Like many other mental health issues anxiety is a serious issue that most of the people ignore.
I think that most of the time people cannot understand how they are feeling. A sort of confusion in their actions, emotions, feelings, thoughts is always there.
And it mostly happens due to some unmanaged and “slipped under the rug” emotional trauma.
In India having some sort of mental illness and explaining about your mental illness are two huge battles. And because of that most people choose to fight just one and does not dare share anything about it to family or friends.
But I am not only going point out painful realities. But I am going to share some experiences that might help you in your battels.
So let’s come to the point,
What is anxiety?
Not going to be technical or scientific here. I am just going to define it the way I feel it.
Anxiety is thoughts, a lots of thoughts! uncontrollable, irrational, painful and unrealistic. So much as it affects your actions, your way of functioning changes and everything rather seems too important or worthless.
Anxiety disorders can even affect you physically. It’s effect can be seen in some part of your body. Black out, involuntarily muscle movement, unexplainable muscle pain, and many more.
Why does anxiety occur?
First of all anxiety is not overthinking. Overthinking is a mere expression most people use as a way of making them look cool. Anxiety doesn’t makes you cool, ever.
But overthinking might be the start of it.
Reasons why anxiety occur can be various but I am listing out the most common I have seen.
- Unspoken feelings.
- Emotional baggage.
- Pretending to be ok.
- Always trying to make everyone around you happy.
- Not knowing how to express your emotions.
When you are close to someone, your family or your friend circle, having feelings is normal.
I am not only talking about romantic feelings. But all sorts of feelings.
Feelings are twisted things, they change over time or they might change over night without any reason. or they may never change.
Okay, going into more specific direction.
If you are close to your family, you live in the same house. The relationships in families are very confusing.
Relation between parents are especially confusing. Because you have seen them all your life, growing up and they too saw you grow up. For them in some corner of their mind you will always be a baby who doesn’t know how the world works.
And you always see your parents as someone who doesn’t know how today’s world works.
This creates distance when you don’t try to express how you feel. When you always count someone less in your mind and don’t talk about it, your actions automatically change.
Relations between friends are twisted too.
Everyone expects something different from a friend. Not talking about those fake friendships. In real friendships you expect much more then just a person being there in your contact list.
We want real connections, real friendships, real emotions. Who doesn’t right?
But do you ever fear that all your friends might leave you, and you will end up all alone?
And because of this you never say what you really feel. Even if sometime they hurt you, or even if sometime you are angry at them, or any sort of thing.
All these adds up in your mind. The episode of them being rude or mean plays on loop and then your worst fear take over. And unknowingly this is all you are thinking for a whole day, and the time only grows.
You realize that you are thinking too much and it’s irrational but you can’t stop. It’s like your worst fears and worst experiences are taking over your mind.
Sounds scary? It feels worse.
Sounds familiar? This word for me was a word that I have heard, but didn’t know what it meant till I had it.
Emotional baggage is all those things you thought when you went through a rough patch. But never addressed them even with your own self.
These unaddressed thoughts, or actions, or words are like those primary school bags. You don’t know how heavy they are till you remove it from your shoulders.
This is the worst kind of thing to have in your mind because you know you don’t want it, you know you are over it, but still it haunts you time to time.
It can be about a childhood bad memory,
or somethings you wanted to say to your best friends before you parted ways.
Something you want to say to your parents but can’t because, you know it will hurt them.
Something that you wanted to say to your ex-boyfriend/ girlfriend.
To your ex-husband/wife.
To your children.
In-short something that you couldn’t say to someone who mattered a lot in your life and now that time is gone.
Unspoken feelings just makes your emotional baggage heavier.
Pretending to be ok.
When I meet someone who is doing this, I ask them one question.
“ARE YOU GOD?”
No, seriously, are you? Because humans are meant to have problems with everything around them. How can you be so okay??
Do not do this to yourself. When someone insults you speak up, when someone humiliates you show that it is not accepted, that it affects you.
Don’t expect someone else to take a stand for you. Take a stand for yourself and speak up.
And when you think no I can’t, They are my parents/relatives/friends.
Then listen, your parents, first of all, should know how to handle their child. And if they don’t then it’s your duty to tell them how their words and behavior affects you. I don’t think any parent would not want to know about their child’s feelings.
Your relatives, those who sometimes come to visit you have to know how to talk to you. If you pretend with them about being ok in everything they say then it will be their habit to treat you that way.
And you will pretend and they will do it more and more every time. It will create a distance and they wouldn’t even know what they did wrong.
All that can happen in friendships too. But then you will become something everyone hates.
When there is “pretending to be ok” situation, you become a backstabber. You talk about them behind their back and when you realize what you did, you hate yourself too.
Are you seeing how damage a simple thing can cause? That thing is your act of being ok for everything.
How to express your feelings?
Okay, This is the most important part of this blog.
Saying everything in your mind as it is, is not the way. Because when you share your feelings with someone else there is someone else, other than you, involved. Someone you care about.
And expressing your feelings doesn’t necessarily means hurting theirs.
First of all tell them that you have something in mind that you want to talk about.
Create the environment where they understand that you are in a weak and fragile state, so that they can understand you.
If you get too emotional make small notes on how you want to take the conversation.
Do not hold back anything once you start.
Sometime you might feel as if it is impossible to say all things, it seems like it’s not worth it, or so many other thoughts may cloud the idea of sharing it all.
Trust me and talk to them. Talk with the person you trust MOST!
I hope this was helpful, Do tell me in the comment section about your experience of dealing with any sort of mental struggles.
To reduce anxiety in children and make them mentally agile, teach them some mind strengthening techniques. If you want to know more about them, click here click here.
All I can say in the end is..
Own your feelings. Don’t feel ashamed of it. Accept it and move on.