How It Feels Like To Have an Anxiety Disorder

teenage girl with anxiety
I'll polish this up in July

I think I have an anxiety disorder, but a type of anxiety disorder but a type of anxiety disorder not on the Mind, NHS or Anxiety UK website. It’s more like maxxing anxiety. If I’m not maxxing, I’m not living life. I ALWAYS have to be maximising my life. I’ll explain.

What I value in life

I value 2 things in life.

  • Personal development (adding value to myself as an individual independant of other people) (writing 2 novels, making an album, reading a book, making a website)
  • Social development (the value I get that comes from other people (making a friend, being headhunted for jobs, getting social proof, girls finding me attractive, being interviewed)

Symptoms

Colours spinning

One time my brother invited me to go outside with his friends so I would go outside the house. I asked him who was going there and what place they were going to, then I knew that I would not enjoy going, as my sort of people would be there. But the way I see it, nothing ventured nothing gained. If I’m not being rejected, then I’m not approaching to my full potential, (as I’m only approaching easy people or people similar to me and not practising my social skills). So I went anyway.

When I got there, the table layout was terrible. It was a long line, not conductive to socialising. Me and my brother were far away from each other. The person on my left was talking to the person on their left. The person on the right was talking to the person on their right. I could not enter their conversations as I could tell by their body language that it was a private conversation. I had to speak to the person on the left of the person on my left or something like that. He had dismissive body language, he didn’t want to know, his tone sounded condescending. So I aborted the conversation and sat like a loner staring into space for about 10-15 seconds.

And then the white lights above me started spinning around, and then the colours below. The colours in the room were spinning around so fast, that I could see the trails like Sonic the Hedgehog running. I started to feel really bad, I can’t explain in words how I felt, it wasn’t a standard fear or standard panic reaction, it was something else. For my own health and safety I ran out the room.

The room spinning or the colours spinning is a symptom of anxiety.

My hands and feet are always cold

Yes my hands and feet are always cold, no matter how hot it is.

My hands are always dry and cold

When I use moisturing cream for my hands, they always go dry again in 30 minutes, no matter how many times in the day I use them.

Dry mouth

Sometimes my mouth is dry, not all the time, but rarely.

I had selective mutism as a young child and still have it now

Selective mutism is an anxiety that renders someone unable to talk in certain situations, no matter how much they want to talk, they are physically unable to do it. I still have that now as an adult, I remember having it when I was 22 or 23 on antipsychotic medication (which also treats anxiety).

I get withdrawal symptoms (trembling voice, can’t stand still I’m shaking) if I am not doing anything fun or constructive with my life

I spend all day every day working on personal projects, client work or socialising. Always trying to be maxxing my life, but more specifically personal projects. When I was a young child, my Dad told me to spend a whole day without doing any BI (personal projects). Back then we didn’t have a computer, I wrote everything on paper. I woke up at 6am or 7am. At 11am or noon I started to get withdrawal symptoms as if I was taking cocaine or something. I could not stand still, I was shaking. Also my voice was trembling.

Fear of approaching people and fear of rejection

I get anxiety of approaching people sometimes because I fear rejection, and rejection gives me an anxious response. I have to FORCE myself to approach people. I can do it, but it just takes me extra time than everyone else.

Part 2

So I’ve explained my symptoms, the what, but people are going to want to know, the how. How does my anxiety disorder feel like, and what is the emotional mechanism that causes my emotions to change, in the context of my anxiety disorder?

Before one learns about anxiety (disorder), one must learn that a such thing exists as an addictive personality. (My friend taught me about that.) That doesn’t mean that a person’s personality is addictive to other people as if they’re charming or have a strong presence. It means that a person has a type of personality that is prone to being addicted to drugs. (If you ask me, I think it should be called an addiction personality.) What most people don’t know, that I do know because I researched online, is that not everyone gets addicted to drugs. There is a genetic predisposition that makes someone prone to being addicted to drugs, and not just drugs, they also exhibit certain behaviours in their lives and certain personality traits. I feel that before I continue, that I explain from what I researched online, to highlight how much of that applies to me.

