Anxiety is a fickle thing, and like many others mine comes out in different ways. Sometime’s it’s me snapping back at people and being irritable. Sometimes it’s me crying on the floor and not being able to breathe. Other times it’s making me unable to move with butterflies fluttering around my stomach. The triggers are different too, something as small as an unanswered text or being left out of people’s plans. Sometimes it can be nothing at all.
See anxiety has a whole range of symptoms and triggers for different people. It can manifest in different ways. Sometimes others misunderstand this. They say because it is different to what they associate as anxiety, that it’s all in my head. That it’s my fault. This in turn gives me the impression that perhaps my anxiety is wrong, that I am controlling it badly.
Yet as I talk more about anxiety, others tell me their stories too. People are more open talking to me about what they are anxious about. The breakdowns. The anxiety attacks. The nausea and even sickness. Their triggers aren’t the same as mine, and the way they act due to their anxiety is different to how I act. I don’t judge them for it. I don’t tell them what they are doing is stupid.
Even playing stealth games can give me anxiety to the point I turn it off or give the controller to someone else. My other half loves them and I watch when he plays them. He understands that I get anxious about playing sometimes and never questions it. I have people who realise that not replying to a message can make me anxious, so they always eventually reply to let me know that things are okay. For that I will be forever grateful.
People don’t get to decide if something should cause your anxiety or what an anxiety attack looks like. They shouldn’t tell you how you should act or criticise you for it.
It’s too easy to say “I don’t get it. That wouldn’t cause me anxiety.” Then tell you that you are being stupid. As we find it a lot easier to judge others, instead of listening and understanding.
Anxiety is one of the many mental illnesses that have many manifestations. So many people suffer, and so many people judge those who suffer.
It isn’t a competition.
All we need to do is be supportive to each other, listen and if we can help them. Make life less anxious for others and more fun.
A small act of kindness goes a long way.