When I decided I wanted to blog about mental health, I did a lot of research. I wanted to see what other people were saying, what they were thinking, what they were feeling. Obviously there is good information to be found on the Internet (have you seen Wikipedia?) but sometimes its difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. That was the case when I researched anxiety.
There’s definitely no shortage of anxiety; you’d have to be living under a rock not to be the least bit worried about all that’s going on in our world. When I would search for articles and blog posts about anxiety, while I would find people who are definitely valid in their thoughts and fears, and could identify with their feelings of worry and stress, I noticed something: the anxiety typically seemed to be brought on by an external factor.
Let me first say that I am in no way trying to invalidate anyone’s anxiety about what’s going on in the world today – or anything you’re anxious about, for that matter. It’s warranted and totally valid. What I was looking for, though, was for what I could do about anxiety that’s not brought on by anything. What to do when feelings of stress, worry and fear overtake your body and mind out of nowhere, taking your brain to a place you don’t want to be for a reason that you do not know. I was looking for that because that’s what happens to me. I live in that mindset.
I know I’m not alone; anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in America, affecting more than 40 million adults aged 18 and older. However, only 37 percent of those people seek treatment. Why is that? That’s probably a topic for another post (or posts; we’ll definitely get into that more in the future). But unfortunately, my anxiety means that what I know to be true and what I feel to be true are two different things. I know I’m not alone, and yet I feel alone. I know I shouldn’t worry, but I live in a state of fear and panic.
This might go without saying, but it leads to a lot of issues. Some of these issues I can recognize, while others trap me out of nowhere. What’s taken me years to confront is the fact that though my anxiety might not be real to others, it’s very real to me. Though I haven’t accepted that yet, I know it’s true. It took a very long time, but I think it’s the first step to accepting the fact that my logic is flawed. That some of the things I’ve thought my entire life could be wrong. I know it won’t be easy but, someday, it might make my life a tiny bit better. And that’s a dream worth chasing.