Anxiety is when agreeing to meet some new friends for lunch in London seems like a rash decision.
It's where the idea of phoning ahead to request assistance on the train is too much because it involves speaking to a stranger, so you turn up on the day hoping for the best and stand on the platform chewing your fingernails and fretting because you're not sure where the wheelchair spaces will be, or if you'll be able to get on without a ramp.
It's being only able to focus on one event at a time, meaning that life is spent sprinting from one event to another with nowhere near enough time to plan effectively which, of course, only increases the levels of anxiety.
It's startling awake in the middle of the night at the smallest noise, because you're afraid one of your children might be in trouble, or lying awake all night because one of them banged their head before bed and you're worried their brain will swell in their sleep
It's feeling a stab of fear when you see an ambulance heading towards home or school or nursery, convinced for a moment that it is headed to save one of your children.
It's checking your husband's phone tracker when he doesn't answer the phone to make sure he made it work safely while pushing images of his mangled car out of your head.
It's sitting in a room of people and feeling alone with the weight of all your anxiety sitting on your shoulders. Unable to relate to people who move through life seemingly so effortlessly.
It's worrying that the message you sent was too needy, or not actually funny.
That they didn't reply because they don't want to talk you. Feeling tolerated, rather than liked.
It's re-reading the messages or re-playing the conversations and trying to decide if that person is cross with you, or annoyed with you, if they have judged you as inadequate.
It's saying repeatedly that you don't have time for anything, when what you mean is that that you don't have the energy.
It's ignoring the voicemails and emails and text messages. It's rejecting the phone calls. It's sitting back silently in the group chats not knowing how to reply to any of it.
It's blinding headaches, stomach aches, sleepless nights, short tempers, sensory overload. It's catastrophising everything, all day long.
It's never feeling good enough. It's never feeling rested. It's every muscle in your body clenched all the time.
It's being prescribed medication and then not taking it because you're worried about the side effects.
It's lying in bed scrolling Facebook until the clock passes midnight and your eyes tear up just to keep your mind distracted.
It's writing this blog and then going to delete it instead of publishing it, because then everyone would know the churning mess beneath the mask.
This is what anxiety looks like.