Happy Thirsty Thursday ya'll! I can't believe I just said "ya'll".... ::sips wine:: Welcome back to this lovely, weird, roller-coaster of a blog. This post is going to be a little bit different than the others but it is a topic I feel very strongly about. As you can probably tell from the title, I'm very ANXIOUS to get into it.. heh heh heh ::sips wine again::
I've seen a lot of posts and opinions recently regarding anxiety. Some opinions suggest that anxiety isn't "real" and that it is just "all in your head". Well, I'm here to clear the air. Plain and simple, anxiety is REAL. Louder now, for the people in the back - ANXIETY IS REAL. Anxiety is a REAL disease with REAL symptoms and in some cases, requires REAL medication. Whether it is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder or any other type of anxiety - it is very, very real. To be honest, just writing about this topic and being so open about my own struggle is making me anxious but HERE WE GO.
First let me say that I understand that if you have never experienced anxiety for yourself, it is very easy to dismiss it all together and chalk it up as someone "overreacting" or "just being stressed". Until you have gone through it yourself, it's difficult to fully understand the extent of the disease and the affect it can have on your day to day life.
I'm sure that everyone has their own personal reasons why they think their anxiety started or what increases it - but for me, that would literally be a 342 page long blog post so I'll save that for another time. For now, I just want to run through some points that I think everyone, especially those who do not fully understand anxiety, should understand.
Don't tell someone with anxiety to "calm down"
THIS. I can't even begin to explain the negative affect that this simple phrase has on someone with anxiety. If I'm freaking out and panicking about something and you tell me to "calm down", all it's going to do is make me panic even more. What exactly do you think saying "calm down" is going to accomplish, anyway?! "Ok Susan, you want me to calm down? Oh shit, you're right. I didn't even think of that! I feel fine now. Thanks for the advice :) " .........
There are physical symptoms
There are different symptoms for everyone, but personally, when I am experiencing anxiety, some of the symptoms that occur are : dizziness/lightheadedness, nausea, lump in throat, acid reflux, rapid heart rate, on edge, stomach ache, shaking, headache - you name it, I've felt it. Before I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ever since I was in the 3rd grade, I often thought I was just sick or there was something really wrong with me. Nope! Just my bff anxiety!
We need reassurance more than most
Whether it is a romantic or friendly relationship you may have with someone who has anxiety, you need to remember to have patience. If your girlfriend comes totally out of left field and asks you if the reason you didn't answer her text last night was because you don't love her anymore, you need to stop and think that maybe this is just her anxiety talking and you need to reassure her that whatever she's thinking is far from the truth. Some of our thoughts or theories may be totally insane sounding to you, but to us it is a very real possibility. We often take things you say to heart or assume you hate us - this isn't because we are "too sensitive", It's because our mind is literally telling us and convincing us that that's the truth. Just tell us you love us and that we're awesome, OK?! It's not hard.
Anxiety can come out of no where
There is not always a reasonable explanation for why someone is feeling anxious. Sometimes, the feeling of anxiety can wash over and consume you for absolutely no reason at all. One minute you're sitting at work reading a harmless e-mail and the next minute you're sweating and your heart is beating out of your butt. Fun. Times.
The more we focus on our anxiety, the worse it gets
If you know someone is anxious, the worst thing you can do is draw attention to their anxiety and talk to them about it. The more we think about the fact we are anxious, the more anxious we become. Then we are just having anxiety about having anxiety and it's a huge vicious cycle and WHEW I am anxious just talking about it.
We will most likely remember every single word you've ever said to us, and obsess about it forever. We will also bring up the same thing 984 times and talk about it until we are blue in the face because our brain does not shut off and we are constantly dissecting and worrying about every detail of everything ever.
Don't blame your stupidity on our anxiety
I have seen this a few times both personally and with friends of mine. Sometimes, when you're dating someone or friends with someone who is well aware of your anxiety, they use it to their advantage. By that, I mean that they use your anxiety as an excuse for the shitty things that they do. For example, a friend of mine felt like her boyfriend was being sketchy. When she confronted him, he blamed it all on her anxiety and suggested she "talk to someone". Plot twist, he was, in fact, just being sketchy AF. In my own personal experience, I had a boyfriend who was acting funny and I suspected he was talking to another girl. He denied it and denied it until I was forced to blame my anxiety for such a thought. And he let me. When all along, it was just my intuition and all of my "crazy" thoughts were, in fact, true. Blaming our anxiety for things you know are REAL is just plain mean. Don't use our disease as excuse for your shittiness, k thanks bye.
Sometimes medication IS necessary
This. So many people say "just find other ways to deal with it" "remedy your anxiety naturally" "meditate" Well, news flash America - This doesn't work for everyone. I wish it did, but it doesn't. If these things work for you then I honestly am so jealous. But for me, some good, strong Xanax and Celexa do the trick. JUDGE ME.