“I have had people tell me ‘anxiety isn’t as bad as you make it out to be, it’s just in your head.’
So, I want to show you what anxiety looks like, on the outside. My raw, scratched up face and chest. The sores I pick at, until they bleed.
This is anxiety.
Anxiety isn’t just feeling nervous. It’s picking your skin raw.
It’s not just feeling worried, or feeling your heart race.
It’s picking your skin until it bleeds.
It’s walking into the mall, and feeling your hands turn to jello, and looking for the closest exit.
It’s getting constant headaches from clenching your teeth together from worry.
It’s waking up with a sore jaw from clenching your mouth all night.
It’s always feeling like you’re about to throw up, feeling sick to your stomach.
It’s paying to get your eyelashes done, but just picking them all out few days later.
It’s feeling like your own brain has turned against you, so you look at yourself in the mirror, with your skin bleeding, and just cry.
I pick my face, my scalp, and my chest. Until they bleed.
I pick my lips, and the skin around my nails, until they are raw.
Anxiety takes a huge toll on me physically, not just mentally.
I can’t wear lower cut shirts without someone looking at my chest, asking why is so red and scratched up.
I can’t go anywhere where there is a lot of people, without telling myself, that I am not sick. I am not going to throw up. I haven’t come down with a flu in ten seconds.
I need to remind myself that I have anxiety.
I need to remind myself that it’s okay to take a minute alone in the bathroom, or that it’s okay to leave a party early.
So, next time you want to tell someone anxiety is all in their head, or it’s not as bad as we make it seem, take a look at my forehead and chest.
Remember my scratched up, bloody skin, before you tell someone it’s all in their head.”
From podcasts to video shows, parenting resources to happy tears – join the Love What Matters community and subscribe on YouTube.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Caitlin Fladager, and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more about anxiety:
‘Don’t try to fix me, or tell me it’s in my head. Just show up. Just love. I promise I’ll do the same.’: Woman pens letter to friends explaining anxiety, ‘true friendship is loving each other in ups and downs’
Read more from Caitlin:
Help raise awareness about mental health. SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.