Lately, it seems as if anxiety is everywhere. I know it’s because I’m feeling it, so I see it more. For some, anxiety is just part of the flight or fight response that is part of our DNA. A job interview, an upcoming test, a doctor’s appointment or a dentist appointment can all instill a certain amount of anxiety in anyone. It’s okay. Anxiety just shows you’re still human.

But what about anxiety that goes beyond that initial flight/fight response? Let’s call it anxiety on steroids. Again, for some it’s just part of life and something that can be managed with deep breathing or a bowl of ice cream. For others, this type of anxiety can be crippling. Some people find even a trip to the grocery store so stressful they get physically ill at just the thought of taking care of that task. It’s a life changer, literally, as they try to manage daily life with the least amount of anxiety as possible.

Right now, I’m incredibly anxious. I’m anxious to the point of jittery during the day and insomnia at night. It’s not pretty to see, especially for the people who know me. For some of them, it’s downright frightening to see me “stuck” and unable to do everything I normally do. It scares me too.

I know in my mind that this is short-lived…triggered by an upcoming event. Once I get past the event, I know I’ll be okay. Just making it to the event is my challenge right now. Fear of the unknown is driving my anxiety machine at full steam. Most people get anxious when faced with this type of event anyway. Because I have so many bad experiences with this type of event, you could say my anxiety is taking a triple dose of steroids.

What to do. Breathe, check. Walk, check. Refocus, check. Try not to worry, check. Ummmmm, didn’t work. I’d say take a stiff drink, but that’s not my thing. So, now what?

I’ll manage, most likely using better living through chemistry for the next few days. Nope, there’s nothing wrong with that either. For anyone who wants to judge me for using anti-anxiety medications…you’ve obviously never been where I am right now.

Your challenge: Help me end the stigma. Help others understand that sometimes life throws us curveballs and we have to catch that ball as best we know how. There is no shame in seeking help. There is no shame is appropriate use of medication. If it makes it possible for me to face my fear, that’s a good thing. Be grateful you don’t live with crippling anxiety. And then, hug your support systems…partners, spouses, children and friends. Because they’re the ones who help us live through every single day.

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