I’ve recently been more open about my mental illness and how I deal with depression and anxiety.
If you follow this blog or my social media you will know that I actually wrote a post talking about that which you could read here:
I wanted to write this post because I think people are quick to judge when someone says they have anxiety. Oftentimes anxiety is mocked and criticized for not having substance as a real illness when for the people suffering it is very real. Hopefully this post can help eliminate some of the untruths.
Also, I just want my friends and family who are supporting my mental health journey to have a better understanding of what it is I’m going through sometimes. So here are a few things I wish people knew about my anxiety.
- There are different levels of anxiety
I think first and foremost it’s worth mentioning that everyone suffers from a different level of anxiety. Every human gets anxious once in awhile, it’s a normal emotion. But we also need to be considerate of the fact that there is a spectrum, a scale. Just because someone else might have it worse than me doesn’t mean that my anxiety isn’t real or worth seeking help for.
Personally, I think I’m on the lower end of this ‘spectrum’. I don’t need medication to control my anxiety at the moment and I am grateful for that. It doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t still have to overcome it some other way on a daily basis.
- When we say we’re anxious, it’s not only an emotional thing
If someone tells you they are feeling anxious the worst thing you can say is something like, “oh stop worrying, it’s going to be fine” or “don’t overthink it, it’s not that big a deal”.
We know you’re trying to help but please understand that anxiety also causes a physical response that can’t be turned on and off by a switch.
When I’m super anxious I find that I sweat a lot more than usual and my hands will get shaky. My breathing is also labored and sometimes it feels like I’m sucking air through a straw (yeah, not so effective).
On days where it’s more controlled I’ll just pick at my nails or wiggle my feet a lot. Just know though that it lives with me everyday in some capacity, emotionally and physically.
- We’re not antisocial, we just have anxiety
I have a memory of my mom, sister and I being at a store together, things had gone slightly awry (we had to wait super long, or something was said by the person working there) and I started literally freaking out in front of everyone. Afterwards, my sister and mom laughed at how ridiculous I was being and it made me so angry and upset.
I felt kind of silly for it too, but I also wondered for a long time why I had gotten so upset about something so insignificant.
It’s not that we don’t like being around people but being in certain social situations makes our anxiety worse. If we don’t feel comfortable with the people we are around, our minds start swirling with crazy thoughts that make the time less enjoyable.
I personally avoid doing things alone because I have an extreme fear of being judged by other people. It sounds irrational but I always feel like everyone is watching me and I hate to think about what other people think about me being all by myself.
Please understand that if we turn down a social outing, it’s probably nothing to do with you and more to do with how anxious we feel that day.
- We often feel anxious for no particular reason
Some days we wake up feeling extremely anxious. There really isn’t anything particularly thing worrying us. We also have no idea why a certain situation might make us feel anxious, so please don’t feel bad if we don’t have an answer.
- We know that our anxieties are irrational
We worry about things that don’t matter, or we immediately go to the worst-case scenario in any situation. We know that we get anxious for things that aren’t happening for days or weeks and that it makes no sense.
I find myself lying awake most nights worrying about stuff that holds no substance (for example: the other night I was worrying about what kind of insurance plan I need to get… when I turn 26. IM 24 YEARS OLD GUYS). I lay there, my feet writhing under the sheets and my mind racing, wishing sleep would come. Anxiety, like any other mental illness can greatly affect sleeping patterns as well.
So I am sorry if I am ever rude or grumpy because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. And I’m sorry if I ramble about my worries and they make no sense to you. It’s just my anxiety talking and I appreciate if you always listen anyway.
I hope this post helped if you know someone who suffers from anxiety and are trying to better understand how to support them. If you’re like me and have some people in your life that you wish knew these things about your mental illness, feel free to share this post with them. Get a conversation started.
Here are some resources if you need more information:
Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more posts like this or some tips and tricks on how I manage my anxiety.
Thanks for reading!