Anxiety isn't an uncommon topic. Everyone knows what it means to feel anxious about an exam or worried about a loved one or stressed out because life is busy.
But there are so many things about actually being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that continues to baffle many and there's still a pretty big stigma around the condition.
There seems to be this theory that my anxiety looks like yours.
There's this idea of what anxiety should be and when it should happen, and it all gets tied up inside a box with a neat little bow and put away until disaster strikes.
But anxiety doesn't limit itself to obvious disaster. It takes every opportunity it can find to creep inside and ruin my day.
Anxiety lives in wet towels on the bathroom floor and messy rooms. Anxiety waits for me in my unmade bed and the pile of laundry that isn't clean.
It lives in every moment in which control lies just outside my reach and it uninvitedly comes with me wherever I go.
Anxiety lurks in every minor symbol of chaos and turns the mundane into a panicked frenzy. It has this ability to turn every mistake into colossal failure and every simple conversation into complex, over-analyzed humiliation.
It turns jokes into tears and every outing into inconvenience until every breath I take becomes labored. It drains every single ounce of joy from my bones and doesn't give me a moments notice.
It doesn't always make sense and it doesn't always allow me to control it. Anxiety is rude that way.
Some days I can fight it off — some days I anticipate a panic attack and I push it off for as long as possible until I reach the safety of crumbling into a ball under the covers.
But some days anxiety doesn't care that it isn't a convenient time for me to have a mental breakdown and I succumb to this thing in my brain that tells me nothing is going to be okay.
Some days anxiety wins.
Some days I lose to the chemical imbalance inside my own head and I don't get to control my feelings, even if I know they are irrational. Some days anxiety just beats logic.
Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard I try, I just can't relax. I can't 'just calm down' and sometimes I can't do anything but wait for anxiety to loosen its siphoning grip on me.
After doing the research, speaking to the professionals, and comparing myself to others, one thing seems to ring true.
Every single person experiences anxiety differently.
You don't have my brain or the same chemical imbalance going on up there. You don't have my personality, and you've never stepped foot in my shoes.
So, you tell me, is your anxiety the same as mine?
For more from RC, visit her writer's page here.