A viral Facebook post explains what it actually means to have anxiety
Sometimes, anxiety is brushed off as a totally short-term, easily fixable feeling. But for people actually living with the disorder, it’s an awful, lasting, all-consuming experience. One woman took to Facebook to break down the exhausting pain that comes along with anxiety, and got candid about her own struggles.
Megan Lynne Ferrero began her post by explaining that anxiety isn’t just “chest pains, crying, and the inability to relax.” It’s a whole lot more than that.
She said that it’s “biting your nails until they bleed, then picking off the skin on your fingers once you’re out of nails to bite” (and included a picture of her own bitten down, picked at fingers). It’s also “driving to the store only to sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes before turning back around, without even going inside.”
And it’s “asking your partner several times a day if they love you, partially kidding, but mostly needing to hear it because you find it so hard to love yourself in that moment.”
Having anxiety also means hearing a small noise in the house and immediately planning for the absolute worst. It’s putting off washing dishes and avoiding answering text messages because you feel too overwhelmed (though the avoiding part causes a “knot in your stomach”).
Ferrero added that sometimes she understands her worrying is irrational and extreme, and sometimes she doesn’t.
“[Anxiety] is taking everyday parts of life and intensifying the excitement or fear they result in times a thousand, to the point that they seem impossible to face,” she wrote. “Some days are more manageable than others, and it’s on those days I try to remind myself that I CAN get through whatever anxiety throws my way.”
Her honest, gut-wrenching post resonated with a lot of people. It’s since been liked more than 60,000 times and shared by more than 100,000 people. Strangers across the internet posted comments about their own anxiety, and how deeply her words spoke to them. They were particularly moved that she shared a picture of her bitten down nails, and commented that it made them feel much less alone.
Clearly, Ferrero’s bravery paid off in a big way – which is exactly what she hoped for when she wrote her post.
“It’s hard for me to share this and a little embarrassing to include this picture, but if even one person finds comfort in knowing they’re not alone in this, then I’m going to push past my comfort zones to do that,” she said.