Readers share their stories of dealing with anxiety disorders – from fear of flying to self doubt, sleepless nights and panic attacks, as part of MQ’s Speak your Mind initiative
Jo, Washington DC
Having an anxiety disorder means that I don’t just have a lot of feelings, I have feelings about my feelings. I worry that my feelings aren’t real or that my feelings about my feelings are the correct feelings, or my feelings are the wrong feelings. I have shame about my feelings, guilt about my feelings, anger about my feelings. Sometimes I wonder which feeling is real – the initial feeling or the resulting feeling? Am I making myself feel this way or do I just feel this way?
I’m always looking for patterns. I thrive on routine. Anything to make me feel less trapped, like I have control. My best friend dying in high school threw this desire for control into overdrive. I can’t enjoy concerts or festivals or bars because there are too many people – what if there’s a fire? What if someone starts shooting? Will I get crushed to death in the inevitable stampede?