Let’s face it, most people don’t know how to deal with individuals suffering from anxiety and depression. There’s the worldwide stigma attached to mental illnesses and individuals suffering from it are automatically assigned to the ‘cuckoo’ category. No, we’re not aliens and no, we CAN’T JUST SNAP OUT OF IT!
It takes a lot to deal with anxiety and a much more to acknowledge that you’d never be out of the woods. Anxiety isn’t planned and it doesn’t occur according to schedule. We don’t ‘choose’ to have an anxiety attack, it just happens when we’re least expecting it. If we had a choice, we wouldn’t be having it in the first place.
I was diagnosed with acute anxiety last year and life has never been the same for me. Since then, all I’ve heard is that ‘I’m making a big deal out of nothing’ or ‘It’s all in my head’ and that ‘I’m being silly’. This is not something that random people have told me but my own parents, friends and even my then-boyfriend. By making such claims, you are simply trivializing the impact it has on my life.
My heart races, my head pounds, I start to think my world is coming to an end and I have absolutely no control over it. The irrational thoughts take over and I lose all control over my conscious mind.
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Some days are good and I feel that things might be turning out for the better, but when I least expect it, I feel it again. I feel the same flushing of the skin, the restless twitching of my hands and the annoying thoughts that just won’t go away. I can’t just grab a drink and calm down. I can’t just distract my mind by watching a movie or going out with friends. I feel trapped and stuck in my own body and no matter what I do, nothing seems to make a difference.
Having an anxiety attack is outright crippling and the worse is when you have it in public. You know people have already started considering you a freak and the spotlight is on you for all the wrong reasons. Anxiety is an illness and nobody can just ‘get over it’. Don’t ask us to ‘take a deep breath’ and ‘chill out’. There’s no way you can downplay our condition by telling us to ‘relax’. It’s not a stage that will pass. It’s not a cry for attention.
Trust me, if we could control it, we wouldn’t even be suffering from it. It’s not within our control and we can’t stop the irrational thoughts from invading our minds. So please, stop asking us to ‘get it together’ because if we could, we would.