Mental illness makes you do a lot of things that people would deem “stupid”. They may sound melodramatic to an outsider, but to someone actually experiencing them, they are frustrating and terrifying. Many people do not understand that.
Here is a list of brief explanations for some of the things we do:
Freaking out about nothing
When anxiety strikes, especially during an anxiety or panic attack, almost everything becomes overly stimulating- we get very overwhelmed by the things around us even if it may seem like nothing. Because we’re so overwhelmed by the sounds and sights around us, our mind becomes unable to process information properly. We may not be able to understand simple concepts, sometimes even full sentences, and we cannot think rationally.
One moment we seem okay and the next thing you know, we have disappeared because we have run away. We might be in the toilet or a quiet spot so that we remove ourselves from overwhelming situations and/or hide out of embarrassment.
Self-harm is not about attention. It is an unhealthy coping mechanism we have developed over time. It makes us feel better for awhile, but it is a temporary fix and does not solve the root of the problem. We get so desperate for a respite from anxiety that we resort to self-harm. An addiction then forms as self-harm becomes the only thing that can calm us. There are a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms that we employ for the sense of relief, such as alcohol or drug abuse.
Backing out of plans at the last minute
It is annoying for you. We know that. and we do not like it either, but there are times that we know we will not be able to cope with social interaction and the “outside world”. Cancelling plans are frustrating and annoying for us too, but it is necessary to avoid an attack that comes together with not just fear, but shame and humiliation as well. At times, we do not even dare to get out of bed.
Unable to express ourselves
The feeling we get is difficult to explain and cannot be imagined by someone who has not experienced it firsthand. Furthermore, when we’re having an attack, holding a proper conversation is close to impossible. Apart from not being able to concentrate or process your words, we seem to be unable to speak coherently in a way that makes sense to others.
We are tired all the time
Having fear on your mind for the entire day is taxing. What is even worse is that we know those fears are irrational and we try so hard to make ourselves behave otherwise. We often do not sleep well either, which only adds to the mental and physical exhaustion.
We lose our train of thought often
Anxiety is very distracting and can cause us to forget what we were talking about in the first place. Sometimes, we do not even remember what we are talking about completely.
The list could go on, but I shall stop here for today.
Note that these are based on my experience and what friends with an anxiety disorder have shared. This list may not represent the views of every single person with anxiety.
References, Links & Sources