggles you must have crawled your way back up to at least circle 4 ~wink. Kudos.

  16. I used to have similar issues when I was younger until they almost made me lose my sanity and/or life, then I realized that racking my brain over things I couldn’t control was probably the most pointless thing I could ever do. So I decided to stop indulging my anxiety and just go with the flow. Simple as that. Believe me, I’m a much happier person since. You know that AA mantra? “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” Well, replace God with Self (he’s a much more reliable chap) and you’re good to go.

    The brain is a strange but extremely powerful thing. If you’re sufficiently intent on harnessing its power, you can overcome (almost) anything and if you can’t, then you haven’t tried hard enough. Willpower is the key. I mean it’s not like you have to go all superhuman and confront Galactus or something, all you have to do is defeat yourself. Now, time to rear your pretty head and put that monster of yours on a leash, miss! I won’t let the copilot of my spaceship beat herself up like this. You hear me?

  17. Our monsters should get together and have tea or something. Leave us alone! Great piece, struck oh so many chords with me. Keep fighting the good (naked) fight

    • I’m going to keep (naked) fighting! And I hope you do too. Why won’t those monsters just leave us alone?! Isn’t the sight of us naked reason enough for them to leave?

  18. My wife suffers from an anxiety condition. We have no idea why or when it will strike. We were seeing Les Mis in the theater. Back row me next to her. She starts shaking no eyes upon her. No rhyme or reason. It lasts twenty minutes and then she is in control. Came out of the blue. It is not physical or is it? Is it mental? Doctor says they will do brain scans and then they will not know what to do. We live with it. Over forty years together so far. Would not trade her in for anything. Just one of those things.

  19. Reblogged this on themorningcoffeerva and commented:
    It’s ok. I’ve had this disability called Anxiety Disorder since I was a young girl. It has stopped me in my happy footsteps and knocked me down. It has no trigger and shows no mercy. I just accept this is not who I am and I treat my thoughts gently.

    • Thanks for the the reblog!

      Don’t let it stop you from being happy anymore. We’re in this together. We’re going to stare the monster right in his eye and show him he’s not the boss here.

  20. Great, descriptive read! I’m right there with you, sis-ta. Actually went to the DR. yesterday about meds… Ironically, I was having a full blown attack that day for my DR to witness. My Blood Pressure was 144/95 from my normal 110/70. Ah, Clorazepate… My BFF. Hope you find solace knowing you have others that actually do know what crazy sh*t can go on in your brain!!
    Congrats on getting pressed!

  21. I like your doodles! Very cool. I believe many people suffer from some form of anxiety at one point or another. It’s never a good feeling. Chronic anxiety though can certainly affect your health, so I hope you find some ways to alleviate it. I like they way you write and how awesome to be able to do your own illustrations!! Be strong, don’t let fear conquer you, conquer it instead!

  22. I like that the internet is becoming a place where we can talk about our personal problems which are typically taboo to talk about. I’m learning more and more that people suffer from the same kinds of things that I do. My anxiety doesn’t seem to be the same extent as yours, but I know those feelings. I have a lot of trouble talking to people without a reason to talk to me.

    I guess we’ll just have to hang in there, fight the good fight, and fake it until we make it.

    • Yup, fake it until we make it. Just the other day, someone said that I always looked so calm. I burst out laughing at that. Calm is one thing I never am. The good thing is that the faking it is working. One day, I hope that my brain really does genuinely feel calm.

  23. Sometimes noticing in detail our emotions without trying to change can allow them to simply pass by. Lovely description.

  24. It is a monster! I completely agree! While living abroad I developed a ton of anxiety, and it wasn’t until recently that I learned that was what I was experiencing. It is difficult. I had a roommate that would scream at me at all hours of the night and morning, trying to keep me awake, and intimidate me. I constantly felt sick and couldn’t eat, and hid in my room absolutely still, afraid to turn a light on after it got dark because I was afraid he’d know I was home.
    I felt a wealth of energy stuck inside me, grumbling and trying to explode out of me. I wanted to scream and scream and scream until it was gone. I resented my body for containing that energy, for not letting it out.
    I know how you feel. It’s terribly, anxiety. It is a demon of an emotion. I hope through this post you gained the support you need to help cope :)

    • With all these wonderful comments, I really have gained the support I needed.
      I’m so glad you’re not living with that roommate anymore (are you?). Feeling like that everyday is hell. But the good thing is, we’ve found that energy in us. We’re letting it out now, nobody can stop us anymore

  25. I suffer with panic attacks and anxiety episodes – hah and I think you summed up the spiraling thought process perfectly. I take herbal remedies in water and carry that round with me all day, might help if you haven’t already tried?

