What Anxiety Feels Like to Me – Rebecca Lombardo

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What Anxiety Feels Like to Me – Rebecca Lombardo

If I look back at all the times my anxiety has taken over my life, it’s hard to fathom. It started back when I was a kid. I often didn’t want to go to school and developed a stomach ache. It went undiagnosed for years. At age 19, I finally sought treatment, and now at age 44, I’ve struggled for years. I’ve missed important events, lost jobs, and friends because of my anxiety. I take medications that ought to be helping. Perhaps they are, I don’t know anymore. It’s entirely possible I would be worse off without them.

I remember back in my early 20’s, I was just getting used to driving on the highway. I avoided it for as long as I could. I had landmarks that I looked for every trip I took. If I didn’t see those landmarks, I immediately had an anxiety attack. Having an episode like that while driving is no picnic.

I get anxious about appointments weeks before they’re scheduled. By the time the date arrives, I’ve worked myself into such a frenzy that I can’t stop sobbing. Thankfully, I have a supportive husband that can help me work through what I’m feeling. Although, even his support doesn’t make the anxiety go away.

So, you want to know what anxiety feels like to me? You know that feeling when someone sneaks up behind you and startles you? For a brief moment, your heart races and your blood suddenly feels hot as it courses through your veins. Add onto that, you begin sobbing, and you’re unable to breathe because you can’t control the racing thoughts or what you’re feeling. Imagine feeling that for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.

Quite simply, anxiety is completely exhausting. When you finally crawl out of the fire, you’re feeling too weak to do much of anything. Most of the time, my coping mechanism is avoidance. I stay away from situations that could cause me anxiety.

So, you can imagine how frustrating it is to have an attack out of the blue. There may be a cause, there may not be, it’s hard to say. I really never know what to expect. Ironically, thinking of writing this article caused me anxiety. My hands are shaking even now as I type. It doesn’t take much to set me off, and that feels just like a living hell.

I’m 43 years old and I’ve been happily married for nearly 15 years. I live inmeagain Michigan with my husband and our 5 cats. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 19. I’ve struggled with many forms of mental illness for more than 23 years. In 2013, I attempted suicide but I survived. I’m on a quest to help raise awareness about mental illness. I love to read, write, listen to music, and watch movies/sports.



Rebecca can be found on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

By | 2017-04-18T14:14:43+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Categories: Anxiety|2 Comments


  1. Kegbot1 April 18, 2017 at 10:19 am - Reply

    When you write about an attack out of the blue that is probably the most frustrating thing; getting mad at myself and thinking – there is NO reason for this to be happening! And yet, there it is – will it pass in awhile or is it Ativan time? The worst is waking up at 3 a.m. with an attack – shaking and stumbling out of the bedroom. Work is nothing but anxiety even though I am used to it. When I come home I can do almost nothing. How do you handle the recharge after the attack? For me, I’m often in bed before 8.

  2. […] six or seven) I would do it when I was nervous because I needed something to focus on rather than anxiety . But at the time I had no idea why I was biting my nails. It didn’t end with nail biting either. […]

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