I said, "Anxiety to me is like the feeling when you almost fall backwards off of a chair. It is like falling all the time."
Here are some of the many other responses I received;
"It's like the fatigue of the flu but without the other symptoms. Constant exhaustion. The feelings of fear and worthlessness are impossible to explain, though. Healthy people just can't understand it."
"For me, describing how I felt when I was depressed, it wasn't so much a constant sadness (like when someone you love dies or some such), but a lack of ability to feel happiness. I just felt either sad or nothing at all. I'd walk through a park on a beautiful day with the birds out singing and didn't feel any joy, and realizing that made me feel hopeless and by proxy miserable. I guess that's it, an inescapable sense of hopelessness."
"I'm trapped in my own head and I can't stop and I can't stop and I can't stop and I can't stop and I can't stop.."
"The feeling you get when you're woken up in the morning and don't want to get up or can't even seem to. But all the time."
"The best way I can describe it in the simplest of terms is what I call an "empty worry". It's a miserable feeling that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Unless you've experienced anxiety in its true form, you have no idea how bad it feels."
"You constantly want to retreat back into your own little world. I prefer to call it a bubble. For some it is sleep, for other video games or drugs."
Ever have an urge to cry for no reason?
Have a messy house but feel overwhelmed just walking through it?
Ever hear contradictory voices in your head but you KNOW they are not true?
Ever have nightmares about a job you quit YEARS ago, accompanied with sleep paralysis?
Ever think someone is gonna yell at you just for a simple walk with no destination?
Ever feel people hate you for no reason?
Ever become afraid to even interact with a cashier cause you might 'mess something up'?
Ever develop a fear of something that you normally enjoy?"
"Anxiety leads me to dealing with problems in an irrational way, but I'm completely aware that I'm being irrational!! Anxiety disorder is like knowing there's no reason to completely lose it like this, but I completely lack the ability to shut the emotion down. Also anxiety sticks with me everyday of my life, I have good days/bad days but it certainly always has an amount of control on how I react to things and people around me. Also, panic attacks are physically painful. I find depressive episodes to be directly linked to my anxiety. A complete panic attack will send me into a deep depression. Being scared of life/people etc etc causes me to be depressed. Not all anxiety is the same, as with all mental illnesses so my generalizations are certainly not representative of everyone. I certainly wish that people who wanted to help me had just listened & kept me calm vs. asking me why I'm acting this way & then becoming frustrated with me when I can't explain. I certainly hate feeling the way I do most of the time, but I've found to be much more sympathetic to humans in general and therefore can't regret my experiences."
"With depression, I describe it as feeling numb, almost all the time. It's like you're laying on your back in a pool of water, and on front of you is a screen of security cameras, all on fast-forward, while you're stuck, motionless, and unfeeling.
For me, anxiety is obsession. It's like wandering through an uncanny valley of "what ifs" and "why nots?" Everything is a threat. You always hear the boss music, and never see the boss."
"I have both, and they tend to hit me together. It feels like I'm sick, or something is wrong with me. There is this pull in my stomach like I've got to throw up but nothing will come out. I have this annoying sense of dread that something is wrong with me or the world outside, I feel like I should just get back into bed so I can recover. Often times friends and commitments feel like too much and start freaking myself out and begin to drag my feet. I feel better when I actually do it but the build up makes it feel like the worse idea I've ever had."
"Imagine you're walking up stairs and you slip on one. That slight heart attack is what it's like but I can't catch myself and turn it off."
"Anxiety is like being all fucking day in that last moment going up in a roller coaster and never getting that awesome feeling of going down."
After posing this question I got to thinking I would like to ask more people to tell me their stories. If you feel comfortable enough to tell me your story please contact me with your story, maybe a photograph or I can do it anonymously. I think the more we talk about mental illness the closer we will be to ending the stigma!