You’re standing on the edge of the pavement, your music is in your ears and you’re distracted thinking about what you might cook for dinner. You step out to cross and are quickly hit with a rush of adrenaline as you realise a car is hurtling towards you. Immediately you step back on to the pavement, you’re safe, and the spike of adrenaline begins to subside; eventually disappearing. But imagine if that feeling didn’t go away. Imagine if every waking second, your body is responding to a physiological fight or flight adrenaline surge that doesn’t end. That’s what it can be like living with anxiety.
There’s a hint of selfishness to this article, as having had a difficult few weeks with my own anxiety, I often find writing to be a positive outlet for emotions that I otherwise can’t express. Among our busy lives, it can be easy to bury the daily struggles so many of us face. It’s so important to keep mental health in people’s minds. Every. Single. Day.
Mental health affects one in four in the UK, but in many ways it affects us all in one way or another. Whether you are going through your own personal battle, or you are in some way connected to someone that is, it will have an impact on your life. It affects everyone very differently, and so what one person may experience is completely opposite to what another will.
The same applies when it comes to coping with it. There is no one cure, we are all different and this is where it can become difficult for people to empathise, often resorting to a ‘cheer up,’ mantra that can be counter-effective for those suffering. I have always placed a lot of blame on myself for the way I feel and for my lack of seeming ability to ‘cure myself’. I worry about burdening those closest to me with irrational fears and that they will become tired of spending time with me. This is a common fear with those dealing with anxiety and pushes us into a vicious cycle, only leaving us feeling more isolated and alone with an excess of emotion.
But it’s not necessarily about finding a cure but more a case of learning to live with it and finding ways to cope. And if we can all support one another in the simplest of ways, the world will begin to feel like a more accepting place for those suffering.
In recent years there seems to have been a greater acceptance of mental health issues in society, which is amazing to see, but there is still such a long way to go. So it’s positive to be kind; always. There’s a well-known saying that you really don’t know what another person may be going through, and that smile and positive outlook may be a well-rehearsed façade hiding more than you could know.
Time and time again my family and friends save me. They don’t all understand why or how I feel the way I do, and that’s OK. They don’t need to understand it in order to be there. If this article helps one person to realise they aren’t alone, then sharing a not so great time in my life will have been worth it.
Always remember that these feelings are temporary, they won’t last forever, and most of all, be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.