Anxiety is a scary thing. Mostly because the majority of people don’t understand what anxiety is or some individuals experience anxiety and shy away from accepting their feelings and behaviors. Anxiety is a mental illness and a physical one. It consumes the mind and body. Anxiety can be detrimental to health in several ways affecting sleep, cardiovascular and nervous systems, self esteem and much more. I know all of this because I am a nurse. A nurse who suffers from anxiety.
There have been times where my anxiety is so bad, I am paralyzed. Just recently there was an incident where I barely moved, I did not leave my room for an entire week, I missed work and pushed away all of my friends and family. I was paralyzed with feelings of sadness, fear and worry. There are other times my anxiety is mild. I’ll look fidgety. Often people ask me if I have ADD. I normally answer that I had too many cups off coffee or “Yes, I do have ADD”. Why would I say that? As someone who advocates for us to always speak up, why am I not doing what I preach? Because of stigma. A word we hear more frequently now then ever. The sad thing is, no matter how much we try, you cannot educate people that are not listening.
Think about your life. What are your major stresses? How do you handle them? What mechanisms do you have for releasing stress? How often do you practice them? How would you speak to someone who doesn’t know, understand or experience what you are talking about? If you go back and read over the questions again, they are probably harder than when you first assumed.
What helps me accept my anxiety is knowing there are others out there just as confused as I am. People who are also making mistakes, but also trying to better themselves. I seek solace in books. Stories about people and places that encourage me to be confident. I take advantage of my friends and always try to talk out situations. But, what I’ve learned over the years is that what works for me doesn’t always work for others. What I’ve also learned is that more people experience anxiety than you might think.
I didn’t want to put anything on the internet about my mental health status because you never know who is reading. But if I don’t, who will? I am not asking others to speak up about their anxiety because that may simply increase your anxious thoughts or make you uncomfortable (I personally am a bundle of nerves writing this). What I am hoping to convey by writing to you today is: you are not alone. Even when you feel the very worst and the loneliest you’ve ever felt, I repeat with conviction, you are never alone.
What I like to believe is that everyone suffers anxiety. Everyone. Some people more, some people less. Some people have good coping mechanisms, some people don’t. Some people struggle more with decreasing their worries than others. It’s not a make or break situation. It’s a spectrum.
Anxiety Spectrum by SocialShiners.com
This being said, I hope for everyone out there who understands and experiences what I’m saying, knows there are always people supporting you, even if we aren’t next to you. We understand your pain and are here for you always even though you may feel alone.
For those that may not understand or experience anxiety, I hope this helps you walk in the shoes of someone who does, I hope you learn a little bit about yourself, I hope you practice using compassion and listen.
Thank you for listening.