That gnawing voice in the back of your head creating new things to worry about, the ache in your stomach when you have to do a presentation at work, the clamminess forming on your hands and brow when you have forced interactions with strangers, or maybe just the overall feeling of uncertainty... these can all be manifestations of anxiety and we may not even know it. Anxiety can eat away at you, make "easy" things harder, and cause a great deal of physical side effects if we don't manage it. Whether yours is social, general, situational, or extreme; we're gonna talk about it all and how we deal (or rather how we're trying to).
J A N E
It’s like anxiety squared—anxiety about more anxiety. Sometimes really simple tasks feel extremely daunting, like walking five blocks to the grocery store. It’s been written off as me being someone who “doesn’t like going out” or that I’m antisocial, which is not true. I just enjoy smaller gatherings, intimate dinners (probably at the same restaurants I always go to because I find familiarity comforting). My agoraphobia manifests more when I’m alone; I overthink having to leave the house, then every interaction following that. I’ve learned that it helps for me to get on the phone with a friend, make work calls, or even listen to a podcast to help get my head out of what I’m doing.
On top of this, I have generalized anxiety, which I didn’t fully understand until my 20s. I thought there was something wrong with me as a kid/teen because I would panic, worsen scenarios in my head, or freeze up so often and didn’t know why. Now at least I’m cognizant of it, which helps, but it still happens. I know all of the self-care things I should do, like call a friend and talk through it, exercise, eat better, sleep better, take a bath, read a book, go for a walk . . . but I don’t always do those things. Sometimes I just let the anxiety take over. I did that just last week and ended up with hives on my chest and crying on my floor. But after I took a step back, made a few SOS phone calls, and thought about how I can do better next time (because I’m certain there will be a next time), it feels a little less scary.
K Y N N E D I
I’m easily overwhelmed, but I’ve mastered the art of suppressing shit to deal with later. By myself. With the exception of my aunt, who can rationalize my crazy alarmingly fast.
I’m an anxious bitch by nature, but I haven’t been formally diagnosed. I’ve never even seen a real therapist. Sing it with me: “BAGGGG LADYYYY.” headphones emoji
To get me to calm down as a kid, my mom would tell me, “Don’t let it steal your joy.”
Every time I would get excited as a kid, I would throw up:
My 7th birthday party
Mom’s best friends’ wedding
Another birthday party
Bottom line? I have a crippling fear of terrible shit happening and falling down a rabbit hole of depression and misfortune and dying alone and never being good enough and everyone hating me. It’s easier to think of the worst possible scenario as an anxious bitch, but let’s be real, y’all . . .
That’s not okay. We shouldn’t have to live in constant angst. Whether it be yoga, meditation, art, music, SEX, or WEED, find more ways to relax your mind and body.
J O R D A N
I listen to Amy Winehouse when I get anxious, but that sends me into a whirlwind of sadness because I miss her so much.
My dog was supposed to help me with my anxiety, but all he does is piss me off.
Rosé Rosé Rosé Rosé
If you don’t email me back within
15–20 minutes, I assume I’ve offended you and I’m sorry.
Once I got the spins because I realized I was the only woman in a meeting.
I love writing, but it came out of necessity. I hated reading out loud, having conversations, and generally letting anyone hear my voice because I stutter, now known as Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder (which, I think, is a much better term because it’s really a fluency disorder; “stutter,” in my opinion, makes people sound dumb). This is what led me to writing. I had to figure out how to communicate with people without talking, but that isn’t an actual way to live life. Sure as hell tried, though. It’s caused me to have a huge fear of presenting to a large group of people, which is a big chunk of my day job. Growing up, teachers suggested speech therapy, but I couldn’t afford a regular speech therapist, so I had to figure it out. I went on YouTube and just watched a bunch of people.
People notice that I stretch out my words when I talk, almost like I’m slowing myself down before it starts. When I find myself stuck on a word when reading, I skip the word and just give a synonym and make a self-deprecating joke to avoid anyone correcting me, like I don’t know what it is.
I can read, hoe; just can’t talk.
I’ve had clients ask me not to present because my stutter is “distracting and unprofessional.” I didn’t present at work for like two weeks after that because I was so shook.
I still have trouble getting my words out, and it’s really scary because the one thing people don’t want to be seen as is dumb.
It’s like YouTube taught me: