“Some of my fears were more rational, others less, but they all controlled my daily life,” admits writer Cady Morrison . And names nine points that allow us to look from the inside at a state of constant anxiety and better understand those who suffer from anxiety disorder. Five years ago I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
It didn’t surprise me much, because I had spent the previous 20 years constantly panicking for countless reasons. Some of my fears were more rational, others less, but they all to some extent controlled my daily life, taking it beyond the norm. I spent a lot of energy trying to find the best way to handle this anxiety. I would like to think that now I understand everything that is happening to me.
But if you ask me what I would like to change now, I would not speak about anxiety itself, not about ease and accessibility of treatment. What confuses me most is how often I find myself in tense and painful situations, communicating with people who just want to help me. How much simpler it would be if they at least partially understood what anxiety is. Here are 9 things that I would wanted to to all to explain .
1. Anxious person thinks nonlinearly
It seems to me that in ordinary people anxiety and panic cause a linear response. Something has happened or is supposed to happen – they get scared. But for a person with anxiety disorder, everything happens differently. I will show an example. Imagine you lost your car keys. Of course, it is always unpleasant. A person without anxiety disorder will think: “Oh, what a bad luck! In the coming days I will have a lot of unnecessary problems! ”And how will a person with anxiety disorder react? “Oh no! I lost my keys! And what if I do not find them? And if I urgently need a car, but there are no keys? What if you need to urgently take someone to the hospital? Suddenly it will be my best friend? Suddenly he will be dying, and the only way to save him is to take him to my car? I lost my keys, my friend will die, and it will only be my fault! ”
2. Anxiety is not rational, and believe me, we know it very well.
As the spirit say – we know! If you could overhear our thoughts, you would be convinced: we understand that most of our disturbing thoughts are illogical and unfounded . Last week, I began to worry that my parents would hate me. Although in my heart I understood perfectly well that this would never happen. This is one of the most unpleasant features of anxiety disorder. You freak out , realizing that there is no real reason to freak out. But you can not turn off your emotions. My therapist somehow compared this to a faulty alarm that is implanted in the brain. It turns on and starts to shout not only in response to some real dangers, in other words, chaos is rising in the head of an anxious person because of the huge amount of completely insignificant trifles. Sometimes the reason for such a reaction is so miserable that it is even difficult to catch what caused it.
3. Anxious people also have good and bad days.
Everybody has good and bad days, that’s the way life is. I want you to know: in this we are no different from you. And my reaction to people and situations depends on what day I have today. If the day is unsuccessful for me and some person got angry with me, the following consequences are likely: a) a panic attack will happen to me, b) I will cry, c) I will begin to say anything to calm down his anger, or e) all of the above taken together. Of course, I cannot expect that no one will ever be angry with me or will be angry only on those days when I am in good shape. I, like any person, sometimes make mistakes, and this annoys people, which is quite normal. But well, I could say: “Understand, I have a hard day today. Can we postpone this conversation? ”Knowing that the person to whom I say this will understand that this is not an excuse, and will show me elementary kindness.
4. Anxiety causes physical pain
Of course, first of all it is painful emotionally. This is her worst. But it also causes physical pain. The strongest – during a panic attack: chest squeezes so that it is impossible to breathe. But anxiety can also cause headaches, nausea, palpitations, muscle tension, dizziness, insomnia, exhaustion.Someone has a very painful gastrointestinal reaction to anxiety. Have you ever heard the phrase “it was as if a stomach was tied up with a stomach”? Someone has such a muscle spasm, which leads to stretching or tearing. Anxiety is painful.
5. Anxiety is different
This disorder has many guises. Specifically, I have it generalized . Or, as I say to my family, frustration “about everything-everywhere-always.” But there are many types of anxiety disorders. Someone it is associated with social phobia , someone more specific phobias. It happens, it is set genetically and caused by chemical processes in the brain, it happens, it develops as a result of some event. Some suffer from this all their lives, while others begin to suffer from frustration in adolescence or as an adult. Someone – but not all! – you manage to overcome it, or at least learn to cope with it so well that it no longer interferes with living. Some are treating him with drugs or going to psychotherapists, others not.
6. Anxiety is associated with depression.
Not all anxious people suffer from depression, and vice versa. But very often these two disorders occur in humans at the same time. And one thing can lead to another. We, anxious, know all too well that there is a connection between them, and, as you might guess, it disturbs us greatly. If we have ever had depression, we are worried that she will return. And in this case it is rational fear. As the chances of recurrence grow with each new episode of depression. So be careful in a conversation with such a person, do not exacerbate his fears of depression. On the other hand, watch him closely: the person himself does not always notice the beginning depression in himself.
7. Most likely, you’d better listen, not talk
The usual pattern of behavior: we ourselves can critically respond to someone from our family, but we will not allow this to outsiders, we will immediately rush to the defense of “our own”. Anxiously the same. I can talk about how hard it is for me, how anxiety makes me angry, deprives of my strength, but if you start talking about this, it probably hurts me. I can say how I would like to get rid of my anxiety, but if you say it, I’ll probably decide that you are a ham . Moreover, it is not worth discussing someone’s mental problems with third parties, unless you have been given direct permission or if you do not tell the person who is obliged to keep the secret (psychotherapist, lawyer). Such topics are still taboo in society, and therefore many people suffering from anxiety disorder do not want publicity. For some people, it alone can trigger severe anxiety.
8. Anxiety disorder is part of our personality.
No matter how painful an anxiety disorder may be, without it we would not be who we are. Many of us find it difficult to accept such a view, and I am not an exception. We struggle so much with our disorder, it is our enemy that we must get rid of in order to live a full, productive life! But the reality, as usual, more difficult. Anxiety is also part of us. It influences the decisions we make, in our view of the world, on certain aspects of our personality. If we look at it as an enemy, we try to get rid of this part of ourselves. When my psychotherapist explained this to me, I was shocked, although I had known for a long time that I had an anxiety disorder. I viewed anxiety as a disease to be treated, and not as part of my personality. But since then I have worked to change my view. It helped me to get rid of the oppressive feeling that I was an inadequate loser who had haunted me for many years. It is normal to be an anxious person. And it would be good to convey this thought to those anxious people who do not yet understand this.
9. Last and most important: be kind!
If you know someone who is anxious and want to help him, so directly ask: “How can I help you?” It is better to ask such a question when a person is calm.
We know that you are tired of how we wind ourselves up, that our anxiety annoys you, which is hard with us. In short, we know how you feel. And we also experience indignation, irritation, exhaustion, we also want to get rid of all this. The difference between you and us is that we think and experience it all the time. And these thoughts cause us a great sense of guilt, provoking self-flagellation. We are trying so hard to live better, so we don’t want to disturb and annoy anyone! If you are annoyed or harassed by a person with anxiety disorder, this is normal. No one reproaches you for this. We ourselves understand this very well. But you have the opportunity to escape from these problems. We have no such opportunity.
Therefore, do not pour out your irritation on an anxious person, feeding his sense of guilt. No need to persuade him to calm down, he himself would like to do it. All this only aggravates those emotions with which we can not cope. Better then just go. And what to do to really help such a person? Distract him with something, listen or just stay with him. The main thing – do not “ship” it, then it is much more difficult for him to calm down. Kindness is needed by everyone, especially people who are not inclined to show kindness to themselves. You will be surprised to know how much little things mean to us: a smile, approval, a compliment, a sandwich. How can they cheer up! Anxious people are often afraid to ask for something like this, and especially when they need it most. Therefore, be kind to us – and you will not go wrong! ”