By Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
1. Anxiety is not just ‘worrying’.
Worrying and being stressed out are completely different animals than having anxiety and being diagnosed with a mental illness. While of course stress and worry can do damage on your health, anxiety is not just biting your nails or freaking out about exams during finals.
2. Having anxiety is truly a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Anxiety is a true illness. It is not like a broken leg where you can put a cast on it, and let it heal. It takes therapy and medication sometimes to help symptoms, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those symptoms will go away permanently.
3. When someone is having a panic attack, telling them to ‘calm down’ won’t help.
When someone is having a panic attack, you can’t reason with them or give them orders to just ‘relax’ or ‘breathe’. Panic attacks have a mind of their own, and they are truly powerful.
4. If someone takes medicine for anxiety, that doesn’t mean that they are unstable.
Because there is a chemical imbalance in their brain, medicine is the key to some people for effectively taking their symptoms to a level where they can about their day to day life without a high level of worry.
5. Anxiety does not equal weakness.
Just because someone struggles with anxiety or any mental illness for that matter, doesn’t mean that they are smaller than you or weaker than you in any way. Their brains are wired differently. There should never be any shame in having anxiety, just like there should never be any shame for having a cold or for having a broken arm.
6. Most people with anxiety are braver than most people.
People who struggle with this illness are incredibly brave and strong. They have to go about their day to day lives, and on top of everyday challenges, they have to try to conquer their own demons. For some, it is a battle every damn day.
7. Panic attacks and anxiety can happen out of nowhere. There doesn’t need to be a reason for it.
A lot of the time when people have panic attacks, others will try to come up with a reason as to why it happened. But sometimes, there isn’t any reason. There doesn’t have to be a reason.
8. Having a panic attack is not a dramatic cry for help.
Many people who don’t understand anxiety, don’t understand how someone could think they are dying when they realistically are fine. What you need to know, is that, when people have panic attacks, there is no connection between reality and what they are truly feeling. Panic attacks make individuals truly think that they are taking their last few breaths. To know that feeling and to have experienced it, is not dramatic at all. It’s just scary.
9. You aren’t any better or stronger than someone who has a mental illness.
We all have obstacles to go through in this world. We all have our struggles and our personal issues that we have to deal with. If you know someone who has a mental disorder, don’t treat them as if they are any less of a beautiful person than someone who doesn’t have a mental disorder.
10. Anxiety comes and goes as it pleases.
Anxiety can leave just as often as it can come back to you. Some days, you can feel on top of the world, and some days you can feel utterly miserable with anxiety and panic raining down on you.
11. Anxiety is a not a laughing matter.
Anxiety is not a joke. Anxiety is not funny. Anxiety is not something to ever laugh at. Period.