Hey everybody! Today I discovered that October 7th to October 13th is titled Mental Health Illness Awareness Week. While I consider anxiety more of an issue than an illness, I thought I would talk about it a bit in order to spread some awareness.
Instead of going into percentages and how common struggling with anxiety is, I’m going to take a more personal approach to discussing the issue. As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with anxiety for several years. While I’m not where I want to be yet in terms of progress, I have made a substantial amount, even if it may be hard for others and even myself, to recognize at times.
For those of you who struggle with anxiety, you know that it’s not an easy thing to deal with. Anxiety is often random, comes at inopportune times, and can make things that may have once seemed relatively easy seem extremely difficult. It’s tiring and it can weigh us down.
I’m going to admit something to all of you – I often get depressed that I still struggle so much. There are so many things that I used to love to do (going out, shopping, etc.) that I did without even thinking twice, that I hardly do at all now. However, certain things have gotten easier and that’s what I’d like to talk about next.
While it may seem impossible, with hard, consistent work, we can all get through our anxiety and over our obstacles. All of us. It might not happen overnight and it may even take years, but we will get through our struggles – we will. How do I know this? Because I’ve witnessed it first hand. As I mentioned in the above paragraph, certain things have become much easier for me since I started struggling with anxiety. Yes, the progress I’ve made has taken years, and while I do wish the process of getting better would have taken less time, I am so grateful that I have made the progress I have. Seriously, you have no idea how good it is to see how far I’ve come – even if I have much further to go.
It is important that everyone who struggles with anxiety or another mental health issue realize this – you are strong and capable of getting through your struggles. You are also strong enough to get over your obstacles. You just have to continue to try your hardest and never, ever give up. Things may take time – maybe even longer than you want them to take, but you need to hang in there. It’s worth it and so are you.
Another thing I want you all to know is that it doesn’t matter what others say when it comes to how much progress you’ve made or how long it’s taking. Some people may expect progress to be made overnight or they may constantly comment on how everything you struggle with should be resolved by now; that you should be over this by now. There is no time table for how long it takes when getting through something difficult. Each individual makes progress at different speeds. Just because you may not be where you want to yet does not mean you’re not trying.
Something else that I think is extremely important is that we all recognize the progress we’ve made. It’s easy to merely concentrate on all of the goals we haven’t accomplished and get lost in the negativity. We need to remember all of the amazing things we have accomplished and yes, even a ‘small’ step can be amazing.
As I mentioned earlier, I am so grateful and proud of myself for every step I’ve made in the right direction. You should be too! Please don’t dismiss any step forward as inconsequential. Every positive step matters! I really cannot say this enough.
So to all of you who are reading this, please know that you are not alone in your struggles. Please know that with hard, consistent effort, you can get through your anxiety and over any other obstacles you may have – no matter how difficult it may seem. Also, please don’t let yourself or others make you feel useless or as if you’re not getting better on time.
If anyone is reading this who knows someone struggling with anxiety or another mental health issue, please listen to what they have to say. Please don’t dismiss their feelings or make them feel lousy for what they go through. Also, please understand that anxiety is a real issue (as many others are) and that if someone is telling you that they struggle with it, they are most likely not making it up! I understand that some things in life are not easy to understand, but if you love someone who is struggling, please try your hardest to be supportive. Thank you!