What is an addictive personality?

Well it has the following symptoms

  • Low self-esteem
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Difficulty focusing on long-term goals due to preoccupation with getting through short-term goals
  • Insecurity in relationships
  • Acting on impulses, not thinking things through before acting
  • Inability to delay gratification
  • Rebelliousness
  • Sensitivity to emotional stress
  • Difficulty handling frustrating situations
  • May have some type of depression or anxiety
  • Spending inordinate amount of time on a behavior because of a feeling of necessity, not desire
  • Trust issues
  • Constantly seeking approval of others
http://archive.is/9OgEQ
  • A high sense of stress in their lives
  • Low self-esteem
  • A feeling of alienation from others
  • They valued nonconformity
  • They tended to act impulsively
  • They found it hard to delay gratification
  • Prone to attention seeking behavior
  • Highly insecure in relationships
  • Usually suffer from depression or anxiety
  • Antisocial tendencies
  • High tolerance for deviance 
http://archive.is/Vc0u8

People who suffer from an addictive personality spend excessive time on a behavior or with an item, not as a hobby but because they feel they have to.[11]Addiction can be defined when the engagement in the activity or experience affects the person’s quality of life in some way. In this way, many people who maintain an addictive personality isolate themselves from social situations in order to mask their addiction.[12]

People that face this issue are currently defined to have a “brain disease” as promoted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and other authorities.[13]People who experience addictive personality disorders typically act on impulses and cannot deal with delayed gratification.[12] At the same time, people with this type of personality tend to believe that they do not fit into societal norms and therefore, acting on impulses, deviate from conformity to rebel.[11] People with addictive personalities are very sensitive to emotional stress. They have trouble handling situations that they deem frustrating, even if the event is for a very short duration. The combination of low self-esteem, impulsivity and low tolerance for stress causes these individuals to have frequent mood swings and often suffer from some sort of depression.[12] A coping mechanism to deal with their conflicting personality becomes their addiction and the addiction acts as something that the person can control when they find it difficult to control their personality traits.[12]

People with addictive personalities typically switch from one addiction to the next.[14] These individuals may show impulsive behavior such as excessive caffeine consumption, Internet use, eating chocolate or other sugar-laden foods, television watching, or even running.[1]

Extraversion, self-monitoring, and loneliness are also common characteristics found in those who suffer from addiction.[15][16] Individuals who score high on self-monitoring are more prone to developing an addiction.[15][16] High self-monitors are sensitive to social situations;[15][16] they act how they think others expect them to act. They wish to fit in, hence they are very easily influenced by others. Likewise, those who have low self-esteem also seek peer approval; therefore, they participate in “attractive” activities such as smoking or drinking to try to fit in.[15][16]

People with addictive personalities find it difficult to manage their stress levels. In fact, lack of stress tolerance is a telltale sign of the disorder.[17] They find it difficult to face stressful situations and fight hard to get out of such conditions. Long-term goals prove difficult to achieve because people with addictive personalities usually focus on the stress that comes with getting through the short-term goals.[17] Such personalities will often switch to other enjoyable activities the moment that they are deprived of enjoyment in their previous addiction.[17]

Addictive individuals feel highly insecure when it comes to relationships. They may often find it difficult to make commitments in relationships or trust their beloved because of the difficulty they find in achieving long-term goals.[1] They constantly seek approval of others and as a result, these misunderstandings may contribute to the destruction of relationships. People suffering from addictive personality disorder usually undergo depression and anxiety, managing their emotions by developing addiction to alcohol, other types of drugs, or other pleasurable activities.[1]

An addict is more prone to depression, anxiety, and anger.[16] Both the addict’s environment, genetics and biological tendency contribute to their addiction.[16] People with very severe personality disorders are more likely to become addicts. Addictive substances usually stop primary and secondary neuroses, meaning people with personality disorders like the relief from their pain.[16]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addictive_personality

So I cannot deal with delayed gratification or delayed feedback. I have to have instant feedback every minute of every day. A lot of the things Jumanne does, the way he lives his life, involved him getting delayed gratification. When he does role play with his friends for 1-3 hours, he has to wait over an hour for him to see his expected result in the game. When he does magic shows, he has to do a long setup that lasts over 30 minutes, do the magic tricks in the form of a story, before he even does the magic trick or the finale of the magic trick.