    • What kind of herbal remedies? I’m on hippie meds (homeopathy), they’ve been working pretty well so far. I also do yoga and have an aroma burner, which I’m not sure is helping so much with the anxiety, but it does smell really nice. Mostly though, it’s knowing the triggers and making sure that you’re prepared for them.

  26. Anxiety is… it is what it is- a dark pit, a demon, a monster and we have to learn to live with it by mastering it. I am trying. I know what you are saying and I feel for you. Take care.

  27. This post was awesome, it let me know I wasn’t alone in this world. “My head runs a thousand miles a minute, it races and sprints and I can never catch up to it.” That’s how I feel every time something horrible happens in my life and I feel like I have no power in me to stop it. Those things weigh on you and might still until you bit the dust but accepting it and yourself for who you are helps cooping with those memories. Glad to see you’re putting up the good fight, don’t let that fire burn out.

    • i hate that feeling, the one where we feel so hopelessly out of control. I’m glad you’re putting up the good fight too. We’re going to do this!Those terrible thoughts are not going to control us!

  28. Well, I know I’m a not a regular reader yet, but I like your doodles! This was a good honest blog post. I can’t even pretend to know a lot about anxiety… It probably sounds like a broken record but, hang in there! **follows your blog**

  29. Anxiety is a monster. That’s what I call it too. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a mind filled will self confidence. One that would never let that monster take over the place. My husband is very confident. He never seems to understand why I feel the way I do. Being paralyzed with fear because I can’t make a decision or not being able to enjoy the movie because I feel “uncomfortable”. He just thinks I’m being high maintenance.

    Anyway, you said it yourself. You’ve beat him before and you can do it again. You were brave to write this post and you should be proud of yourself.

    • We may be high maintenance, but we’re also crazy entertaining. Just think of how boring life would be if we didn’t freak out at all the little stuff. Anxiety is pretty bad, but then I wonder, would life on the other side really be that good? Maybe, maybe not. For now though, I’m going to go with crazy entertaining ;)

  30. Until this past year I would have just said that was a good piece of writting. Now, having had a girlfriend with a major anxiety disorder this makes SO much sense. And the illustrations are a great add. Hang in there….keep opening the door for the rest of us to see it.

    • I hope you’re girlfriend is doing okay. Sometimes just having a good support system is all it takes to feel a little better.
      Thank you so much for your comment, I’m really glad you liked the illustrations :)

  31. This is eloquent and 100% relatable for me. I know from experience how hard these things are to talk about (still looking for my words) and I admire your strength.

  32. I sometimes get really anxious, but the way I fight back is the knowing that nothing bad can happen to me!!! So when I get anxious, it reminds me of that knowledge, and then I have peace. Its all because God promised me peace and He fulfils that promise everyday

  33. I really like your post. I had a friend who went through many of the symptoms you’ve described but she called it depression instead of anxiety. I wonder if it’s because her response was to get sad instead of anxious as you describe. Anyway, keep fighting the fight, and know that Freshly Pressed liked you enough to post this, so you can always use that knowledge to fight the monsters back.

    • Anxiety and depression are very closely related. A lot of the pit of fear is depression. But, for me anyway, it’s mostly anxiety. I hope your friend is doing better now.
      You know, the whole being FP thing is really helping. It’s like my crazy brain got me freshly pressed, maybe, just maybe, I’m not that crazy after all

  34. This is such a good explanation! My friends often tell me to “calm down, everyone worries sometimes. You just need to not think about positive things instead.” They mean well but it’s totally unhelpful. I’m glad there are others like me but sad also because anxiety is a bitch.

  35. Wow! I love this post and your insight…and your little 4-eyed pony-tailed aspirin-girl thingy is freakin’ ADORABLE!!!!! My wife fights similar demons, and I believe she’d benefit immensely from your inspiring piece!

  36. Thank for this, so amazing to finally see a accurate portrayal of anxiety (there seem to be many good ones in depression). Was just talking with a client about this last night in session. Thank for your courage in sharing your story, I have no doubt it will help many!

  37. Hi there. You don’t know me. I just happened upon this. May I just say that you are incredibly strong? I’m suffering with depression (and possibly anorexia, it comes and goes) and I haven’t told anyone about it. I keep it all bottle inside and sometimes I just loose it.
    Writing really helps.
    So when I saw this, I started reading just out of curiosity. And the doodles. The doodles really help (; I was like, “yes someone gets that numbness and exaughstion I’m not crazy!!!” You have no idea how hopeful this post was for me. Thank you.
    Please stay strong. <3 (;

    • Thank YOU. You made me realize that I’m not completely useless here in this world. You made me realize that something that came out of my messed up brain could actually help someone. Maybe my brain’s not that messed up after all?
      You’re not crazy, not one bit. Today you made me see that I’m not either. Thank you.
      Take care

  38. Stay strong! I have Bipolar I disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I always called it “a hole in the road” that I tend to trip and fall into.

