Mental illness, in general, is not something that is openly or widely discussed. It’s difficult because it is unlike other problems that you can physically see, like a broken bone. It’s also a shameful thing to admit to others because of the negativity and stigma associated with mental illness. For that reason and more, I want to spend some time today talking about this subject – specifically anxiety.
Anxiety is something that everyone experiences to some degree. However, not everyone experiences it to extent where it becomes a disorder. It’s all too easy to get stuck in your own mind, feeling alone. Anxiety can be overwhelming and extremely draining. Your mind races with all kinds of negative thoughts and self-talk.
I know what it’s like to live with anxiety. I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for about three years now – (only officially diagnosed this year). One thing I think people can underestimate is the power of encouragement. It doesn’t even have to be anything huge. Little things, like a kind and uplifting word, can increase my mood and ease my mental stress. I am much better at giving out encouragement than I am at being supportive and kind to myself. This is where friends and family can be really helpful.
I have been struggling this year with self-criticism. I often blame myself for things that may not even be my fault. I jump to the conclusion “I must have done something wrong… or offensive…. or annoying”. And the list goes on. I continue to remind myself to not be so hard. I have really appreciated the friends that have stepped into my life and held me accountable and helped exactly when I needed it.
All this to say that it can be really hard to live with a mental illness. You often feel broken or even paralyzed to act. Just because someone appears to be happy, doesn’t mean they truly are. This next statement is true for me (and I’m sure for others as well): We do not want you to pull away from us because you are unsure of how to help or act around us. All we need is someone who will stay by our side and be a faithful friend. Be a listening ear when we need to vent, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to have fun and live life with.
All of this does not have to be a monumental task. After all – as the saying goes – “Many hands make light work.” You can often accomplish much more in a team than you can individually. So there are my thoughts on anxiety for the day. Let me know your experience on this subject!
Note: For anyone reading this, know you are loved and valued. You are never alone.
Have a good night friends!