I’m sure that those are good activities and I would find some sort of enjoyment out of them, but considering how my anxiety disorder gives me an addictive personality, and I CANNOT deal or cope with delayed gratification (and am impulsive with poor self control), I have to do other things I prefer doing. That’s why I like being on the computer. It’s not the computer itself per se that I like, but when I type something in on the keyboard or click something on the mouse, there is an instant gratification. I don’t have to wait bloody ages (over 5 minutes or less) for something I want to happen, to happen.

Even socially with people I have to have instant feedback. I am a clingy person who blows up people’s phones all day every day. When I talk to people online or have friends afk, I always have to send them messages all day every day. As people afk have work and other commitments, that’s why I like talking to people online, not just because I can practise my social skills with people of different cultures, personalities and life experiences who are allistic, but because people I talk to online tend to ALWAYS be online!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s good for me xD

When I was a child I loved Lego. In fact I loved the lego the most out of the four kids living in the house. I even got Lego CDs. In fact it was my idea for Mum to buy Lego CD-Roms. I got Lego Creator and Lego Racers, and Jumanne joined in my good idea and got Lego Rock Racers. I can’t remember if we got it for christmas or outside a celebratory day. However as much as I enjoyed building the Lego Racers car that took me at least 30 minutes, I also complained about why I have to assemble it myself and why can’t it come already assembled. “Building it yourself is what makes it fun” Jumanne said. Shermarl said the same thing to me when I complained about the same thing years later me as an adult, when he was building things with Lego.

I know what you’re thinking! What happens if I do things that involve delayed gratification? Well that gives me anxiety and if I was to continue doing those things I would get mental health problems like me shaking, not being able to stay still, a trembling voice, feeling emptiness, low mood, and the worst case scenario is that the colours in the room would start spinning around really fast so fast they have the trails (all symptoms of anxiety), so I would have to run out the room for my own health and safety. I’m sure some other effects would happen as well, but as I never knew I had anxiety disorder until the 5th of June, I never really thought about it, to be able to consider that my feelings or reactions to normal everyday things is not normal.

Oh wait! I’m explaining the what, aren’t I? I need to explain the how. How does it feel like.

Well I have an energetic brain. My brain is more up. If I was to sit at home all day every day every day watching youtube and netflix, I would get depression. I have to do things to keep my mind active. That is why I’m always working on personal projects and client work, and why I like working in jobs, including 9 to 5 jobs (not just freelance or remote jobs). I always need something to do to keep my mind active and I need structure in my life so I am always looking for new things to put in my Google Calendar so I have places to go all the time.

When I worked in retail for 2 weeks for Marks & Spencer, I very much hated it. My only job on my 2 week work trial was to stack shelves as I am not allowed to handle money at the till unless I’m an employee. Most of the day there was nothing to do, contrary to what the manager says (and the supervisors below the manager who PRETEND that they did work all day and was stuff to do when they did nothing because there was nothing to do all day). All the food was stacked most days at 9:30am or 10:00am and there was nothing to do all day and I could leave at 5pm. What I hated the MOST is that I found it patronising. When there’s nothing to do, you have to do standards by making everything on the shelves is arranged properly and bring it to the front and make it straight. However if a manager catches you doing this, you get in big trouble for not working, but if you are not working you are supposed to do standards. So it doesn’t matter what you do, you are wrong for doing it anyway. It’s a Catch 22.

