That’s Anxiety, Too.

by Lori Dwyer on May 14, 2013 · 7 comments

‘I think, therefore I am’ is the biggest, most destructive lie you’ve ever been told. You are not your thoughts, nor your emotions. You are the being behind them, the one that witnesses and experiences and watches them.

You are not what you think. Your head is stupid, and your thoughts lie.

You are the entity that experiences this.

You are the Universe, experiencing itself for the first time


I bounced around for the first twenty five years of my life absolutely festering with anxiety.

I never knew that was what it was, though. I thought I understood the term ‘anxiety’, but only in regards to acute panic attacks; where you can’t breathe and can’t do anything but you can’t sit still, the terror you feel clawing at the insides of your chest to get out and escaping in heaving, wretched sobs.

But panic attacks are the extreme end of the anxiety scale. It took me twenty five years, a bad bout of postnatal depression and an awesome shrink to finally identify that the frazzled, constant tightness in my chest wasn’t a sensation felt by everyone, all the time. It wasn’t even ‘just me’, just how I functioned. It was something separate to me, making me feel that way.

The constant gnawing worry that never left my side, the feeling that things were never quite right… that was anxiety. The obsessive compulsive tendencies- cleaning things, straightening them, adding up numbers and reducing them back down to single digits… that was all anxiety, too. The epic dread that prefaced meeting new people, walking into situations I’ve never encountered before? That was the anxiety, too.

And that annoying chronic procrastination I indulge in; it’s rooted deep in the burning, fluttering, sizzling core of anxiety as well.

I think of it like uranium  like x-rays- it looks harmless, so nondescript and defeatable. But it’s insidious and sly and it burns away at you from the inside out- silently and slowly, causing such violent damage.

Knowledge is power, and power is not control but acceptance. There’s all kinds of treatment for anxiety. The first and most useful and basic is simply knowing it’s there. Being aware of it. Not internalising it.

All that anxiety isn’t me. It affects my life… but I know it’s there, and that gives me an advantage, a one-up.

Misery loves company. Anxiety loves silence and denial.

This blog post is written to raiser awareness for Beyond Blue’s ‘Get To Know Anxiety’ campaign.
It’s not sponsored. Just important.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

JB June 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I know that frazzled, constant tightness in my chest too. And yes the spiral into procrastination and the fretting about the not-done list and the fear – white knuckled, stomach churning, hive inducing, sweaty palmed fear. So self-defeating and induces so much self loathing.

Thank you, Lori.


Whoa, Molly May 14, 2013 at 9:25 pm

“It took me twenty five years… to finally identify that the frazzled, constant tightness in my chest wasn’t a sensation felt by everyone, all the time. It wasn’t even ‘just me’, just how I functioned. It was something separate to me, making me feel that way.”

It’s been thirty-one and I’m still not there yet.
In fact, until I read that sentence I was still utterly convinced that anxiousness is ‘just me’ and that I’m just a highly strung person, and it’s just something I will have to manage for the rest of my life.
Now I’ve got the most miniscule of doubts on that, which is weird, because I thought I had ‘me’ all sussed out… but if it turned out not to be ‘just you’, then maybe it’s not ‘just me’ either…

Perhaps you are onto something here.
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Kassey May 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Exactly Lori!
I thought it was the panic attacks too & thought my doc was mad when she told me I had anxiety.
Knowledge is so important. I could’ve been armed properly years ago.
Good on you for being a part if the awareness campaign.


Miss Pink May 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I agree with this.
And I needed to read it.


Dorothy @ Singular Insanity May 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm

So well written, Lori. I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my life and I continue to struggle with it. It never really goes away, no matter how medicated or relaxed I am. Well, maybe occasionally, it does, but mostly it’s there, that tight feeling you described so well. Maybe, one day, I can be free of it.
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Anthea May 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm

“You are not what you think. Your head is stupid, and your thoughts lie.”

Aint that the truth!


Kirsty Forbes May 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Yep… took me till seeing a good shrink to finally acknowledge that I had to start doing something about it! Its bloody hard work, but it’s worth it!


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