What Happens When We Hide Our Anxiety
Anxiety. At some stage in your life you will face it. A first date, a public speech or the first day at your new job. For the lucky ones, you’ll get nervous, do whatever it is that is making you nervous and then go back to your usual self. And that makes me incredibly envious.
For the unlucky ones like me, anxiety controls us. It manipulates our thoughts and pushes us further and further into solitude, until it’s hard to see the light.
You feel weak because you can’t do something that others think is a piece of cake. You begin to feel like a burden to everyone, friends, family and partners.
Your keep bailing on plans with friends because of your anxiety (I did this constantly) and they begin to pull away and stop asking. For some reason this makes you happy — briefly, but it does. You don’t have to panic about doing something wrong or embarrassing yourself, and that gives you relief — but believe me, it’s only temporary.
The stigma around having a mental health issue causes a lot of people to hide it. We mask our pain and are very good at doing so, that’s why a lot of the time when you find out someone has anxiety or depression it comes as a surprise.
I hid my problems from everyone. My parents were the only ones who knew, and I’m lucky they were so supportive. All throughout high school I never told any of my friends, and they never asked. There were times when I considered telling some of my close friends but I thought they would never understand. They never seemed to be going through any of these problems themselves, so I went through high school pretending. Hiding until it would be over.
Suicide is something a lot of people with mental health problems have contemplated. Dying seems easy when you’re in that mindset, and living seems hard. Sometimes we think the easiest solution is to make it all end. Permanently. If I didn’t have such a beautiful family supporting me, I could easily see myself going down that same path many others unfortunately have. Just trying to survive was difficult, but my support system helped me realize something that ended up helping me the most:
The more you hide your disease the more the disease wins.
You didn’t ask for it and you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy, but it’s there. It’s going to be there for a while and that really sucks. I know this because I have both anxiety and depression disorders. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked “Why me? Did I do something wrong? Is this karma?” I can’t tell you why it happens to the people it does. But we, the ones that survive, you won’t find anyone tougher.
We are all unique human beings. Not one the exact same as another. Our joys are different, our happiness differs from others and our grief takes different forms, just as our anxieties and fears are different from one another.
So if I can end this post with one thing it’s just to remember that. Don’t judge people based on their anxieties. Help them, support them, and you will get to know the person they are without fear.
If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.