They didn’t care about their employees, due to how patronising they are to them and how the head office in London makes them work a 14 hours a week zero hours contract that is impossible to live off or get a credit card for unreliable hours. So they talk about how they’re Fairtrade with fashion and clothes and how they use renewable material and make all their food and can trace every ingredient back to the farm as they own the farms too, but all they are doing is VIRTUE SIGNALLING. If they truly cared, the head office in London would give them regular and guaranteed hours, and the manager in one Birmingham branch would treat their employees better. Their profit model is to maximise as much money out the customer as possible, and to maximise as much money out the employee’s wages as possible.

If I spend enough time not doing anything, I start to go a bit insane. When I explain how I feel when this happens due to not doing anything, other people find it very strange. Well this is my normal. I start to go infinitely recursive inside my own mind. So instead of absorbing all the stimuli from the world around me and being a functional and socialable person, I start to mentally go reclusive inside my own mind so I forget about the world, creating a fictional mind inside my mind with lots more thoughts whizzing around it (more thoughts than people who know I always have something new to talk about, think I have). But eventually that mind inside my mind I’ve just created (level 1), becomes stale as I’ve been in it for too long. So eventually I create a mind inside that mind, and later on a mind inside that mind, and a mind inside that mind for me to mentally live in. Eventually I go a bit mad after going recursive inside my brain enough (or so many (less than 5) ) times, so I am either forced to continue doing so because of the nature of my situation (and maybe start hearing voices), or I force myself to overcome my selective mutism through me not having a choice so I approach someone say hello and be socialable, or I run out the room for my own health and safety.

“Do you want to sunbathe on the beach with us?”
“And do what?”
“Just soak in the sun”
“I can’t do that. I’ll get a chair, bring it here, so I can sit down next you lot, then we can chat.”
“Do you ever relax?”
“No. I can’t relax. I just can’t relax. I always have to do something.”
And then someone else chimes in the conversation “No he never relaxes. But you should try it some time. Just free your mind of everything in life and let go, for just 10 minutes or an hour. Try it Adisa. It’s fun!” and the person smiles at me.
“……………….No I just can’t do it. I’ll go mad.”

What triggers my anxiety? 

  • Lack of personal development
  • Lack of social development
  • Lack of instant gratification
  • Loneliness

As explained in Part 1. I don’t need to repeat myself.

What does my anxiety feel like?

A couple of months ago I was looking at videos about anxiety, particularly from vloggers (video bloggers), because I didn’t know much about it and because there are lots of anxiety disorders, so they could explain it (and their experiences and feelings) from their perspective. I found the following video very explanatory.

LIVING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY

Although I have selective mutism (a type of social anxiety), people say that I’m very outgoing, very extroverted and very socialable, and I went to 5 schools and was popular in 3 of them and bullied in 2 of them. People think that I am confident and good socially (even if I am eccentric with off-key behaviour that people view as different and people my entire life have asked me if I have been taking drugs).

Me: Someone on vent said I’m lucky for being outgoing

Girl: You are. It’s very hard to find.

I didn’t know that.

You learn a lot of new things

It’s hard to give an exact number, but I think I’ve only met 3 people who are more outgoing than me. One was eccentric and funny, every week he made funny jokes.

Yeah it’s pretty rare, especially with all the abuse the world gives off.

Why would abuse make someone more quiet? But I have nothing people want as I’m not successful, famous of have money

But you are smart and confident and happy. That’s why no one really abuses or bullies you because they know it won’t affect you, like people like me!

If I had money, or fame or some success I would understand, but I’m not some dj who works 1 day a week making big money meeting celebrities for “pressing play”. I’ve been bullied in 2 schools and I hated it but I took it better than most. I’ve cried around 4 times in 5 years. I’ll have a think about that.

I’ve been bullied my whole life. It sucks. I usually don’t cry, but all together, it still hurts!

I will quote from earlier on in my diary.

I think it was clear to him as he must have interviewed people before, that we were both confident, but that she was an extrovert and that I am an introvert. I am an introvert. I have no problem talking to people, but being talkative and starting conversations with people is not something that I do.

You know what? I’ve not really talked much about my selective mutism in my diary. Maybe I should. I didn’t write much about it as it doesn’t happen much any more (even years ago), and when I looked it up online, my selective mutism appeared to be more of a textbook case than a version that deviated from the “disorder norm”.

