– You get to feel anxious almost all the time. This means your head is full of stressful, negative thoughts from things that seem trivial to other people but wind you up into hysterics like “I’m going to be 5 minutes late to my tutorial” to statements that pervasively devalue your own dignity such as “I’m going to fail this exam because I’m stupid and awful at everything I’ve ever tried to do” to the frankly bizarre, like “What happens if I suddenly get an overwhelming bout of diarrhea and shit myself in front of everybody on bus?!”.
– Your body has the privilege of reflecting those anxious thoughts in its own physical ways. Sweaty hands, sweaty back, sweaty neck, sweaty face. Shaking like a leaf. Heart beat BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! so hard and loud and painful it feels like it will burst straight out of your chest. Aches and pains; in your neck, in your back, in your legs, in your hips, in your head, in your tummy. Tight tension headaches, which lead to long migraines where all you can do is take painkillers and shut yourself into a dark room to go to sleep because any light, any sound, any stimulation whatsoever exacerbates the pain. Bright red cheeks. Running to the toilet again and again, liquid faeces and nausea, the ocasional bout of gagging and vomit in your hair. The numbness in your hands and feet and body when your brain seems to freeze and disaccoiate itself entirely from your body, so that you’re willing yourself to get up, to move, to take another step, to reach for your glass of water, but the messages are not getting to your appendages. The dry mouth, the sore, tickly throat, the hoarse voice, or the words that simply will not come out. Oh and the chest pains. The chest pains can be pretty bad.
– You don’t have to work anymore…or see friends…or partake in leisure activities…or do anything, really. No more going to the gym, no more going for aimless walks to think and enjoy nature, no more parties, no more club nights, no more sleepovers, no more uni, no more work, no more skype video calls, no more friends over, no more shopping, not even for groceries. If there’s nothing left to eat, you get to detox your body, because there’s no way you can leave the flat to buy something.
– You can claim disability benefits! A measly income that signals you as society’s leech, that took months and months to appear in your bank account after you were investigated for fraud probably more thoroughly than any of the big banks have been in the libor scandal.
– You also get to shed all the excess baggage of life. Like, friends. You lose a good one about once a year and you stop making any new ones so the number of them declines over time. You get to lose hobbies, because you can’t go to classes anymore, so I guess you save money in that regard. To be honest, there isn’t much you don’t lose, except weight in my case, that’s something that I have gained. Who would have know, being stuck at home all the time feeling bored, lonely, and scared results in you comfort eating?!
I would give anything to have my real personality emerge, to have the freedom to do what I want to do when I want to do it, to stop being frightened of almost everything. I want hobbies, I want leisure time, I want friends and social activities, I want exercise, pleasure, a career, and I don’t want to be on medication, or to suffer from pain and indignity. Nobody wants this, nobody asks for this, and nobody deserves it…The Perks of Having a Severe Anxiety Disorder.