If you’ve ever had anxiety you know exactly what I’m talking about. When I first heard this notion after speaking to a friend about her own experience, I never thought of a hug wrecking someone. I literally laughed out loud. What? A hug? But, after the laughter, I immediately related to it and knew that I had to talk about this quiet but savage massacre of physical and mental reactions that affect over 18% of adults!
We all experience anxiety at least a few times in our lives. We get anxious about having to make a big decision, taking a test, or experiencing problems with a co-worker, etc. However, for those that suffer anxiety disorders these feelings do not go away.
The feelings, they stay. They sit inside and wait.
They wait for the perfect opportunity for you to make your next move towards being and doing the normal things people do every day. Like meeting a friend for coffee, giving a work presentation, walking your kids to the bus stop, and even just starting your day with a shower.
All these “normal” molehill tasks that some take for granted, can actually seem like Mount Kilimanjaro to those with anxiety.
The Serial Killer Among Us
Like a virus that lies dormant and decides to make an appearance at any moment – anxiety is like a serial killer. It watches, waits takes notes, and creeps up slowly, becoming stronger, braver, taking over and then…
SMACK!!!!!!!!!!! It punches you right in the chest. It holds on and squeezes you with a tight, heavy grip.
It’s like a large mallet smashing you right in the heart, crushing you, weighing down on you and then after one final gasp of air – taking your breath away and leaving you frozen, unable to move or speak. Sometimes it leaves you shaking with fear or wanting to scream at the top of your lungs with frustration that’s been trapped and can’t break free.
Meanwhile, in your head, it’s like a three-ring circus colliding with a monster truck rally. Emotions running rampant, scattering throughout you in no specific pattern, just wildly running, taking over your entire self and suffocating you.
Hugs & Anxiety Don’t Mix
So what does all this have to do with a hug? Well, anxiety is fear, and a hug is love. And, well as you know, the two just don’t mix. They don’t ever make plans to meet up and hang out. They despise each other.
A hug to someone experiencing an anxiety attack or crisis means the walls that are already closing in around you are getting closer, the suffocation you feel only gets worse, and the sharp emotions of anger and fear are piercing you further creating a deeper cut with every inch more of a hug.
You see when an anxiety attack appears, all you want is freedom.
Anxiety is debilitating. And, most times you don’t know when it’s coming. It also shows up in different ways – it’s sneaky like that. You might not even recognize it. But, it’s real and present even when others can’t see it.
However, there is a way out. There is help.
YOU CAN OVERCOME IT.
It’s Time To Move On
You can break free from the feelings of wanting to crawl into a corner, bury your head and never come out.
And, how you ask? By breathing through the pain. By doing things you enjoy, connecting with other humans all while waiting out the pain, the attack. Because really – what else is there?
You’re not living if you isolate. You’re not living if you avoid. You’re not living if you give up. You’re not living if you cancel plan after plan after plan. You’re not living if you can’t commit.
So, get up, get out, tell a friend, tell a loved one. Explain to them what’s going on when an attack comes on, so they can understand and just be there to support you through the storm (no hugs please!).
Let them in and tell anxiety to F-off!
Once the storm clears, pick up, carry on and keep going. Keep living and don’t give up. Don’t let your anxiety stop you from living, from being.
So What’s In It For You?
If you get anything from reading this, my hope is that you can at least relate and know that you are not alone. You are not the only one and it’s going to be OK. You will overcome this and you will go on.
You will not stop facing challenges, that I can promise, but if you get help and tell a friend, a loved one or a professional they can get you through the anxiety storm.
And, maybe that hug won’t seem so bad after all!
What are you going to do today to live? What are you going to commit to and follow through? Who will you tell? How will begin again?