I think I will talk about my selective mutism now. I wouldn’t really call it social anxiety, as I don’t have all the trappings of social anxiety that people and websites speak of.

When I was in primary school, I did not talk to people, did not approach to people, never spoken to anyone unless prompted, and was a complete loner in the playground. Because of this, all the teachers in the school thought I was autistic because selective mutism is associated with autism. The teacher tried to give me friends by making me spend time with each friendship group, but each time afterwards when the teacher asked me if I liked those friends, I said “no I don’t want to be friends with them” which SOME people interpreted it as I didn’t want friends, but the teachers who are trained to spot mental disorders including anxiety and autism, knew that I was too shy to say yes, and my anxiety was so severe that I could not be helped. For that reason I was given a mentor to have conversations with. I would be taken out of my lesson to speak to the mentor on a one to one basis. He would ask me questions and I would answer them. I was given an IQ test and various different tests like putting picture cards in order, playing Guess Who (commonly used in speech therapy and helping kids to overcome selective mutism or social anxiety), and other things. Also my mum took me to various tests like an eye test, hearing test, IQ test and all sorts of tests I was too young to know what every test was. At home and outside I could speak, just not in school.

Also in some certain situations I find hard to say or assert my rights. I find it hard to be assertive. I just clam up and say nothing, even if I should say something, at some or most of the time I should be assertive. I have problems approaching people, and I have to walk away then walk back (to punish me for being shy as a motivation) and bite my inner cheek as a punishment, before I can walk up to them and say what I want to say, even if I know the person or in some cases if we’re friends or the person likes me. I even go without certain things or not say things I should say and miss out on certain things.


What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety is the term used to describe a high level of shyness. Of course everyone feels shy or anxious in certain social environments, but for some people it can be a little more extreme. When this is the case it has a very debilitating affect on their lives and stops them doing the things they would like to. For example it may affect their confidence to go to college or work and impact on their confidence to make friends and enjoy their hobbies. 

Situations that people often experience social anxiety in include:

  • Public speaking
  • Talking to authority figures
  • Talking to a group of people or an individual
  • Eating in public
  • Any performance based situations

When in such situations, people can often experience many uncomfortable physical symptoms of anxiety.
These include:

  • Butterflies in their stomach
  • A rapid heart beat
  • Blushing
  • Sweating

They often worry that others will notice these symptoms and judge them negatively as a result. Socially anxious people often feel under the spotlight and believe that everyone is thinking badly of them. They often hold beliefs that they are no good socially, are boring, and that they have nothing interesting to contribute. After social events, they tend to pick out parts that they believe went poorly and ‘beat themselves up’ over them.

To cope with social anxiety, people tend to avoid social situations if possible (e.g. pubs, canteens, queues etc). If they can’t avoid them, they tend to try and stay in the background and attract as little attention to themselves as possible (e.g. say very little).

http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/shynesssocialphobia.asp

social anxiety // infinityymo

Monica says in her video

“This next question is a really good one. How do you explain to your friends how it is and how it affects you? ………. Okay I saw this thing on tumblr once, and it said that feeling when you are just about to lean back in your chair and fall over, or when you miss a step. That feeling, it happens to you, except all the time. It’s hard to explain how somebody, who doesn’t have anxiety, what it feels like. But that’s a start.”


I would not describe how my anxiety (disorder) feels in that way. Here is how I would explain it.

“What’s wrong?”
“Everything?”
“What do you mean.”
“Everything is coming at me at once.”
“What sort of things.”
“Lots of things. Too many things to mention. I can’t explain it.”

Imagine that you are on a roundabout in a playground, and it is spinning really fast. Everything is coming at you at once. (You are feeling lots of emotions at once, about lots of things that are current happening and have happened in your life. This includes how you interpret what is happening to now, to think of things that you think might happen that are possible in the future.) If you don’t do something to surpress your anxiety (for example, getting instant gratification or removing yourself from toxic environments), the speed of the roundabout speeds up and you fall off the ride.

