If you don't have medically-diagnosed anxiety, it can be easy to fall into the idea that it's just a little bit of nerves or even a panic attack every now and then. But, as one woman wrote to the Love What Matters Facebook page, there are many different symptoms that come along with anxiety — symptoms that can seriously impact a person's quality of life, and are different for everyone.
"Anxiety isn't just having a hard time catching your breath," Brittany Nichole Morefield wrote to Love What Matters. "Anxiety is waking up at 3 a.m. from a dead sleep, because your heart is racing. Anxiety is breaking out in a rash for no reason. Anxiety is stressing over things that may or may not be real."
She goes on to explain that anxiety can cause people to question their faith, because how could their God allow them to feel this way? And it can impact the lives of their loved ones as well.
"Anxiety is calling your sister three hours before she gets up for work in hope she'll answer, so you can get your mind off the attack," she wrote. "Anxiety is a 2 a.m. shower. Anxiety is your mood changing, in a matter of minutes."
The mood changes, panic, fear, and worry she mentions in her post can lead to "fights with your spouse, even though you're not mad" or "snapping at the smallest annoyance," Morefield wrote. Yet, she also reminded others that their feelings are valid and real and nothing to apologise for, even when everyone is asking what's wrong and all they can say is "I don't know."
"Your feelings matter... Just because you're bothered by something others aren't, it doesn't make you crazy or worthless," Morefield wrote. "Some of the most successful people in life have anxiety. This is not your fault. This is not the end. You are strong. You are intelligent. You are brave. You are worthy."
She ends her note on the promise that she would be there for anyone who needed someone to talk to. "I'll never ever be upset if you make me your 2 a.m. phone call," she wrote.
Of course, not everyone can call Morefield directly — we don't even know her phone number — but her message isn't really about calling her, it's about feeling empowered to call someone because you know that your anxiety isn't a nuisance or a burden. And, for those of us who don't have anxiety, it's about being there for a loved one who needs to make that call.
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