May is Mental Health Awareness month. I know I'm late to the game, but before we're into June (HOW ARE WE HALF WAY THROUGH THE YEAR?), I wanted to take tonight to ask for y'all's help in completing this blog post.
Last year, I wrote about talk therapy and how I went about finding my therapist. A few months ago, I opened up to you all about my own struggles with anxiety and depression, and my journey with getting off anti-depressants then getting back on them. I've been told before that I'm "brave" for sharing my experiences with mental health but, to me, it isn't brave. It's just human. Being open about your struggles normalizes them. Talking frankly about shitty shit you deal with almost always reiterates that you're not at all alone. NOT talking about these things make them feel even worse and fuels their paranoid fire. Speaking them out loud like it's just another annoying life struggle (like getting a bad cart at Target or your friend being on Instagram but not texting you back) makes them digestible and takes away the silly stigmas that used to come along with them.
In short, talking about anxiety, depression, or the other hundreds of disorders, diseases, and downright annoyances that fall under the mental health category can, funnily enough, make it all feel 10x more manageable. Thusly why I do it.
Which brings me to the point of this post — to have you all weigh in on anxiety. It's a weird thing, anxiety. It's so hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it or maybe has in spurts but not nearly as intensely as you have/do. In these situations (ones in which you are dealing with someone who hasn't dealt with or doesn't understand anxiety), people can be very innocently ignorant. "There's nothing to be anxious about!" they'll say. "Why are you freaking out?" they'll inquire. "Everything will be OK. Just calm down," they'll offer. But the thing about anxiety is IT DOESN'T BELIEVE OR HEAR ANY OF THAT. For as difficult as it is for someone without anxiety to understand and comprehend it, it's 20x more difficult as someone who DOES have it to explain it or even understand it yourself. Therefore, I wanted to use today's post as a platform of sorts for YOU to best describe, explain, sum up, or generally express what anxiety is in your eyes. What it feels like, looks like, sounds like, tastes like. Basically, I want your help in helping others understand WTF anxiety even is.
So, if you're willing, leave a comment on this post and start with the phrase "Anxiety is." Here are some examples to get you inspired:
Anxiety is not skipping a workout because I'm lazy but because the anxious butterflies in my stomach are making it impossible for me want to do anything but lay down.
Anxiety is creating 10 different stories in my head without having enough information.
Anxiety is jumping to the worst conclusion every single time, no matter what.
Anxiety is me snapping at friends and family because I can't communicate just how anxious I'm feeling so, instead, I become flippant and bitchy.
Anxiety is not being able to make it through a simple grocery shop because you just wanna go home.
So, tell me — Anxiety Is...