It’s pretty weird how the world works sometimes.
I’ve struggled, and continue to struggle, with my anxiety. But I think what has allowed me to get through bad days is the fact that my closest friends understand what I’m experiencing because they’re dealing with their own struggles too.
None of us knew we would be dealing with these things when we met, yet somehow here we are. And as a result, we all have someone to lean on when things get bad.
I wish none of us had to deal with it, but at the same time, I’m extremely grateful they can understand because I truly think it’s difficult to understand it without having experienced it yourself.
And maybe that’s why it is one of the most frustrating things in the world when a person attempts to fault someone who is doing their absolute best and turns around and uses his/her mental illness to make him/her feel like a burden.
Chances are, the person struggling is already worried about the issue it can cause.
I know I sure as hell do.
I’m a lot more open about my anxiety than I ever was in the past. Doing so has really, really helped, but it still doesn’t make it an easy story to tell, or an easy thing to explain.
Some days are going to be better than others. And some are going to be really, really difficult. And sometimes, things can change from one moment to another. One moment a person may be fine, and the next, something can spark an anxiety attack, a flashback if someone’s dealing with PTSD, or a pure downfall into a state of depression for a short period of time that feels as though it lasts for hours – and sometimes it does.
I’ve experienced all three of those. I’ve been perfectly fine one moment, and the next thing I knew, I was experiencing an anxiety attack and couldn’t breathe properly.
Sometimes there’s something that triggers one, and other times, it just happens. For me, anxiety attacks usually come about when I have two entirely conflicting thoughts that are fighting in my head.
So for example, I’ve grown used to a cycle of people coming and leaving without explanation. As a result of that, I can know nothing is wrong at all and everything is good, but on bad days I second guess a lot. And it becomes this increasingly difficult battle of knowing everything okay and trying to shut out the part of my head that’s being pessimistic and assuming the same thing is going to happen again.
It’s a defense mechanism, but if you’re already having a bad day, this only makes it 10 times worse. And some days I wish there was some switch to turn it all off. The thing I’ve come to accept though is that this is a part of my life. No matter how much I wish it wasn’t.
The last thing I wanted to do was worry people. Especially knowing how minuscule my problems were compared to what I knew people were dealing with around me. But for my own personal well being, my problems weren’t miniscule. And that was a hard thing for me to put into perspective for a while. Anxiety was holding me back, but that wasn’t the hardest part of it all. The worst part was knowing it was holding me back, but struggling to find a way to stop it from doing so.
But that struggle doesn’t give someone a reason to criticize me, or anyone else for that matter. Your mental disorder doesn’t make you a burden. And it sure as hell doesn’t if you’re working on trying to get better.
And if someone makes you feel like one, they don’t deserve to be in your life. You need to put yourself first. Your mental health is worth more than anything else and it is such a crucial part to your own well-being. And for someone to fault you for it is one of the most insensitive things they could possibly do.
It took me a while to realize this – to look out for me instead of always constantly only looking out for others. So now I have a balance. I look out for others, but I also make sure I’m looking out for myself. And that’s made all the difference in the world.
So please, realize this for yourself, too. Because it is so crucial to getting better.
Your mental health matters.
And your mental health does not make you a burden to the people around you.