Anxiety Doesn't Have a 'Look'

Thursday, 7 April 2016

These photos are all taken within a 24 hour period, and they all have something in common. In all of them I have anxiety.

I see so much online with people belittling those with anxiety, or even depression. If you're caught smiling, or going out with friends, you're accused of making up your condition. If you're sharing your life online via blogging/vlogging you surely can't have a mental health problem, because you're so confident and you share everything with an audience?

I'm sorry but that's a load of sh*t.

I can be the most confident person going - I used to perform on stage in front of hundreds of people. I am confident. I'm a confident young woman, and I have anxiety. Just because I'm confident, this doesn't mean I can't have anxiety?

One of my favourites pieces written by Rachel Kellis for International Day of Happiness, beautifully depicts how happiness and sadness are not mutually exclusive, and you can feel both emotions and still have depression - you should absolutely give it a read. It really spoke to me. It's how I feel about my anxiety. I can have anxiety and even be confident. I can have anxiety and be happy, or sad. 

These are all emotions. Generalised Anxiety Disorder is not an emotion. It's a condition.

It really aggravates me how many people can misconstrued what 'anxiety' means. Yes, we all can experience anxiety at any time in our lives, but there's a huge difference in feeling nervous before a job interview, and feeling numb and helpless and not wanting to get out of bed. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but that's what these niggling thoughts tell me.

That's the difference.

Anxiety (to me) - is uncontrollable. Hard to understand. Numbness. Helplessness. Panic. Insomnia. Restlessness. Confusion. Emptiness. 

I recently watched a video on Facebook, which was aptly entitled "Things People With Anxiety Want Their Friends To Know" and it really hit me. I talk a lot about my anxiety and depression online, but I don't necessarily talk to the people I love about it as much, and I probably should.

You see, it's much easier to share a short video onto your timeline and for those who you're closest with to watch it and understand how you're feeling. I find it hard to speak to people about it, mainly because of the stigmatisation of mental health. I often doubt myself. Am I just making this all up? Is this something I've created inside my head? 

Sometimes, I'll be fine all day, then bam everything just crumbles. I can't function properly. I get a fuzzy-like cotton wool head and all my motivation and drive are just gone. I can plan things with my loved ones, be really excited for the day and for some unknown reason in my tummy, I get that horrible, fuzzy feeling and I just hit a brick wall. It happened today. 

I find it hard to control my anxiety because I don't really understand what triggers it and I think that can frustrate the people around me. I know they're not frustrated at me. They're frustrated for me. I know they wish they could take this horrible thing that's eating me up and stamp on it. I know that. I know they mean well. But it's still so difficult to talk about, especially since it can hit me at any time.

But what makes it worse is when I see certain individuals targeting those and saying "you don't look like you have anxiety*." Anxiety doesn't have a look. It's invisible but it doesn't mean it's any less of illness.

I wish more people would understand that.

Sorry for the long, ramble post about mental health but it's a sense of release putting thoughts the keyboard for me.

I'm not defined by my anxiety but I'm also not standing for people saying you have to look depressed, or anxious.


* These are just my experiences and views on my anxiety, and this may not be the case for all of those with the condition. Everybody suffers differently with different conditions, and these are just my experiences.


If you liked this post you might also like 15 Thoughts Of An Anxiety Sufferer or Let's Talk about Mental Health

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