If you manage to do something good that you enjoy or betters your station in life or enter a good environment, the speed of the roundabout slows down so it no longer spins really fast, but it is still spinning. Just like how a diabetic has to keep injecting themselves with insulin every day for whatever reason (I don’t know the difference between the two types of diabetes to answer properly), I have to go to certain environments and do certain behaviours that slow down the speed of the ride. I could do nothing about the ride spinning really fast, but if I do nothing for long enough, I eventually fall off the ride and that’s when the really bad stuff happens. So I must slow it down. I can slow it down, but it never stops spinning. When the ride slows down, I feel really happy and buzzing. It’s good in one sense and bad in another sense.

That’s a trippy drug vibe right there!

I think that explains it.

I will never feel content and I will never feel tranquil

One thing I know, is that the higher your expectations in life, the more sad you will be. Especially as life never goes the way you want it to go. The key to life is to lower your expectations. I’m a simple person. Although I always want more, I don’t have a lot of possessions, I don’t expect much off people or have high standards with people, and I always do the same types of things every day.

  • Consume media (blogs, forums, news, music, youtube, tv shows, books)
  • Socialise online and outside (with strangers and friends)
  • Work on personal projects and client work
  • Work in employment for a job

I cannot think of any other things I do in my life. But doesn’t everyone else do that? I’m sure my life is different than other people’s lives in some way, to give me the opportunities, activities and people that I have or am surrounded by. Okay I’ll answer the question a different way. I always do the same things in life every day.

  • Friendmaxxing (friend maximising)
  • Statusmaxxing (getting connections)
  • Moneymaxxing (getting a job)
  • Datingmaxxing (being polyamorous not monogamous)
  • Businessmaxxing (making money and getting traction and distribution from personal projects) 

I think that out of all the things to get maxxed (maximised) in, the moneymaxxed will come first. Knowledgemaxxing is missing, as I do not like learning for the sake of learning (unlike some people). I only like to learn things I have a practical use for, like I will learn how to make iphone and android apps as I plan to make 2 apps this year.

If I’m not maxxing, I’m not living life! I always want more and I don’t live in the present, I live in the future.

I regret not writing in my diary more often when I was in school and sixth form as lots of interesting things happened all the time. I never wrote in it, as I didn’t think I had a good life due to loneliness and bullying. I learnt years ago as an adult that I will never think I have a good life, as there will always be problems in my life. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else; and even if my life had no problems in it, my neuroticism would create problems as I am never content in life. Jumanne was right when he said that I would not enjoy life if I got everything I wanted and did everything I wanted to do without having to work for it. I would be left with nothing to do, nothing to work for, and no sense of achievement or self worth.

I like the uphill battle of life. I also like the uncertainty of life. I knew that 2018 would be a good year (because of the increased uncertainty that was happening in lots of aspects in my life), and halfway through, it is a good year, one of the best years of my life. If life is predictable, life sucks. If I sit at home all day playing video games not leaving the house watching netflix and smoking weed, nothing good will happen to me in the next 5 years. But if I actually spend all day every day striving (maxxing) for something and finding and making opportunities as they won’t come to me of their own accord, the increased uncertainty will give me opportunites coming to me or let me find opportunites that I can take advantage of. When you have uncertainty in your life, you gain. The more uncertainty, the more you gain. Someone told me that you can lose everything if your life has uncertainty. Not only won’t I listen to that, I also don’t believe that. With more uncertainty you can ONLY WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xD

Conclusion

I think for a diary when writing down thoughts, they are best wrote as a stream of consciousness, just as long as the writing is coherent and not too disjointed or nonsensical.

I don’t write conclusions in diary articles, because although I have to write in an articulate way and explain my feelings clearly so there’s no confusion as to how I feel and for someone to understand what it feels like to be me, I’m not writing to influence the reader or to give them a lasting or overall message. I only write conclusions for essays, persuasive writing and social commentary articles. Take from this what you will.