I hate every second of it.
It engulfs you. It kidnaps your body and mind. It controls you.
It tightens its grip around your chest and abdomen, but then pulls roughly on your arms and legs. It creates a deep hunger in the pit of your stomach, all while making you want to vomit. It sends chills up your arms and legs, and then sends sweat rolling down your back. It stops your breath, but then makes you pant like a dog. It makes time stand still, all while spinning the world around you. It pumps your heart at an unnaturally fast pace while making your body slow down to a halt. It makes you want to cry and scream, but please, preferably in a quiet and completely still room. It makes it impossible to sleep while it drains you of all your energy. It creates urgency, but it won't let you move. It makes your toes curl while your back straightens. It makes you want to reach out for others while holding you back from doing so.
It plays with your mind in every possible way like a sick joke - but you learn to strengthen and grow from each episode or attack.
It wants to control every inch of you - and all you can say is, "I accept you. I don't like you. You are unpleasant (putting it mildly). But I'm going to roll with you for now until you get bored and leave."
It frightens you to death, even though you know very well it's not real.
Dealing with anxiety off and on for 20+ years has not been an easy task, but I continue to see the positives that come from it. Sure, no one cheers for you at the end of an eventful day when you thought it would be impossible to leave your home (but instead took a train and spent the day in a big, busy city, then took the train home, and SURVIVED). Only YOU know how difficult every single second of it was. Only YOU know the amount of time that was spent doing positive self talk that day. But there is satisfaction in completing each obstacle. You quietly pat yourself on the back. You give a sigh of relief and for a moment you feel like yelling out a, "woo hoo!", or fist-pumping the first person you see.
On one hand, it can create a certain kind of frustration...you tend to sit and watch other people and wonder, "are they really as relaxed as they look?", because guaranteed, most people I pass on the street have no clue when I'm anxious. On the other hand it makes you feel like a warrior of sorts. If I didn't go through this, then who would I be? More relaxed and chilled out of course...but maybe less empathetic? There are pluses to every little quirk we own. And fortunately I do have MANY "chilled out" moments and days that I get to fully enjoy.
Anxiety is something that is so difficult to explain to others who rarely experience it themselves. People like to throw out the all-too-commonly-used-phrase, "shake it off!", but we all know it is NEVER that easy. The adrenaline that accompanies anxiety can take minutes to dissipate, but it can also take hours - many, MANY hours. And after hours spent being hyper-aware of your surroundings - including sounds, scents and sights - you can be left feeling like a puddle of emotional nothingness. You just want to curl up with a blanket and a pillow and let out the remainder of the emotions with a short cry, followed by a long and peaceful nap.
The best part of anxiety and panic attacks - aside from the empathy that you gain with it - is the rush of happiness and appreciation for just about everything in life once it's all over. I can literally feel it leave my body, and once that last little bit has made its final "adieu", the most overwhelming feeling of exhilaration takes over my body and mind. A big, goofy grin comes over my face, and I become overly chatty. I feel a level of "lightness" that is almost indescribable. It is euphoric. It is the best, and I believe I wouldn't understand that degree of happiness and calmness if I didn't go through issues with anxiety.
I hate every second of it.
It engulfs me and it controls me while kidnapping my body and mind.
But it's only there momentarily.
It never lasts "forever".
It's a terrible - even bordering on horrific - experience, but it also creates so many wonderful emotions I don't think I'd get to feel otherwise. It's made me an "empath" of sorts - who is so in tune with not only my own emotions, but just about every single soul around me. It's exhausting and it's exhilarating.
To sum it up, anxiety creates constant contradictions and total confusion, while finishing it all off with complete harmony and peacefulness.
I may never learn to fully conquer it, but I can learn to accept it and roll with it as best as possible. And then I'll continue to soak up the feeling of jubilation that arrives shortly after...the best feeling ever.