By unveiling how anxiety impacts people’s lives, hopefully to spread empathy, ideas for coping, and an even more open conversation on mental health. This is a powerful perspective.
Emily, a 34-year-old graduate student in Philadelphia, always had anxiety, but didn’t realize what it absolutely was until she was diagnosed with cancer in her 20s. Intrusive thoughts, such as for example the idea of her house burning down or her cancer returning, are one defining characteristic of her anxiety.
Here’s her story.
When did you first realize you had anxiety?
Now I observe that anxiety is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. But I didn’t know very well what it absolutely was called necessarily — I thought it absolutely was just the way I was. I was diagnosed with cancer within my 20s, which naturally threw my anxiety into high gear, and I became aware of all various ways anxiety can manifest itself.
How does your anxiety make you feel physically?
When I was a kid, it’d manifest itself as stomach issues. One summer, my stomach problems got so bad, I finished up in a healthcare facility and needed to obtain all sorts of tests. Now, the physical sensation is within my chest. I get tachycardia and my hands shake. When this really is bad, I’m very jumpy.
How does your anxiety impact you mentally?
One way my anxiety manifests itself is through intrusive thoughts that are violent and scary, and that I just can’t shake. It’s such as the worst horror movie is playing within my head, and I can’t turn it off.
Another thing that occurs is that I grab onto one troubling thing, like a pain within my ribs, and then abide by it to its worst-case scenario conclusion, which in this case would be that my cancer is back and I’ll die. This mental manifestation happens most often with medical stuff.