It’s not about getting upset when something happens. Chronic anxiety is much worse, and unfortunately, misunderstood.
It’s not so strange to be triggered by a bad area of town, reluctantly traveling down a street where crime runs rampant. It’s expected that you would feel a little nervous, even downright petrified to be forced to travel this route. A little fear is understood.
But to experience these same feelings in the comfort of your own home is something different altogether. Chronic anxiety: able to come to the worst conclusions and suffer chest pains in a single moment. It’s something that many people just don’t understand.
And the misunderstandings go beyond an absence of education, sometimes the things they don’t know fuel them to be judgmental. Have you been judgemental of someone’s illness lately? Hmmm, maybe you don’t even know you’re doing this. There are things which those who suffer from chronic anxiety do that just seem strange to others.
You misunderstand, we battle.
I feel like I am hard on people sometimes, especially when I notice injustice towards the mentally ill. I often have a personal beef while writing, and I apologize for that. Those who suffer from chronic anxiety have to live life and battle illness while also keeping stigma, criticism, and rejection at bay. So, for further educational purposes, here are a few ways that those little things we do just get so misunderstood sometimes. Maybe this will help bridge our gap.
We suffer horrible fatigue
I don’t want you to think that I think laying in bed all day and crying is a good thing, but it just happens, and it happens to the best of us. Chronic anxiety is not just about being upset, sometimes it means not being able to function, similar to symptoms of depression.
We know that to shut off our brain is to stop the worries, the analyzation and, that pesky criticism we have to deal with on top of everything else. Like I said, it’s not the healthiest thing to do in, but if we don’t rest when we need to, and if we don’t quiet the voices, it can lead to adverse effects 0n our bodies. Oh, and we’re not lazy, just saying.
We trapped by our worst fears
I have met people who, no matter how long you’re acquainted with them, just cannot understand this aspect of chronic anxiety. We always create scenarios, the worst case scenarios. It’s not because we are bad people who think negative all the time, it’s because we’re SICK! Okay, I know this trait is unnerving, but it’s real.
If you’re gone too long, we panic and imagine something bad happening to you. If something we ordered doesn’t arrive, we assume it’s been stolen. This thing kicks in immediately, sort of like an emergency preparation system, getting us ready to face the worst possible outcome. In a way, this is designed to protect us from further panic. Unfortunately, many of you see this as unbearable behavior, a behavior we control and won’t stop. This is not true.
Obsession is common
Things that might not ever cross your mind are normal for us. We obsess about our last conversation, tearing apart each detail and analyzing what it means. We look deeper into statements, we wonder about cryptic meanings and we replay what was said, over and over until words lose meaning. Can you imagine the mental pain this causes us?
Many people see this as some silly thing we like to do. A common misconception is that we focus on the wrong things in life and not the important aspects like you do. But to us, understanding a conversation on many levels is important. We need to see the warning signs of a possible problem, and we need to know what you really meant when you said, “things are fine”. This obsession is also an automatic process which happens before we’re aware.
Turning down invitations is normal
Being social/being an introvert – these words have more than one meaning for many people. I know some introverts who prefer not to go out and do things and I know others who have different viewpoints on their levels of sociability – only doing things with specific people. I’m just speaking for myself, however.
Now that’s complicated, but let me explain. It’s like my sociability, to a certain point, where I see myself as introverted – I don’t care if I see another human being during the entire day, but they still won’t leave me alone. So, I deal with it. I also have close friends who listen to my babbling, and that works for me. I don’t turn down invitations for fun because I hate you, I just want to be myself and enjoy time alone, most of the time because I know my anxiety level is safe with me.
I used to be one of those children who made fun of the hypochondriacs until I started to suffer the symptoms myself. I always had imaginary friends, experienced hallucinations, but I never really thought I was going to die, until the 4th grade. These episodes consisted of checking my pulse, pulling at the sleeves of my shirt, because I was losing circulation to my hands, and listening to all the little noises in my head, because apparently, my brain was broken.
I was dying, and every day brought a new issue with my body. I couldn’t stay in school and I couldn’t sleep. It only got better when I visited the doctor and the child therapist. I no longer made fun of people who thought they were sick because they were. Hypochondriacs envision an illness and then suffer the physical side effects brought on by their thinking.
This can be seen in those who use google to discover they are dying – searching for symptoms that just happen to match other more serious conditions. Let’s try to be patient with those who suffer in this way. It’s a horrible ordeal.
Again, I ask for kindness and education
Why didn’t I ask for understanding? Well, understanding comes from learning. I do stand up for the little guy and the mentally ill, but I do try to have a little understanding for those who do not understand. Just like those who are sick, those who misunderstand are most times uneducated. This isn’t the case all the time, but it’s predominant.
For those who refuse to understand, then I can’t help you there. The only way you will feel close to those who suffer is to see it from their eyes. Without the passion for understanding, there cannot be healing or change. You cannot force someone to be better! Just remember that.
For now, let’s continue to move forward. We have a long way to go in order to change the stigma. Thank you for your time.
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