    Again, stay strong. *lots of hugs*

    • Thank you, Nikki. I was so anxious about writing this piece. “People are going to think I’m a completely crazy!” I thought. But actually publishing it was a huge relief. Like a soda bottle finally released of all the pressure. Just go for it, we’ll all be here to support you.

  39. You made my freaking day! It feels like no one else is as paralysingly terrified over nothing as me…or it did, until now. Thank you! You are so incredibly brave. I have so much respect for you :) I know we can fight this. Naked hugs :)

  40. This is such a honest, creative and compelling post. Anxiety has haunted me and my brain for years and talking about it, writing about it, drawing about it – whatever anyone needs to do to cope and heal is so brave! I enjoyed your writing and the visuals; so true and relatable. Thank you for sharing this with the world and I wish you the best in your journey!
    -theStoryofAngie

  41. What a great insight into anxiety, your have such a special talent with words and doodles
    My monster is in the pit after a lifetime of his power over me, its a struggle at times and I see him trying to rear his ugly head but I keep fighting the fight and are determined to keep him there ! I wish you well and send strength and love to keep hanging on, you can do it, ti never thought I could ! You are so amazing to do a blog to help others to understand I know you have the strength to beat himg

  42. I really loved this post! You so articulately put to words (and doodles) the feelings that are as hard to describe as they are to live. I suspect you are braver and stronger and more talented than you give yourself credit for. Keep up the writing… I look forward to more!
    ****HUGS****

  43. Most of us understand where you’re coming from, I think. Lots of us have varying degrees of anxiety. I actually have a tremendous amount of travel anxiety… I started writing a post about that exact thing last weekend.

    I think it’s good that you’ve anthropomorphized your anxiety monster, because that might make it easier for you to depower it… I think that everyone who reads your blog regularly is right behind you, helping to prop you up when you’re about to fall from the anxiety. Many hugs are offered.

    • Surprisingly, the anthropomorphism is helping. I only did it for the doodle, but it’s really helping. I never thought something as simple as a silly little cartoon could just wind my head back into place.
      Can’t wait to read your post, Steven. *anxiety hugs*

  44. I suffer from 5 out of those 9 anxiety. Honestly, I don’t know how to not stress and feel anxious. I hate it. Thanks for letting others know that we’re truly not alone and that we can overcome it.

    • I never thought about how writing about this could help people. Now, I’m really glad it’s working out. I’m very sorry about all the stress and anxiety, it truly is the worst. Take cake. Like you said, we CAN overcome it!

  45. Wow, this is awesome. I actually tell people when my anxiety hits its like a little monster inside of me, too!!! You have a new follower and I hope you kick this monster’s rear. People who get nervous or worry sometimes don’t really understand how difficult living with anxiety everyday truly is. Good luck and thanks!

    • I’m both sorry and glad that you know what I mean. Glad that you get it, and sorry that the monster haunts you too. We’re going to kick that monster’s rear together!
      Thank you! And take care

  46. Honestly I don’t know what to say. The only thing I can say is that I know the monster. Somewhere in one of the pits I am stuck. Now I know I’m not alone feeling this way.
    Great blog,

  47. thank you so much for sharing. I’ve read lots of great accounts on depression, but not many on anxiety. I’ve never suffered from anxiety, but I have studied it (psych major). I have been looking for a while for an account as edifying as my favorite post about depression on Hyperbole and a Half. If it’s okay, I’d like to link to this post when I talk about anxiety on my blog – after all, mental disorders are common with villains, and it’d be nice if people could do them correctly.

  48. I remember the years that went by where I was “simply” depressed. When I had no fucking clue what anxiety even was. Now, holy cow…I can spot it a mile away. And it’s in every single thing I do. I’m convinced people can smell it coming from my pores as if I’d eaten too much curry or garlic.

    I remember days where I had no clue what it was….and, thinking I was so pathetically an excuse for a waste of space at work, that, oh, 1pm…I’d just get up and go home. I wouldn’t say anything to anyone. I’d just leave.

    And then? The anger. See, I realized that my lifelong “temper” issues…no. It was the anxiety, building like a huge teenaged zit on your cheek…and that little thing that pisses you off? Daughter stubs your toe? Coworker accidentally deletes something you wrote and can easily retype in five minutes? Wife answers a question that wasn’t intended for her? Emails not answered? Someone cut you off on the highway?

    BOOM….that little thing squeezes the pimple…and Mt Vesuvius explodes…fueled not by the anger, as it would appear (and all the yelling and screaming would readily indicate)…no….it’s the myriad of niggling details of your life….the small death by a thousand papercuts of selfdoubt, indecision, questioning…all very minor things….but adding together….

