Anxiety. One of the worst feelings in the world, because once it starts, it won’t fade away until whatever caused it fades away. Typically it builds up minute by minute, hour by hour, as all the possibilities rack up points in your heart. Often someone with an anxiety disorder, even a minor one, will suffer far more than necessary.
An anxiety disorder, while controllable through medication, will never truly be absent. Even if you medicate yourself heavily, falling asleep will just give you artificially intense dreams or nightmares. The expression “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” has a unique application for anxiety sufferers.
For example, say you have a parent in the hospital, suffering from a unidentified ailment. Could be anemia, hypoglycema, kidney failure, heart disease, dementia, or any number of other possibilities. While a normal person will just worry that whatever is happening might be bad, an anxiety sufferer will often worry about every single possibility that comes to mind. Not one at a time, mind you, but all at once. The cumulative effect can be ravaging.
If you or someone you know has anxiety, and is going through a similar situation, you can help ease their anxiety by focusing on just the best possible outcome and the worst possible outcome (even if the worst case scenario is death). Having only two concerns, however bad, is better than a hundred or more.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and recognize that what will be, will be, regardless of how it makes you feel. Don’t put yourself through unnecessary torment as this can be demoralizing for the person you are concerned about. Focus on good memories, not on unrealized futures.
Lastly, remember anxiety is not a sign of weakness. It is an invisible illness that, if watched for, can be confronted and made less destructive. It takes time, but it is time well spent.