Let me set the scene: it is currently past two in the morning as I write this, curled up in a blanket that has holes for my arms and a pouch for my feet. It sounds ridiculous and to be honest, it pains me to even admit this, but this blanket has become my best friend as of late. It is my shield against the real world, a barrier between myself and the issues I avoid facing.
But a shield can only protect so far…especially when it turns out that what you’re trying to protect yourself from lies within: On the inside I feel like a giant vortex of anxiety is whirling, gradually encompassing me whole.
When I hit a bad phase of anxiety, I have the tendency to turn into a mild insomniac. A few years ago I had serious issues with this. That was also around the time that my anxiety had reached its worst point. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically, yet my mind simply wouldn’t let me rest. I would go days with very little to no sleep at all.
Me: I didn’t get a lot of sleep this week.
My friends: Ooooh who’s the guy? 😏
As my anxiety has gradually gotten better over the years, I have started to truly feel the toll it has taken on me. In the starting stages of me feeling better, I was utterly exhausted. Yet no matter how much better my anxiety got, it was still there, bubbling under the surface, sucking up all of my energy. So, I became the person amongst my friend group known for being able to sleep anytime, anywhere. And for the most part, we all joke about it.
I laugh along like everyone else yet underneath, I do feel as though it is connected to my anxiety. It feels unnatural to be tired as much as I am on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
These past few months I have definitely been dealing with a bad patch of anxiety. I feel….drained. All I want to do is rest. Please, dear brain; Just let me rest. My head feels like a bundle of distress, too many thoughts whirling around to process. When I do finally fall asleep, I will often wake up hours later on the verge of a panic attack. And yet it never comes. This makes me wonder if what is coming is going to be far worse than what I am dealing with now. That fear is nearly as burdensome as my anxiety itself.
Right now I am feeling immense pressure from all sides. I think this is why my anxiety is ultimately as bad as it is right now. My anxiety right now is mostly induced by my constant worry about the future. A lot is going to change for me in the next year and I have never been one to deal with change easily.
Above everything, I feel this nagging pressure to be there for my friends and especially for my family. My family is dealing with a lot of sickness right now – my aunt has been dealing with cancer for the past year and my grandma also recently became seriously ill. I find myself constantly worrying about them yet there is nothing I can really do to ease their pain. I think that might be one of the worst feelings – knowing that there is nothing you can do to help them. And it is killing me on the inside. But I have to be strong – my whole family has to be. We have to be there for them and support them the best we can, yet I see the toll this has been taking on my family. Family reunions these days are underlined by sadness, worry and most of all fear of even more bad news.
There is also this guilt I carry inside, the guilt that I am not able to be there for everyone at the same time, that I am letting others down and that I have been distant towards some of my friends… Logically I know that there is only so much I can give of myself, only so much a single person can do for another without completely disregarding their own well-being. There is a fragile balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself. No matter what I do, I feel like I am failing at keeping that balance. It always seems… off.
Anxiety sure is exhausting. The mental strain it places on you sucks the energy right out. The important thing I would like to end this (very depressing) post on is that despite all of this, I have still had some beautiful, happy moments here and there. In the midst of everything I have been able to laugh, enjoy moments and feel joy. If anything can be taken from my current situation, it is that we should not underestimate those little things that can turn the day around – I certainly have come to appreciate those rare moments of happiness even more.
Should any of you reading this right now be going through something similar, please remember to take care of yourself. Don’t take those scarce moments of joy for granted. Instead, embrace them and hold on tight – you are going to need them.
If you would like to read more about anxiety in connection to constant fatigue, I highly recommend checking out this post by one of my blogging friends, Chloe. It was truly eye-opening to me and also helped me come to terms with some of my own anxiety symptoms…hence this blog post right now.