    A new Psychiatrist recently moved me to Lorazepam. It has done WONDERS. My boss can get up and walk around the conference room table and behind me without me thinking it ABSOLUTELY IS going to be a replay of “Untouchables” with Kevin Kostner and Robert DeNiro when DeNiro walks behind the guy and bashes his head in….

    I’ve found writing to be very therapeutic, try my blog…www.zerobelief.com

    Sincerely….

    zB

    • Wow, that was one hell of a comment. Thank you for stopping by :)

      It’s the worst when anxiety is posing as something completely different. Depression, anger issues, I get it. That along with all the self doubt and thinking that you’re going completely bonkers, makes you wonder if its worth even trying to make yourself better. I get it, man.

      • Considering I went for decades without understanding what I was going through….if I can help anyone else understand, well, I feel pretty good.

        I spent the first 4/4ths of my life being “the angry guy” that people didn’t understand. Didn’t understand why I over reacted to everything. Diddn’t understand why I was the “live wire”.

        To this day, I am far from healed. As it stands, I am shitfaced drunk trying to type to you. The lorazeram helps during the day..but I immediatyely turn to alchohol at night. And my tastes are expensive!!!! :)

        I nust want to understand mysel better…and if th4ough doing so, help someone else…so be it….

        - zB…

  49. Oh yes, I know that monster very well. He (always a he for some reason) creeps in just when I think things are going ok for a change.

    • That monster has a way of getting you when you least expect it. My guy loves grocery stores and supermarkets. Just as I’m buying toothpaste or something BOOM, there he is ready to play his mind games

  50. Good for you. Seriously, it’s hard to feel like everything will be ok in the end if nothing is in anyone’s control. So I commend you for standing up to your anxiety and for not allowing it to silence you. Thanks for the article.

    Valentine
    Flux: Encountering Adulthood
    http://www.fluxforum.com

  51. Thanks for the blog and congrats on being freshly pressed. I have terrible anxiety about a multitude of things (talking in groups of more than three people, tests, everyday choices…) and most people don’t know it. I hide it well but inside I feel like I’m going to literally throw up and/or pass out. I shake and get horribly cold. I’ve been working on it, but sometimes it feels uncontrollable. My husband, although he is just trying to be helpful, tells me to “not get so nervous”. I wish that was the case. I wish it were so easy.

    Good luck in your climb out of the trap that is anxiety. I’m there with you.

    • I wish it were that easy too. It does get uncontrollable sometimes. The good thing is that we have people who love us enough to want us to get better. For those uncontrollable moments, I guess we just have to hold on and brace ourselves for the roller-coaster.

      Thank you, I’m here with you too.

  52. I’m sorry. I’ve been there, I am there, I’ll probably be there for awhile. I spend 90% of my days, at least, being afraid. I don’t have any words of wisdom because I haven’t figured out how to claw my own way out. But just remind yourself, it’s not you, it’s it.

  53. I can relate to this post as I also suffer from anxiety disorder. I am currently a graduate student studying Mental Health, and I enjoy reading people being open and honest about any mental health issues! =)

    • It’s a nice relief from the real world where people strictly keep mental health issues to themselves. It’s also great to finally be able to talk about this.
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  54. Thank you so much for sharing this. Its such a good description of whats going on inside my head too. And I absolutely like the artwork!

    When I was about twelve, anxiety got me and locked me in the basement of my mind. Well, I survived – I’m 48 now and still fighting. Giving up would be such a waste and yes, its bright and sunny outside. :)

    Good luck and all the best!

    *hugs* :)

  55. I suppose it is good to know that I am not alone in suffering from anxiety, although I would not wish it on anyone. The trouble is you feel so alone when everyone around you seems happy and successful. But maybe people try to hide the way they really feel

    • I’m starting to think that we all have our own demons inside. They sit on our heads and perch up on our shoulders, but the rest can never see them. These personal demons are our little secrets and everyone hides them so well. It’s time to out them, it’s time to talk about them openly and watch them disappear for real.

  56. I love this…. you explain how I feel so accurately…. and you put it so well. Horrible that you feel this way too, but good for me because it means I’m not the only one. Hugs.

    • You are most definitely not the only one. There are so many like us, the only problem is that us anxious people don’t really like talking about it.
      Take care, Blue. *anxiety hugs*

  57. Wow. I love your post. I know what it’s like to live with anxiety. The other day I found myself feeling like I’m going to die just walking through the mall; like everyone is on the brink of laughing at me and that monster is telling me “You’re so insignificant and you’re gonna die of embarrassment.” I feel like we’ll win again it, though. Eventually. Thanks, hey, it’s good to know I’m not alone. High5!

  58. And before I forget, this piece was a brilliant piece of literary vulnerability.
    The greatest writers open their soul with nary a thought of public opinion.
    Congratulations on crossing the threshold to greatness.

