As its Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to write a post to raise awareness on the stigma surrounding Anxiety. 1/4 people will be affected by mental illness at some point in their life, so if you are not experiencing it yourself then it’s more than likely that you will know someone who is. Therefore, I believe it’s important to speak openly about mental health not only for those who are suffering, but to also give their friends and family a better understanding of mental illness.
Anxiety can make the most simple everyday tasks seem almost impossible. Always be mindful because you never know what’s going on inside someone else’s head that could be making them struggle with something that you find really easy.
“Get over it”
If only it were that easy! The same as any physical health problem, anxiety is not something that you can control, you wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to just get over it and get out of bed! There are lots of organisations that offer help and support to people living with mental illness, which can make it more manageable, but not just put a stop to it all together.
“You’re not even trying”
On the outside, it may look like someone is not trying very hard to help themselves, but anxiety is a constant battle, which can make it difficult to do all kinds of things, like socialize and maintain strong relationships or even just to get out of bed in the morning.
“People have it worse than you”
Being privileged doesn’t prevent mental illness or deny anyone the right to feel sad sometimes. Everyone has their dark days and I think it’s unkind to belittle someone’s emotions and make them feel insignificant.
It’s a common trait for people suffering with anxiety to find comfort in being over apologetic and polite. It’s important not to get frustrated by this and do your best to reassure them that everything is okay.
“What do you have to feel stressed/anxious about?”
This confrontational attitude is not kind or helpful. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life, physically or mentally, so I think it’s important to respect people’s personal issues and this goes for everyone!
“What you’re doing isn’t helping, you should try…”
This is a tricky one because depending on the situation, trying to help someone by giving them advice could be really helpful. However, in some cases, what the person is stuck doing isn’t necessarily what they would ideally like to be doing. Anxiety can build barricades between a person and their hobbies and social life. In which case, it’s important not to force them into doing anything they don’t feel comfortable with.
“I know how you feel”
Unless you have a personal experience of an anxiety disorder/s, then I don’t believe you can understand how someone who is suffering from anxiety is feeling. Everyone experiences stressful situations throughout their lives and this can lead to an anxiety disorder developing, but feeling anxious or stressed before an exam or interview is not the same as having an anxiety disorder.
If you know someone who is suffering with mental health problems or you are yourself, then please comment or contact me to share your thoughts and experiences. It’s important to always remember that you are not alone and there are so many places where you can seek help if and when you feel ready.
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