Lately I’ve been seeing a lot around the internet stories of people who want to share their experiences with mental illnesses. It may sound like everyone is talking about it because it’s a popular topic these days on online platforms, but I personally think there’s a lot more behind this trend.
What is happening, from my point of view, is that when you hear the story of someone else, who is struggling with the same stuff you’re dealing with, you feel less alone, and you start naming that thing that is bothering you, realising that it is an actual existing issue and it’s not just you overreacting with your emotions.
I’ve always thought that being anxious was wrong, that I was just being a child. I though I was overreacting to everything. I overreacted when I cried during an oral exam loosing my ability to speak. I overreacted when I ran away from a party. I overreacted when I constantly felt like having a weight on my chest before heading out on occasions which I felt uncomfortable in.
Last year I stared reading blogs and watching videos about anxiety, and I found myself relating a lot. I got to know better and better about it. I located myself in a place in the immense universe of anxiety levels. I feel that I am in the middle: I still have a normal life, most times my anxiety doesn’t prevent me from doing things. Sometimes I get anxious, sometimes I loose control. It’s just how I am.
What helped me was learning that it wasn’t my problem, it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault that time during the exam and it wasn’t my fault that time at the party. It’s just something that I have and that I can deal with.
Acceptance is the first step towards managing it well. The day I thought “okay, maybe I have a bit of anxiety”, I felt better. This does not mean that I will relax over it and use it as an excuse. It just means that I know what it is, and this, trust me, is already a lot.
Some people act like: “c’mon, just get it together and stop being so sensitive to everything”. When I talk about my anxiety they don’t take it seriously, and here’s the whole point of this post. It is a thing. Anxiety – in my case – exists. Depression exists. OCDs exist. They all have different levels of importance and ways that they affect people’s lives with. For some people they may be serious illnesses and disorders, for some people, like me, even though they’re not as severe they can still affect in some way and they should not be undervalued.
I will definitely write more about my anxiety on my blog, but for now my main concern is to share this simple thought: don’t run too quickly to conclusions assuming that being anxious is just being freakish or complain too much for an average state of sensitivity. It’s not just being emotional, it’s not a quest for attentions. It may be something else.