  59. I understand. And you are not alone. It is not easy to explain to anyone else who has never dealt with it so it feels lonely. And then people just think it’s low self esteem. All you can do is fight it. It gets better, you will get better! Good thoughts to you…. (and I like your doodles).

  60. just found ur blog..let me say that i can relate 1000% it was refreshing to me to know that others suffer from this monster…yes i know many do but not many speak of it so i want to thank you for again sharing….yes u will get thru this and u are not alone by any means…so as I’VE seem from the comments you have a great support team here and that is a wonderful thing to have..so naked huggs lol and know that i hate this moster as well the main reason is that you never know when it will strike..but the main thing is that we will get thru it..this to shall pass..stay strong..huggs n love suzz

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Suzz. All the support I’ve been getting here is really helping. It made me realize that maybe I’m not as insignificant as I thought. So thank you for that.
      *naked anxiety hugs*

      • you miss four eyes are so welcome…I see that you do have a great support of posters on your blogs..i did read most of the comments and they all seem very caring and funny…I’m so glad that it’s all coming together and that it is helping you..you seem like a great and funny gurl and i look forward to reading all of your blogs…you are not alone gurl at all your not insignificant by any means from what i can tell you are very much loved and adored so keep the great blogging up..looking forward from hearing n reading more from you ;P naked or nakkie as i say it lol is the only way 2 b ..huggs 2 u
        suzz

  61. Oh, I relate on so many levels with this. Especially how the anxiety can “become” your brain and feel terrifyingly real. One of the most helpful techniques I ever received from a therapist was recognizing the feeling as a third party trying to influence my thoughts, separate from the “genuine me.” That you’re doing that with “the monster” is a good sign that it *will* be OK. :)

    • Separating the monster really is helping. For the longest time, I’d wonder why my brain wasn’t cooperating with me. It’s not us, it’s the monster.
      Take care, Allison. We’re going to be just fine. :)

  62. I can completely relate to this post. I have terrible anxiety and also suffer with panic attacks. I go through the same pit fall whenever my anxiety gets the best of me. At times I think I am so ridiculous for some of the thoughts that go through my head. Good for you for writing about your anxiety experiences.

  63. Many of us feel exactly the same way, You are not alone. I’ve had the same feelings just expressed in writing a bit differently. Theres a bunch of things we can do to help us hold on.
    1. re focus on something else. Especially looking for things that are good even if its small.
    2. re frame by taking negative thoughts captive and looking at them in a positive way
    3. Pray which can be hard cz if youre like me I lose my train of thought.
    4. call a friend
    I do understand and Ive had to all of these at different times on any given day when anxiety pounces on me.

  64. Thank you so much for writing this & sharing. You have described so much of what I experience on a daily basis. Just reading this gives me hope b/c it reiterates we aren’t alone in our anxiety.

  65. My friend sent me a card. It says, “We are Awesome. If we weren’t us, I’d be totally jealous.” Dragged me out of a hole and made me smile. You are awesome too – look at what you have accomplished, try. Sometimes in the wee hours when it’s really bad, I have to get outside and just breathe.

    • I love that card, and I like your friend already.
      Don’t you worry, I’m holding on strong. I like to get outside and take a really long walk to work it off. Stay awesome, Cheryl :)

  66. Wow!,,I have been in that hell for 17 years and the last 3 years I barely make it!… I wish there wasn’t but its a little better at least that someone actually feels what I do. ITS NOT FUN.. THANKS FOR SHARING.GOOD LUCK TOO ALL OF US. :-(

  67. Love the honesty and eloquence of this blog. I think you know anxiety well, which is definitely a big step to having control over it! I have been down that spiral a long time ago and it is a horrible place to be. Great blog, and great insight.

  68. I am so with you on this. The monster makes me second guess every decision I make, and while I’m doing better at resisting him and being more confident, he’s always ready and waiting for a moment of weakness. This article is so good that I want to print it out and hand it to anyone who tells me just to “stop worrying already.”

    And P. S. I’m not sure how, but my post about anxiety has gotten alot of views thanks to yours. Thanks!

    • “stop worrying already”, I really do wish it was that easy, that we could just snap our fingers and everything would be perfect.
      The good thing is with bloggers like you and me, people are getting more aware of this. And they’re not asking people “stop worrying already” anymore.

      P.S. I added your post to the related articles section when I published it. I really liked it :)

      • The thing is, it IS that easy but you just can’t realize it until you figure out how to harness your feelings. But once you do, it’s a no-brainer, really.

        Looking back now on those darkest days, I’m amazed at how easily I allowed myself to sink in that bottomless pit. Now my brain is slave to my will, not the other way around. I’m not a religious type but there are great lessons to be learned from buddhism. Or martial arts.

