Women with anxiety are not the same as the rest of us…
She’s strong because she’s always battling her anxiety. It’s telling her that she’s weak to run away. That she should be quiet and hide away. That she should just stay in bed all day.
Sometimes, she listens to the voice of fear. But mostly, she finds the strength to disregard it. She finds the power to walk out her door, to meet friends and even to smile, even though she doesn’t feel like it.
She turns up, even if she’s shaking. She talks, even if her voice cracks a bit. She keeps breathing, even if they are more like pants.
Let’s face it, most of us would simply cancel their plans, turn down engagements with friends, skip appointments, call in sick — and sometimes, she does. Sometimes it is all too much for her to handle, just the idea of being around people freaks her out.
However, most days she just gets on with what she has to do. She gets up before everyone else. She gets showered and dressed. And she gets on with her day.
At times she does get distracted during the day. Don’t we all! But for her, the smallest thing can send her mind reeling into the “what if’s” and “have they noticed”. A strange look from someone on the school run. A simple “how are you” can do it. The train stopping or even a small traffic jam can do it. But she does it anyway.
Women with anxiety feel self-conscious but…
She is constantly self-conscious, but she carries on anyway. She ignores the fact that she thinks everyone is staring at her, thinking critical thoughts about her, and she forces herself to get stuff done. She pushes herself to concentrate on what needs doing.
She doesn’t let her gloomy, negative thoughts obscure the positive ones. She endeavours to do the best she can.
Sometimes there are times when her anxiety makes her feel weak, as though she is somehow less than the other people in the room. They all seem to be able to chat to strangers like they’ve known them for years.
She may feel like she’s weak and a failure, but it’s simply not true. She’s a fighter. A doer. A survivor. But although she knows it, she doesn’t believe it!
She makes a massive effort, and it is hard. She puts in so much energy, and she has done sooo much.
Some women with anxiety don’t even step outside their comfort zone — but she’s outside of her comfort zone nearly every day. She’s either worried about what people think, or how she’s acting, or if she looks anxious. She feels anxious most of the time. She always feels nervous about what might happen.
Women with anxiety carry on regardless
It’s because she carries on every day regardless, that her confidence is growing a tiny bit each day. With every success, it builds a little bit.
Of course, she has difficulties sometimes. She might not say anything for hours. Perhaps have the odd duvet day and doesn’t shower that day, but sometimes she surprises herself when she feels confident, and life seems easy. If only every day were like that!
What she doesn’t know is that she is incredibly tough. After all, she accomplishes most things she has to do, despite her anxiety. Those of us without anxiety have no idea the struggle that she undertakes every day. A struggle that most of us couldn’t take.
Not only does she struggle, but she actually wins most days.
I see men and women that are “anxiety fighters” every day and I hate it. I despise the fact that they are having to experience fear most days, but there is hope. In fact, the people I see always have hope, otherwise, they wouldn’t be seeing me. I don’t just give them tools to cope (everyone does that), I help them to remove the underlying anxiety and then eradicate the feelings of fear.
If you would like to know more about how I treat anxiety please visit my main anxiety page.