Far more regularly than I would like to admit, I roll over in the middle of the night, glance at the clock and then like an unwanted house guest darkness enters my thoughts. My initial reaction is to slam the door- for this guest is no mere stranger. No- not a stranger at all, in fact not even a guest at all- more appropriately termed a roommate. A roommate that nestles into the very forefront of my mind, pulls up a seat on my couch and turns on the music so loud I can’t hear my own thoughts anymore.
The sleep thief, the self doubt, the paranoia, the panic, the embezzler of optimism and hope- Anxiety.
We go way back. At thirteen I watched someone I love struggle with the invisible culprit, only to succumb to its lies. The lies that convince us that the devastation is just around the hallway- even though no evidence of it’s existence is present.
She believed it, she acted on it, miracles happened, that wasn’t her end-she lived. I watched the build up to the climax, I saw the battle, I witnessed the fall, but most importantly I watched the reconstruction, the beautiful revival and then…Right when I heard anxiety start to knock on my door, I forgot the lessons, the experience, and the truths.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness affecting nearly 18% of adults residing in the United States. Yet despite these astonishing numbers, nearly tw0-thirds of those that suffer never seek treatment. Mostly everyone will experience some variant of anxiety. Nervousness and stress are familiar foes when presented with a situation that is unexpected, or out of the realm for daily life activities.
These feelings are not entirely bad, in fact, anxiety is the driving force to helping us see potential danger, prepare for life events, and other positive constructs. Other cases, however, experience excessive worry that is so forceful that it begins to control daily life and even alter it. That’s me.