  69. Pingback: Panic & Anxiety: Stress Check | Blogizing

  70. You explained anxiety so well! I, too, suffer from the monster. It has gotten the better of me many times. I would like to suggest medication. It has been a tremendous help to me and it could be for you as well. Regardless of how you deal with it, I wish you luck. You will be ok!

  71. I have exactly the same fears and have such trouble expressing them, even in writing. I’ve never read anything that quite hits the nail on the head like you have. Thank you! :D

  72. Reblogged this on S B James and commented:
    A lot of my follow NaNoWriMos are feeling anxious too as they prepare their manuscripts. About two weeks ago, I was lying on the bathroom floor crying for help because the room would not stop spinning. I thoroughly believe it was an anxiety attack, as I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety a while back myself. Thank you for being so frank and open, though I realize how gad anxiety is to talk about.

      • That experience I described was assuredly my worst anxiety attack ever. What blows my mind is that I had no idea why I was having that severe an attack at that particular moment. I kept thinking it was something else, but with hindsight I recognize it for was it was.

        • The worst is that you can’t even tell what’s happening in that moment. Everything is just so out of control, and all you want is to get a hold of your head. I get it.

  73. Keep telling it to F off and eventually you will find its with you less and less. There are so many of us ‘anxiety’ folk so try and remember you are not alone. Well done for not dropping to the bottom of the pit. Keep looking up and you will get there. x

  74. Hi i don’t have ever this feeling or mybe i had.But i had the illusion of hearing and it took me 10 years.Suddenly i don’t know how i become healthy. If you ever heard about this please tell me how i could be released of it.

  75. It’s so hard to explain, isn’t it? A friend confessed to me that she had recently been diagnosed with anxiety and my reply was, “welcome to my word.”
    “But you seem so NORMAL,” wailed my friend.
    “So do you,” I pointed out.

    Thank you for sharing.

  76. It’s awesome you’re recognizing it, naming it and intending to fight it. It’s good that you not only put words to what you experience but also stated your intention to not let it take control over you. It’s better to let things out (which you did wonderfully with your post) than letting them ruminate and exaggerate in your head.
    You’ll absolutely win over your anxiety. Keep holding on and doing the things you enjoy to bring some peace and build you up. I have no doubts that, YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!
    Btw: Your drawings are wonderful…

    • This is the first time I’m letting it out. Never would I have guessed how good it would feel. I feel so…free. Like nothing can stop me now.
      Thank you for your kind words, and I’m so glad you liked my drawings :)

  77. I just happened to find this and I need to thank you. My 16 year-old daughter lives with the evil twins of anxiety and depression. I understand depression as I have suffered from it in the past but this description of anxiety helps to clarify some of the feelings my daughter may be dealing with. Thank you for traveling outside your comfort zone to share. You have done a good deed.

  78. What the hell? — how did I miss this one! I think I saw it in my notifications and was into something and said I’d get back to it, then got tied up.

    I’m glad that you’ve spoken about this condition. It takes some of the power away. I think you know on one hand that you aren’t any of those things that the ‘monster’ says that you are. But it is a difficult thing to rein in. I’ve had anxiety for years, and have never been treated for it. I’ve had out and out attacks, where I burst up and run — where? — anywhere — I’ve had the hyperventilation thing, the feeling like I’m having a heart attack, or that I’m just going to die. At times I have felt that I would just collapse, lose control. Someone was saying that it is dangerous for some people with anxiety to go without medication. That might be the case. A good therapist and some medication perhaps would help a lot of people with this condition. I have had therapy of sorts and I think that over the years — I’m 51 — I handle it better with maturity. I had an anxiety attack the other day however and it had been a while. I was in a conference and all these negative uncontrollable thoughts overwhelmed my brain, and I had a great fear that I would either get up and scream out to the group, or just collapse. But I was fine in about ten minutes.

    I hope that you do get through this in one way or another. You are a very talented and funny young lady with a lot of opportunities ahead. I think you can conquer this crippling condition. The first step is talking about it. Take care MFE — sending you love and hugs across the ‘sphere’…

    • Sandee! Oh I missed you.

      I’m on hippie meds (homeopathy), they’re helping so far. Mostly, I just let the thoughts run out. It’s worse when people are around. Like at work when I’m sure I’ll be caught someday.
      Lots of hugs, Sandee. We’re going to get that monster someday, I just know it.

    • It gets really bad once you start thinking about it. You know you’re a wee bit crazy, but then once you start contemplating the little details it’s like “Whoa! Am I crazier than I thought I was?!”

