I know what it feels like to not be able to breathe. It’s horrible. My chest constricts, my heart starts to race, and I start to sweat.
I don’t have asthma, or any other medical condition. I have anxiety. Most of the time my anxiety comes out of nowhere, nothing is wrong. I just can’t breathe.
This confession may come as quite a shock to some of you. For the most part, I can be found with a smile on face. People don’t know what I am hiding.
It’s hard to explain anxiety to people who don’t experience it. I can’t tell you why my body randomly freaks out on me, it just does.
I’ve heard many different things when it comes to handling my anxiety. Some of my favorite are, “Just don’t think so much,” or “You worry too much,” “Stop making everything such a big deal.”
I’m here to tell you that I physically CAN’T stop my body from freaking out on me. However, I have learned small ways to control and mitigate the anxiety. I run, clean obsessively, call a friend or sleep.
So much of our society is dedicated to our physical bodies. We care more about the way we look than how we feel. Being physically healthy is extremely important, but it is also important to be concerned with our mental health as well.
Unfortunately there is still a large stigma put on people who struggle with mental illness. If you are depressed, you are often seen as “lazy”. If you deal with anxiety issues, you are “high strung”. I could go on with examples like this forever.
I believe these labels keep people from sharing how they are truly feeling with one another.
I often have terrible allergies in the spring. I can be found on any given day with watery eyes and a runny nose. I talk to people all day long about my allergies, but if I am having anxiety I don’t say a word.
I’m not saying we should all walk around sharing our feelings with the world. I realize that some things are meant to be kept private. I do however, feel that we should work together to create a society that accepts everyone no matter what they are going through.