Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders experienced by people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But what is it really like to live with anxiety? How does it affect a person’s day-to-day life?
Here to give you an answer is beauty vlogger and makeup artist Brittany Nichole Morefield. In a recent Facebook post, she opened up about what it’s like to live with anxiety and how it impacts her mind, mood, and daily tasks.
“Anxiety isn’t just having a hard time catching your breath. Anxiety is waking up at 3 a.m. from a dead sleep because your heart is racing. Anxiety is breaking out in a rash for no reason. Anxiety is stressing over things that may or my not be real. Anxiety is questioning your faith,” she wrote. “Anxiety is calling your sister 3 hours before she gets up for work, in hopes she’ll answer so you can get your mind off the attack. Anxiety is a 2 a.m. shower. Anxiety is your mood changing in a matter of minutes.”
The photo she shared, along with her description of anxiety, shows her sitting in an empty bath.
“Anxiety is uncontrollable shaking and twitching,” Morefield continued. “Anxiety is crying, real and painful tears. Anxiety is nausea. Anxiety is crippling. Anxiety is dark. Anxiety is having to make up excuse after excuse for your behavior. Anxiety is fear. Anxiety is worry. Anxiety is physically and emotionally draining. Anxiety is raw. Anxiety is real. Anxiety is a fight with your spouse, even though you’re not mad. Anxiety is snapping at the smallest annoyance. Anxiety is flashbacks. Anxiety is ‘what if.’ Anxiety is a lot of ‘what’s wrong’ and ‘I don’t know.'”
Because of how commonly, and at times carelessly, we use the term “anxiety,” many people don’t understand the full impact an anxiety disorder can have on someone. Some think it’s simply synonymous with worrying or feeling nervous at times, but Morefield’s description helps to raise awareness about the serious impact it can have on someone’s life.
In an effort to help comfort those who have anxiety and read her post, she ended on a reassuring note. “Your feelings matter,” she wrote. “Just because you’re bothered by something others aren’t, it doesn’t make you crazy or worthless. Some of the most successful people in life have anxiety. This is not your fault. This is not the end. You are strong. You are intelligent. You are brave. You are worthy.”
In just five days, Morefield’s post has been shared nearly 300,000 times and has over 128,000 likes. The 47,000 comments on the post are filled with people who feel her words accurately describe their own experiences with anxiety. It’s posts like these that help remind people that they’re not alone, but they also help to erase stigma associated with mental illness. The more we talk openly about these conditions, the more people will better understand them.