  79. I’ve come to think of my brain as something separate from the rest of me. It can do all it likes with anxiety gymnastics (which inevitably land me in that depression hole), but I am learning to tell my brain to F off. It’s not a perfect solution, as I’m sure you know, but practice makes it easier. Keep clinging on by your pinkies! It’s good exercise ;-)

  80. I can really relate to this..I have been dealing with
    anxiety since I was in my early twenties, and at 43 now,
    I am a survivor. It hasn’t been easy as you well know.
    At first I thought I was losing my mind, then I found a article
    about anxiety, and I was like, oh, that is what’s wrong
    with me. Through therapy, the right medication, and going to
    church has helped me so much. Although, I won’t go to therapy
    again, because most of the people I seen didn’t
    know shit, but the last person I seen made more sense
    than the rest. I still have good days and bad, but now I have
    more good days and I have the strength now to overcome.
    I really hope you find that within yourself, and sometimes it
    has to come from deep within, some real soul
    searching, but it’s all worth it in the end:)

  81. this is the part i love the most………….”Anxiety is the fear of the unknown. It’s knowing that nothing in your life is under your control. Anything could happen at any moment. And that thought is TERRIFYING”.
    i am highly fascinated by your style of wrting and the creative of creating the “Real Scene”
    am re-posting this to my blog http://www.idriftonline.wordpress.com

  82. You have brought out the situations anxiety poses very well…. and its with everyone… even the one who told you “You look good today.” :) I see it as a young swimmer learning to swim the more he tries the more he sinks it is when he leaves his body all loose and relaxed he floats and eventually learns swimming… just a thought :)

  83. I’ve recently faced the challenge of anxiety myself. Very nice blog :)

    Check out my blog if you’re interested. whenwemumble.wordpress.com
    ‘How sad it is to be the type of different we desire.’

  84. You have a way with words and your pictures really hit the nail on the head. I understand how you feel completely. Stay strong and keep on going!

  85. Pingback: Misdiagnosed | The Story of Angie

  86. I am so happy that you shared this. I relate to it on so many levels! What you have described I have been through and it is very comforting knowing that I am not alone in the pit. Thank you so much for sharing this, you’re very brave :)

    • You are absolutely not alone. A bunch of people from work told me about their mental health issues last week. It completely surprised me. More people than we think actually go through this. It’s just that nobody wants to talk about it for fear of being called a complete wackadoodle.
      We’re going to be okay. Take care, Blue.

    • I’m glad that you can relate, but I’m so sorry that you go through this too. Anxiety is the worst. The important thing is that we are not letting the monster win.
      Thanks for the reblog!

  87. You described anxiety so well – I have been in your place too. Hang in there. You will learn how to manage it eventually – this is what happened with me. You have a lot of courage, thank you for sharing this with us.

  88. Pingback: On Anxiety | reign of terror journal

  89. Anxiety can surely be crippling and prevent movement forward. What can you do especially well? What are your strong points? (Everyone has at least one.) Having looked back w/anxiety and regrets much of my life, I’ve found that it has held me back. Give anxiety only 10 min of each day. The rest of your day, concentrate on what you do well and do not look backwards unless your feet are planted firmly in cement.. That advice should be worth at least 50cents.. Two quarters or a check made out to me would be acceptable… :)

  90. You typed what I go through daily, I suffer from anxiety too & I hate it
    Sometimes I’m so low and I want to hurt myself but I pray and believe God will bring me out of it.
    The worst thing is I can not talk to any one about it for fear they wont understand or they will judge me :-(

    • I understand how that feels. I didn’t want to talk about it for the longest time. Until this post, only two people in the whole world knew about my anxiety, and one of them was my doctor. Letting it out like this has been a huge relief. I hope that you find a way to let it out too.
      *anxiety hugs*

  91. Hi Miss Four Eyes, I have had that damned anxiety monster following me around the last 6 months. Paralyzing me near to believing I was gonna die at the start. Progress is only really visible to me now, looking back. That monster is still lurking around though, at my least confident times or I guess for new experiences, when my brain naturally questions what lies ahead…that damned monster has its nasty answers all to ready to drag me down!! But the fight must go on and some day soon I’ll have it on a leash! I don’t know you, but feel for you too. Read this the other day…’worrying won’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, but it takes away todays peace”

    • You are going to get that monster, I just know it. He has no idea what he’s in for. You’ll get him on a leash and chain him up to a corner in your mind.
      I’m glad that you’re progressing, take care. *anxiety hugs*

  92. I couldn’t have put this into words such beautifully. While the feelings are exactly same, sufferings match exactly. We will find a way out, my friend……let’s hope.

  93. Just came across this post and I want to cry. You explain this so beautifully – something I’ve tried explaining to my friends and family for so long. “Just be happy!” is often a response and they have no idea. Wow. Thank you. Not only for explaining it so well, but for just simply writing it so I know that I’m not crazy and I’m not the only one.

    • You are not alone, they think its so easy to change your mind that in one moment you feel anxious and they will come and say just be happy or get over it and you will be a different person, but we can experience life differently, its in ours selves to belive in ours hearts.

