Anxiety. We all feel this way sometimes but for some, it’s excessive and doesn’t seem to make sense in most situations. It is a common mental disorder that there are about 3 million reported cases every year in the U.S alone. Yet is still a reason for shame in those that suffer with it.
I was recently talking to my friend about this and that when the topic of anxiety was brought up, something that she and I both struggle with. She mentioned that she does whatever she can to hide it from most people out of fear that it will change their perspective of her. She even went as far as to say that at one point she was suffering a panic attack but didn’t tell anyone because she didn’t want people to see her that way as if it somehow made her less of a person.
This is a serious issue that is often overlooked by people because it isn’t the most severe of mental illnesses. Why should someone deal with an illness feel shame? In that case, why doesn’t every person who has an illness, whether it be physical or whatever, feel the same amount of shame that many with mental illnesses do? In both cases, the person is dealing with something out of their power and yet because of societal standards and stigmas, those that have a less than perfect mental state are made to feel like freaks. I mentioned before that I myself have anxiety. There are people much worse off than I am but it is still something that inhibits my day to day life. I have anxiety every day before school, God only knows why as I actually enjoy school. I even sometimes have it when having a conversation with friends or family when it doesn’t seem to make any sense, not even to me. It doesn’t help either that when I mention my anxious feelings to someone who just doesn’t understand, they just say things like “Just forget about it” or “Think about something else. For anyone who has said these things please just understand that it isn’t something, you can just forget about. When those feelings rise to the surface it just consumes the person’s every thought so even if they do try to do something to take their mind off of it, it just sits in the background as a constant annoyance making your stomach churn. That person would give just about anything in that moment for the feelings to just disappear and never return but they can’t. Sometimes those with more severe cases of anxiety need medication to help subdue the feelings and allow them to move on with their day. However, it is the previously mentioned stigmas that result in the person attempting to brush off the feelings and convince themselves they’re fine because they don’t want to be seen as the crazy who needs meds to function. If you take anything away from reading this, I want those of you with anxiety to know that you aren’t alone in this battle and those of you without to understand anxiety is just that. A battle. So please, the next time someone mentions anxiety, not just the feeling everyone has, be more understanding and accepting of their situation because you wouldn’t want someone to overly critical of yours.