I really do not plan to write yet another general pseudo scientific piece on anxiety. My aim with this series is to provide my experience and some valuable (I hope) information on this topic. However, please be warned that should you live with anxiety, experienced it before or even if you are not aware of that, some facts and ideas mentioned here may trigger you in some way.
Also, please be informed that I am not a specialized professional in this field, I am writing here as a simple patient and should you need some real advice and help you really need to check with your psychologist or medical doctor.
That being said, please be extra-cautious regarding the persons you trust with your health and recovery. That goes for every type of ailment, of course, but there are 2 particular fields where the hypocrisy, lies and blunt amateurism are at the peak right now (in my opinion, of course) and those are fake nutritionists and the so-called psychologists.
I am not saying that some super extra life coach cannot help you, so go with whatever rocks your boat. Just be careful and try to always keep yourself away from people who are not prepared to deal with you and your feelings. Life coaches do not have the needed knowledge to deal with all that anxiety or other complex disorder bring to the table, so just always, always, remember that. Evaluate carefully your action plan when you are feeling well, because in the midst of your anxiety crisis you might end up spending a lot of money and invest a lot of time in someone who does not have any idea how to really help you.
Back to my aim here, in today´s episode of the anxiety chronicles I want to underline the importance of owning your story. I think that even though the progress is huge, we as a society still fail to truly accept the mental disorders or issues like any other disease. I think this video says it all:
So, clearly, I am not the one to win the Nobel prize for writing this: we are incredibly biased. If someone does not look sick, they are not sick. Even if someone looks sick, they are just too sensitive, not strong enough. Does is sound familiar? I think so.
I am a very anxious person. For multiple reasons that maybe one day I´ll share, I have lived with severe anxiety all my life. The thing with anxiety is that even if we don´t always realize it, apparently there is a hidden or not so hidden trigger for all of it. This is why therapy is so immensely important.
My anxiety messes up with my life in multiple, honestly horrible, ways. For instance, it sometimes shows up when I eat and I start thinking about the highly unlikely option of having an anaphylactic shock from some hidden spice (I say highly unlikely because I have never in my life experience an allergy, not even mild). This makes it hard for me to eat out with other people. It brings extra-pressure, somehow. Many people cannot understand it and I have been labelled as picky, difficult or simply weird.
Furthermore, even though I am in theory passionate about travelling and discovering new places, I need to have a well-established plan. It makes me feel safer. Many people cannot understand that and I have been labelled as boring.
I sometimes cancel meetings last minute. Or delay as much as I can certain meetings. That happens due to multiple factors that most likely never have anything to do with the person with whom I have to meet. Many people cannot understand it and I have been labelled as unreliable or I have lost friendships due to my lack of commitment to plans.
Now, I can go on forever and ever, really. I am sure you have been labeling people on many grounds. I have too, do not get me wrong, I am aware we all unconsciously feel the need to put everybody in little or big boxes. It makes us feel relaxed, like we understand them better. My point here is that us, the never-ending anxiety sufferers 🙂 should maybe try to simply own our story. I mean, maybe it would be better to be honest and open up instead of hiding and inventing all sorts of escape routes for our actions. Maybe that is one key to changing perceptions and the general view on anxiety. Let´s try and see what happens! 🙂
In view of opening up and making anxiety more relatable, social media can be very useful. There are millions of people with anxiety in this world, but this is not even close to being proportionately pictured in media or social media. Let´s do more! For instance, I love this Instagram account. Well, not only the account per se, but the person behind it. This speaks to me so much, like she mysteriously entered my brain and produced it:
I´ll be back with more episodes from my #anxietychronicles. Meanwhile, I am leaving here some potentially useful resources, in case my stories have triggered something and you just need to keep it under control.
*The graphs are from here: Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
So, conclusion for now, my words of wisdom, from one anxiety veteran 🙂 to others: 1. Get help. Real help. Professional and adequate help. 2. Own your story.
And of course, if you need to share something from your experience, the comments section below is all yours! 🙂