Seeing as this week is mental health awareness week, I thought I’d put in my 2 cents on a topic I’m very familiar with.
Now, I don’t have a mental health problem (at least I hope not or if I do, it’s not a big one) and I don’t think I’ve ever had one. By that I mean any eating disorders, depression, OCD, paranoia, bipolar disorders and so on… There is nothing wrong with people having any of these and they’re not “crazy”, it’s just like a physical sickness that can be treated with therapy and medication. Or so I’ve heard. I choose to support people struggling with their own consciousness.
However, I have experienced anxiety and mood swings first hand and I know how much it SUCKS, when people tell you to brush it off, get over it and do what is right (or you’re supposed to do or whatever the thing is that you’re anxious about.) I am a grown woman and I still to this day have issues with talking on the phone. I know most people have this fear up until a point in their lives, but for me it has turned into a nightmare that I need to go through on daily basis. Of course it’s not with everyone I know, but you have to be a really good friend of mine for me to be comfortable with calling you without getting a shaky voice and sweaty palms.
TEXT ME FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. TEXT. It’s the one thing I’m good at. Because if I have to call you, I’ll be thinking about it all day, looking at my phone like it’s a device made from Satan himself. I’ll be plucking up the courage for 4 hours, I’ll have weird scenarios playing in my head, I’ll go through every possible thing you could say and I’ll try to come up with a comeback for all of it before I even think of dialing. And when I finally do it, I’ll pray to every god that you don’t hear your phone and don’t answer, because I don’t want to go through having a voice conversation with you.
This is why it’s very difficult for me to call people I’ve never seen before – asking for jobs, having administrative calls, hunting for apartments, calling your mom to tell her you’re with me, etc… I am absolutely mortified of the whole experience.
I get the same thing when I speak foreign languages, I get anxious, very very scared and confused. Truth is, I CAN speak more than just English and I can speak just fine, but that little voice inside my head won’t let me. There isn’t even a good explanation for how I feel every time I have to speak Finnish or Swedish and the worst part is that people around me just don’t understand. I would have a pretty chill job if I wouldn’t be so stressed about having to speak a foreign language with strangers. All the time. I get a big adrenaline rush and I want to exit the situation as fast as possible, often I do the work faster than I’m supposed to just so I can get away from the people. And I’m anxious about getting fired, too. For no reason, I’m a good employee yet I always have the feeling that I’m not good enough, that I’ve messed something up and that soon I’ll get what’s coming my way. 2 years ago I was so scared and stressed about all this that I cried every night when I went to sleep, because I knew I had to go to work the next morning.
Don’t say you understand anxious people, when you don’t. It’s the worst.
“But you’re so social and talkative, I’ve never noticed anything serious with you” <– I get that so often! True, I’m a social beast and I do LIKE people, but only in situations, in which I feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Partying, for example. Nothing I do really matters, so I loosen up and have fun and that’s when most of you get to know me. Try talking to me, when I’m at work and you’ll see what “silent treatment” really means. Being anxious isn’t a synonym for not being social or enjoying people’s company, it means that in some situations you have a harder time with letting go and doing mundane tasks than others.
I don’t have a severe case of anxiety, I don’t understand a lot of things about it and I DO call people on the phone if there is absolutely no other way around it, but I do make it a bigger deal than most people would. I do get some episodes of completely unnecessary anxiety for things like school projects, certain people (1 at a time), work and self-development, but I believe all of us have that. I however feel very sorry for all those poor souls, who suffer from serious anxiety attacks on daily basis and I hope they talk to someone about it.
Been reading lots of posts about mental health this week, so great to see what people think and say about their own issues. :) And of course, if you really have something serious to work out, you should always consult a professional in the field, don’t wallow in it!
//Stef – toodaloo