*I want to address that this post isn’t to complain about my life or ask for sympathy in any way. I’m writing this because I feel like my blog is a part of me, and I don’t want it to be a warped part that only displays the polished version of myself; I’m striving to be raw and convey how I feel even when it’s difficult. Anxiety is one of my largest struggles, and I know a lot of other people deal with it and need to hear that they aren’t alone. Sometimes the help you need is to know you’re genuinely understood, and I hope I can provide that for somebody. In “becoming” I talked about working through these issues, but now I feel called to address them in this way.*
Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of comfort in the quotation, “There is literally nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so do not expect yourself to do so.” I’m certainly not blooming right now, and I seem to never be at this time of year, my mind and body mimicking nature’s patterns.
Recently my anxiety has been a really heavy force, and I haven’t had the strength to counteract it. I’ve been super busy, without time that I need to spend by myself to read and write or do whatever I need to recharge. I’ve been having a high concentration of panic attacks, I’ve had a stunning lack of motivation and creativity, and I just feel all around gross and dull.
Anxiety is something I’m always dealing with to some extent since I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but it’s always particularly suffocating at this time of year. This is when I also get sad and drained. The constant cold and minimal hours of daylight also don’t help any; they further trap me in patterns of darkness. It’s like the motivation is sucked out of my body and I’m constantly anticipating something life-altering to happen, but I also don’t care at all.
Having anxiety SUCKS. It isn’t being a little nervous for a test or cute worrying. Nothing is good about having panic attacks even when nothing anxiety-provoking seems to be going on, to feel so horrible you can barely drag yourself out of bed when there’s no reasonable explanation, to be so worn out from all of this that you don’t even have energy to spend time with friends. There’s nothing appealing or tragically romantic about it; nobody’s choosing to live this way! It’s either sleepless nights or complete exhaustion. It’s a pounding heart and sweaty palms when all you’re doing is sitting in class. It’s feeling no spark in your heart when you think of your dreams. It wears you down and makes you feel completely inadequate.
It’s typically never obvious if you deal with anxiety or depression, and people can get uncomfortable when they find out what you’ve been dealing with and how it doesn’t align with their expectations of somebody who deals with anxiety or depression. People don’t realize that it’s not just a solid state. If you have anxiety, you can still interact with people normally; if you’re depressed, you aren’t wearing a permanent frown. I can have a perfectly fine day at school and have a panic attack when I get home. I can feel really anxious and carry on like normal, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still feeling it. I aim to keep up my personality during the day, which is easier with all of the ready distractions. I still genuinely laugh and smile and joke around my friends and feel fine during the day. It just gets super difficult when I’m on my own and my thoughts start swirling, and I can’t control how overwhelmed I feel, and nothing seems appealing except trying to brace myself against it.
Even though it’s awful, it can be key to absorb and understand what you’re feeling. It can suck to not acknowledge that it sucks— to get so familiar with the it-gets-better’s and the you’re-so-strong’s that dealing with your genuine emotions makes you feel guilty. It’s not wrong to admit that you feel awful and overwhelmed. Instead of running from your issues and searching for distractions, embrace it head on. Sit there and soak in the sadness and moments of angst you feel. Learn how you think and what makes you feel sad or full of joy, and find comfort in yourself. Write! You’ll learn so much about yourself this way. Some of my best poetry has been done at my worst times. Listen to albums and watch movies; feel the full weight of all the emotion they’re trying to convey and soak in it! (This doesn’t mean to just accept and not take action for extended periods of time.)
Dealing with the weight of anxiety saps my creativity, and if I don’t feel creative, then I just feel more dull and unmotivated because I don’t think I have anything to contribute. And when I’m constantly busy with things that aren’t necessarily stimulating to me then it’s hard for me to want to write or do anything with my mind other than shut down. But I also have my crushing anxiety that screams at me that I should be doing something, that I don’t have time to waste, etc— it’s constantly on a loop in my mind, but that just exhausts and paralyzes me into doing more of nothing.
I feel pressure from myself and the world around me to always be happy and content and ready to contribute and create. I’ve been learning that being a constant source of outpouring light isn’t possible and shouldn’t be expected. I wish I could wake up happy each day and make that last until I went to sleep. But that isn’t the case. That’s not who I am; that’s not how most people are. As much as I want to run from it, anxiety is part of me. I can’t just wish it away by thinking of the sun shining.
I don’t want to be forced through these bare seasons of crumbling, but it’s part of who I was made to be so I must learn to embrace it. It’s okay to feel crappy and soak in that for a bit, but you have to keep moving because the world doesn’t let you stop. It’s draining, and I’m not saying that I’m good at it, but I can’t completely shut down when I feel this way. You have to remind yourself that life isn’t as bad as your eyes see it right now, that things will get so much better in the spring, that the world is beautiful and full of wonder. No matter how bad you feel, you are still a beautiful flower with an infinite capacity for all that is wonderful. Push through the winter blues, and feel free to talk to me anytime.