What is it Like….

….To have anxiety?

It’s the shark lurking under the water.  You know it’s there-somewhere.  But, you don’t know if or when it will.

It’s the fears of nothing that keep you awake at night.  

It’s worrying constantly about the future.  And the past.  And the present.  Hell, it’s worrying constantly about everything. No matter how small or stupid.  

It’s being afraid and overwhelmed in a new place or situation.  This is also true for brain injury.  It’s not always anxiety that causes difficulties.  There can be physical issues as well- or the brain not perceiving and responding correctly to new situations.  Often familiarity is our best place in terms of function. 

It’s being anxious about being anxious.  

It’s being anxious about having another panic attack.

It’s being afraid of looking/doing something “stupid” or that draws attention to yourself.  Like having a panic attack. Or seizure.

It’s being worried about social situations.

It’s constant exhaustion- mentally, emotionally, physically (also a brain injury thing)

It’s struggling to get out of bed some days: never mind doing something productive. (Another brain injury thing).

It’s fighting to look and be “normal.”  


Anxiety is common after brain injury.  The brain isn’t physically working right.  Sensory and mental stimulation can be overwhelming.  Just thinking can be hard. Many fight with physical pain or having part (s) of thr body no longer functioning fully.  Communication can be hard- for example, aphasia.  Brain injury and anxiety symptoms often overlap.  Yet, they are different. 

When I was first injured, I had trouble understanding pretty much anything.  Everything came through a haze of sludge and pain.  My body naturally went into fight or flight mode.  I then fought for recovery.  I dealt with the anxiety of being worried about if I’d ever heal again and be what I was before.  The world was (and still is) too loud, too bright, too fast.  Doing anything in public was anxiety provoking.  Things are better now.  I function better and am much more independent .  Sensory overload isn’t quite as bad now.  This is good.

But, I still have anxiety.

Everyone gets anxious at some point in their lives.  It is magnified for someone with an anxiety disorder. Think about the time in your life that you were the most anxious and what it felt like.  Now live with that feeling every day.  Some days are better than others.  Some days you don’t feel anxious at all.  Until you are.  It is like that.  Sometimes the anxiety comes for no real reason.  

It’s not something we can “just stop.”  Trust me, I wish I could.  


2 responses to “What is it Like….

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