Apologies & Recognition

Yesterday I went out with one of my relatives. While I did become slightly anxious and needed their help coming and going, I think that all and all, I did pretty well. I got through the experience and for a long time, that was something that seemed impossible.

Even though I ended up doing okay, once I was back in the car, I found myself apologizing that I struggled a little. Now, sometimes, even much later on, I realize how difficult my anxiety might have been to deal with. However, later on yesterday after I had calmed down, I realized that I really didn’t do too horribly. I went out, I stayed the entire time, and I even enjoyed myself for a little bit before I became anxious. All in all, I did an okay job. The thing is, though, that for some reason I still felt guilty.

I think part of the reason that I feel guilty so often is because I wish that I didn’t struggle at all. I wish that I could do things without feeling so anxious – without asking at times for help from others. The thing that I have to remember though is that I have made progress and that the journey to get through anxiety is often one that takes a lot of hard work. It doesn’t happen over night.

Also, while I’m not trying to play the blame game, there are some people who seem to try to make us feel guilty. They come off (and might well be) as embarrassed of our struggle. Sometimes their feelings are quite obvious and this can be hard to deal with. After all, it’s hard enough for us to go through this let alone witness our loved ones being embarrassed of our issues.

We need to remember to count on ourselves for approval and recognition. Yesterday after apologizing to my relative, she said, “Sometimes you just need to push through”. While this may be true, I also think she tends not to realize how hard ‘pushing through’ anxiety can really be. Sometimes it is so strong that it doesn’t just allow you to step through its hold.

Instead of apologizing yesterday, I should have simply told myself that I did pretty well. I should have just mentally assessed that while I could do better next time, there was a time when I would have struggled even more. If my relative couldn’t see that, it’s too bad. Relying on her to tell me how well I did was pointless – especially when she tends to only see the mistakes I make or struggles that occur.

Apologizing isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes when I really feel like I’ve caused a lot of frustration because someone had to deal with my anxiety, I think apologizing is the right thing to do. However, there are times when no matter what, you can’t satisfy the person who you’re dealing with. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, if you’re not absolutely struggle-free, they’ll grow angry.

The bottom line is this – we are not burdens. While our anxiety might be frustrating for both ourselves and others, we’re not burdens and it is not our fault that we struggle. As long as we are trying our hardest on a consistent basis to get better, this is what matters.

There may be times when others try to make us feel guilty for struggling with anxiety or other issues. There may even be times when others grow embarrassed of our struggles – maybe you’ve been embarrassed of your struggle yourself. I know I have. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.

Please know that you don’t have to be embarrassed of your struggle. You are not alone. We all go through things. While we may all struggle in different ways, we all deal with hardships. Whether or not it always feels like it, there are people whom you can trust and who will support you.

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Please Forgive Me

I know I talk a lot about judging others and how we should all try our hardest to avoid it. I have to admit though, that even I’m guilty of judging. Every time I hear someone say how they struggle with anxiety, I can’t help wondering how true it is – especially when there are no outward signs of them struggling.

I know this sounds horrible and many of you may never want to read this blog again. I’m not going to make excuses for myself. Yes I’m a human being and I think as human beings, we all have moments where we judge others, but that’s doesn’t make it okay.

First let me say that I’m not doubting anyone who says they suffer from anxiety. Rather, as a person who suffers from anxiety so much that it shows, I tend to wonder how bad a person’s anxiety can really be if I see no sign of it. Right away when they say they struggle, I sometimes think how I must struggle even more.

I’m not proud of this thought process. In fact, I’m embarrassed of it and ashamed to admit that I sometimes think this way. I know that some people are simply better at hiding their feelings and, really, whether or not there are outward signs of your anxiety has no bearing on how much you’re really struggling.

Still, I feel the need to apologize for these thoughts. Why? Because it’s not right to compare my struggles with others’. We all struggle in different ways and just because you may be able to tell that I struggle, doesn’t make my anxiety any worse or more real than yours. We all process things differently and we all have different symptoms.

I also want to add that whether your anxiety is something that others notice or not, it does not mean that you are weaker or stronger than others around you. Like I said, anxiety manifests for different people in different ways. Don’t feel like your anxiety or how you deal with it makes you weak. You are strong – far stronger than your fears!

P.S. Please understand that I know that just because you may hide your anxiety or be better at not showing it, does not mean that your anxiety is not as bad as mine or the anxiety of others. I merely meant that I can sometimes, like many others, be quick to judge and that I am truly sorry.

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Genuinely Sorry

Yesterday when I was at the bank and struggling, I told my mom that I was sorry. I don’t think she believed me.

As I’ve mentioned, I think a big issue with anxiety is that some of the people we know who don’t experience anxiety, don’t believe that we struggle so much. It seems that for some reason, some individuals are under the impression that we either (a) fake our anxiety, (b) do it for attention, (c) do it out of immaturity/fear of growing up or, (d) enjoy it. There’s also the possibility that they think we go through anxiety for all of the above reasons.

The sad truth is, that these people may never understand that the above statements aren’t true. Honestly, I think there are some people in the world that will never understand what we go through and will never have the patience to deal with it in a kind, loving way. Now, I’m not saying that these people don’t love us or that they perhaps don’t try their best, but what I am saying is that they may never be able to help in the way that we know to be the most helpful.

Like I said, this fact is sad and unfortunate. However, something that is really upsetting is when I apologize and I feel like it’s not believed to be a genuine apology. The truth is that I am sorry. I’m sorry that I struggle. I’m sorry that I sometimes need the help from others to get through what should be simple things. I’m sorry that I sometimes upset others by being so anxious and needing so much assistance!

I think a big reason that the phrase “I’m sorry” might seem so insincere to some is because those who do not deal with anxiety are often under the impression that we can just make our anxiety stop, or that we should be able to. I think some individuals think that if we’re truly sorry, we can and should just stop struggling. As we all know though, it doesn’t always work this way.

Getting through anxiety is often an ongoing process, one that takes hard work and commitment to achieve. Just because things are difficult, we struggle, and we might ask for a lot of help, doesn’t mean that we’re not sorry. What it means is that we go through something that is really hard to manage and cope with.

When I apologize, I mean it. In fact I’ve never apologized and not meant it – ever. I’m truly sorry for putting people through this, for asking them for their help and for requesting so much of them. Also, I’m sorry that I go through this at all. I would love not to struggle with anxiety and I would love not to ask for so much help and feel like I need it. And you know what? I am working on getting better. It may not always seem like it, but it’s true.

So remember, if someone doesn’t believe that you’re sorry, it’s not your fault. Some people just can’t understand what we go through or don’t have the patience. It doesn’t mean they don’t love us, it just means that they don’t understand or find it difficult to grasp something that they personally, don’t struggle with. I wish you all the best and remember, you are not alone and there are people who care and who are happy to help! Also, you are not a burden! Period.

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