  94. Ican relate with you, and i am also an anxious person. All i can say is that youre rigt and everytime you doubt your self your monsters just gets bigger but dont forget to remeber that all it says to you its NOT true, you are worthy and you are good enough, and you are not a bad person, just a lost one, but dont wirry because you will find your self, all you need to do is believe in you, and you can do it, because i think you can, i believe in you.

    • I really needed to hear that. After years of thinking that I’m a bad person, it’s nice to find someone who disagrees. My brain and the monster always let me believe it. Thank you so much for all that, Prislo.,

  95. Can I just say that I love your ‘doodles’ I say this with caution as these are in no way the doodles I try and create but much better artwork that depicts the black hole I’m familiar with too well, in general I now have more good days than bad and hope this for you too – well really I hope that you have all good days but that may be a longer term goal that you WILL reach!

    • Thank you, Bob. I’m really glad that you have more good days than anything else, I hope that they become ALL good someday. Until then, I’m here for you. We’re going to make it!

  96. I don’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, but I’ve been struggling with what seems to be ever-increasing anxiety about things that never used to be so problematic, so I can understand in my own little way what you’re getting at. I think you’re very brave to post this and I hope it gets better for you. I know it really helped when I recently opened up to a couple friends and told them how I was feeling.

    • It really does help to let it out. This post has helped more than I thought possible. When I wrote it, I just wanted to get some of it out. Now it feels like a huge relief, so much simpler not keeping it all bottled up inside.

  97. Your doodles are really great (and fun!). I’m sorry but nobody can possibly be worse than I am at so many important things, like budgeting :-). You can totally write, and so well. We ALL have typos…constantly (and rush to fix them AFTER all the emails went out). You are very not-pathetic. I came to your blog and you did make me smile because at one time I struggled greatly with the monster and greatest teacher. MFE is so not lame…cheese puffs and bad chocolate are. And everyone kinda wings it with doing the “right” things. My father used to tell me that even if I really wanted to and tried, I couldn’t possibly claim all the failures for myself.
    This was a great read and I’m subscribing! And if you are interested and have a moment, check out my post called “How a cup of coffee saved me”. It was a turning point for me years ago in this dance with anxiety.

    • You are so right, cheese puffs are pretty bad. :D
      I guess we’re all just trying to do the right thing here, nobody REALLY knows, do they? Thank you so much for all that, Joanna. I really needed to hear that.
      And thanks for subscribing, I’m definitely checking out your post.

  98. I have never read anything like this in that it explains every day of my life to a tee. My anxiety runs my life most days. I know exactly how you feel and get frustrated sometimes trying to explain this to people who just don’t understand. Those are the lucky people in that they don’t suffer like this everyday. I am sending positive thoughts your way and hope that we all find this peace for which we so desperately seek.

  99. Very true….to me in connection with 4 circles, the fifth one distubs more. The deep rooted monster inside changes its behavior with other companions like nervousness; absorbs useful creativity and diverts it to that monster thoughts.

  100. So well put and so relatable. As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, I have seen the pit and it’s all too real. Thanks for putting it into such perfect words.

    • Thanks for the reblog!
      Don’t ‘get your shit together’. It impossible to do it like that. We may never have our shit completely together, but we will get that monster someday. I just know it.

  101. I’ve got a lot of the same problems, the circles of fear chimed so much with me but I have learned to talk to a few close friends about it and although it doesn’t make it go away, it does help and I’m sure (and hope that) the reaction you’ve got here helps you. It’s good to see people being pro-active about this kind of stuff.

  102. Pingback: Deviant, Disabling, and Distressing: Anxiety, Panic, Nervousnous, ect. | Build a Villain Workshop

  103. I have never known how to anxiety, and reading your post I just sat and thought OMG, this is it! This is exactly it! THANK YOU! To see the words written by someone else that could have been exactly how I would have explained it if I could have formed the words, gives me a sense of connection that I couldn’t get any other way. To see that I am not alone, gives me hope that with hardwork and focus I too can get through my anxiety issues. Absolutely amazing! Keep up the great writing!

  104. Well that all looks very.familiar. All respect to.you for blogging about it. Out of interest, have you come across the Lightning Process developed by Phil Parker? It does a good.job of giving anxiety a good kick in the butt :-D

  105. Thank you for this post. I feel EXACTLY the same way. Like you stole the feelings and thoughts right out of my head. You have put perfectly into words what I have not been able to do. So, thank you, again. And BTW, I think you are pretty awesome.

    • It so nice to know that there are people out there that understand. I hope your monster isn’t giving you much trouble. You’re pretty darn awesome yourself :)

  106. Pingback: Welcome to the glamour of the void | Blank Canvas Living

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