May is Mental Health Awareness month. While I admit I didn’t find out until I saw it on Instagram, I still consider it an extremely important topic.
As many of you know, I struggle with anxiety. I’m happy to inform you that through practicing on a consistent basis, I’ve made a lot of progress. However, I still struggle with a lot of things and there is still a lot of improvement to be made.
There are a few things in particular that I’d like to talk about today. First and foremost, never give up on yourself. I know how easy it is to wonder if you’ll ever get through your anxiety and other issues. Trust me: with hard work on a consistent basis, you will. It may take a while, but you’ll get there.
Another thing I want to talk about is how it seems that many people are under the impression that anxiety and other mental health issues are always a ‘silent struggle’. While some people do keep it all bottled in, there are people that express what they go through – whether or not they want to. Also, while some issues can be invisible in that it’s hard to tell that someone is struggling, sometimes it can be pretty obvious that someone is going through something. No matter how mental health issues are illustrated (or not illustrated, for that matter), it does not indicate that someone is weaker or stronger than someone else. It is simply how their mental health shows itself. Either way, we need to support each other and help each other overcome our obstacles.
I’d also like to talk about something that’s a pretty big problem in the world – misconceptions about those who struggle with mental health issues. There are too many to name them all, so I’ll just focus on the ones that I’ve actually been accused of.
1.) My anxiety is just a way for me to stall growing up – This can’t be further from the truth. I want so badly to get a job, be able to do the things I once did without feeling anxious, etc. I hate that anxiety has gotten in the way of that. I don’t enjoy it at all.
2.) Anxiety is easy to ‘snap’ out of – Another misconception. It’s not always that easy to just ‘think yourself’ out of feeling anxious. Anxiety has the power to hold on for dear life at times. Sometimes it takes great force to get rid of it.
3.) Anxiety isn’t real – When a person is anxious, it can feel like it’s the end of their life. Everything can feel impossible and what was once easy, seems like the hardest thing in the world. Anxiety exists and it can be debilitating if you don’t learn how to take control.
4.) Anxiety is just an excuse to be lazy – This kind of goes hand in hand with number 1. Again, I hate not being able to do some of the things I once did without feeling anxious. Also, I enjoy doing things and working hard. Anxiety is not being lazy.
If you’re reading this and you struggle with a mental health issue, chances are that you’ve run into a plethora of misconceptions about whatever you deal with. I’m sorry you have to go through this. Stay strong and remember that it doesn’t matter what others think – it matters what you know. For those of you who know someone who struggles with a mental health issue, please try to be understanding and rid your mind of any misconceptions. If you have any questions about what someone struggles with, please ask them kindly. Don’t just make assumptions.