For those with anxiety disorders, nothing rings more true than FDR's quote, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It is fear, worry, uncertainty that runs around in circles in out minds like a gerbil on an exercise wheel. The only difference is that it is much easier for that chubby little gerbil to hop off that wheel than it is for those of us with anxiety disorders to jump out of the mire in our minds.
Everyone faces fears and worries, but for someone with an anxiety disorder, those fears and worries become like a broken record, repeating over and over in their brain until the uncertainties have grown into certainties in their minds. For most, a fear indicates what might possibly happen, but for us, fear indicates what will probably happen, no matter how improbable it actually is.
Whether it's not knowing who touched that doorknob before us, what germs they might have been carrying, or whether we might catch something from it or it's worrying over the possibility of tornadoes, damaging hail, or flooding rains from an upcoming storm, we can become completely consumed by these worries until we are unable to focus on anything else. We prepare. We make back-up plans. We even make back-up plans for our back-up plans. In the meantime, everyone else is enjoying the shopping trip or the last of the sunny day.
We often feel alone, different, not normal. We feel as if no one else understands and like we are left holding the bag for everyone and everything as no one takes things as seriously as we do.
But we are not alone and we are not different. The number of people who suffer from anxiety disorders is greater than any of us could ever guess. The 40 million adults affected by anxiety disorders each year understand. We can all listen, support, and help each other through the good times and bad. We can all help those around us understand as well. Their love and support are more important than we sometimes acknowledge.
Through this blog, I hope to share stories of my struggle and therapy. I hope that through this, many of you who struggle with anxiety disorders will find a way to do so as well and those who do not struggle with anxiety will develop a better understanding. Through this we will all be able to find friendship and support as well as a sense of community and calm in our chaotic world and our chaotic minds.