Everyone has been afraid of something at least once. Being afraid once is not a problem. But if your fear turns into a constant thing, that is when you need help. Most of the time your anxiety has a trigger moment.
My trigger moment happened a few years ago, as my world started to crumble. With my world, I mean the people I surrounded myself with. It started with my boyfriend at the time. When he broke up with me, it hit me very unexpectedly and as naive as I was I had thought that we would be together till at least the end of our education at school. Big, big, big mistake. After the breakup, I hardly could concentrate on school and my studying, I started to get bad grades and no matter what I tried it didn’t get better.
After a few weeks my (at the time) best friends also started to distance themselves. One of them even told me face to face she didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. That broke me, I started to get anxiety attacks. I felt as though couldn’t breathe anymore. I felt abandoned and alone, I had nobody and no-one seemed to care how I felt.
I know my parents, tried to help me. But instead of helping me, they actually made my anxiety worse. With the words: “You never learn,” and “You are always gaming instead of learning,” or “You haven’t learnt enough,”. What they didn’t realise was and probably is, that I already was telling that to myself. And as I told them about my anxiety they told me it was all in my head, and I should just get over it. Giving those comments is the most harmful thing to do, since it demeans the feeling and self-confidence even more than before. At a point in time, I didn’t feel like I had the right to live and to feel what I felt.
Now, I know my parents meant no harm, but in general, if someone cries out for help you should listen to what they need not what you think they need. Because unless they are putting themselves or others in danger, they know their feelings better than anyone else could know. Even me, who has suffered through anxiety and still on somedays is suffering, doesn’t clearly understand it properly. Anxiety is a very complex feeling, and unless you have suffered through the exact same thing (trust me you didn’t) you can’t understand how much of an impact anxiety has on the individual.
Long story short: Listen!
For a long time, I had to struggle to prove to my parents that my anxiety was real and it couldn’t get fixed by reading a book. But in the end, I succeeded and they at least partially saw. I do understand their actions. These days having anxiety is a bad sign. If you have anxiety or even depression it’s one step away from ending yourself. But that doesn’t have to be the case, in our society, (at least how I perceive it) the majority struggle with anxiety or depression. Which might be a sign that we as humanity need to change something.
In general, anxiety is something you will have to live with your whole life. The only thing you can do is learn how to cope with it and how to make your confidence in yourself “bigger” than your anxiety.
One big action which helped me a lot was expressing my feelings. Whether that was in dance, music or here in painting Art. The picture below is one of the bigger art projects I finished. It depicts my feelings as being alone in the dark. No one to hear my screams or help me through my suffering.
Whether you are or aren’t struggling, I wish you a beautiful day and Happy Holidays…