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This Is What Anxiety Feels Like

06/03/2015 05:54 pm ET | Updated Jun 03, 2016
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"There's a misconception that anxious people are antisocial, short-fused or over-dramatic. But they're most likely processing everything around them so intensely that they can't handle a lot of questions, people or heavy information all at once. Anxiety is when you feel everything." -- Katie Crawford

Anxiety is debilitating. It feels like a constant heaviness in your mind; like something isn't quite right, although oftentimes you don't know exactly what that something is.

It feels like acid in your stomach, burning and eating away at the emptiness and taking away any feelings of hunger. It's like a tight knot that you can't untwist.

Anxiety feels like your mind is on fire, overthinking and over analyzing every little, irrelevant thing. Sometimes, it makes you feel restless and constantly distracted. It feels as if your thoughts are running wild in a million different directions, bumping into each other along the way.

Other times, it makes you feel detached, as if your mind has gone blank and you are no longer mentally present. You dissociate and feel as if you have left your own body.

Anxiety feels like there is a voice in the back of your mind telling you that everything is not okay, when everything in fact is. Sometimes the voice tells you that there is something wrong with you and that you are different from everybody else.

It tells you that your feelings are bad and a burden to the world and that you should isolate. It makes everyday tasks, such as making simple decisions, incredibly difficult.

Anxiety can keep you up at night -- tossing and turning. It's like a lightbulb that comes on at the most inconvenient times and won't switch off. Your body feels exhausted, but your mind feels wide awake and racing. You go through the events of your day, analyzing and agonizing over every specific detail.

Anxiety is a liar, although it feels incredibly real.

Listening to it will not make it go away. You need to resist it. Fight it. Don't let it win.

So let it speak.

Hear out all the worries and irrational concerns. The simple act of listening to it will show you that you are not it. Let it rant and rave and panic and cry. Let it tell you everything it's thinking. And then you choose.

You choose whether or not you'll listen to it, or to the more peaceful voice that says not to. It only defines you if it becomes the only voice you listen to. It only defines you until you realize that it is a piece of your mind, not the whole. And that can be hard to see, when those fear thoughts are engulfing your whole being in flames. It can be hard to realize there's a choice, when you feel like everything is burning.

The first moment is the hardest, and the hardest things are the most truthful. So let your anxiety speak. Let it air its grievances with you and what you've done. When all its worries are on the table, you decide how you play the cards.

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