The cost of anxiety

It is ‘normal’ (who even knows what normal is, nowadays?) to experience anxiety sometimes. An obvious example of this is when a person is in danger. The body uses symptoms of anxiety, such as super-fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest tightness and shaking to provoke a ‘fight or flight’ response to the dangerous thing.
But I’m not talking about that anxiety. I’m talking about Anxiety with a capital A. I’m talking about Anxiety Disorders. And that type of anxiety is, quite simply, a bitch – intense, and, at times, debilitating.

Everyday activities should not provoke anxiety. However, here are some things that make me anxious:

using public transport
walking outside
people looking at me
shops in general
being late
being early
using the telephone
having to make conversation

…and it’s not just ‘listable’ things that make me anxious. I can wake up anxious, or be in the middle of doing something when anxiety strikes, seemingly from nowhere.

Anxiety is cruel, because it takes away pieces of you until you can barely recognise yourself. I used to be a very confident person. For example, I moved to Spain and lived there by myself. Now I struggle to get out of my front door. I used to have a very active social life. Now I very rarely see anyone outside of my family, because I can’t manage to get myself there/don’t trust myself not to have a panic attack when faced with making conversation. When I do push myself to do things outside of my (increasingly small) comfort zone, I end up exhausted and unable to do even the most basic things, sometimes for a day or more.

Anxiety has cost me my life outside my small bubble. I’d like my life back, please?