Blogust 2018: The Series, Topic Tuesdays: Raw & Personal

Day 28: To the People with an Anxiety Disorder, You’re Setting Your Loved Ones Up for Failure.

Screenshot 2018-08-17 at 2.08.01 PM - Edited

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.

So, here’s the honest truth: I had another post up and ready to publish for today. After sitting on it and thinking it over, I realized that the post I was going to publish was a post mainly influenced on my feelings, and it was extremely one-sided. I even went to read a bitch for writing the article that influenced my discussion in that post until I realized that it wasn’t the greatest type of energy to be putting on my blog, especially in a community where I’d like to think people are allowed to have different opinions on the topics I write about in general. So, I scrapped it, which then influenced the topic of this post.

Dear People who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you are constantly setting the people around you up for failure.

In TNTH’s true cliffhanger fashion: Lemme explain.

Before saying anything else, let me make some points very clear: I have a very supportive group of people around me, I am currently managing my anxiety disorder with both therapy and medication, and yes, I’ve held those around me accountable for playing these roles in my life that are way too unrealistic for them to play.

We think that something as common as anxiety would be universally understood when in reality, there’s a reason why it’s diagnosed in the first place. Yeah, depression and anxiety are so widely common; everyone has felt depression or anxiety at least once in their life. Referring to a video I recently watched by YouTuber, “The Rewired Soul” (the point being made runs until 4:52) makes a point while yes, issues like anxiety and depression are at it’s highest within people in modern day society, he makes a point that whether or not these people who commented on this other person’s anxiety are also diagnosed with it, anxiety on a clinical level acts completely different from “normal” anxiety.

The article that I felt so strongly about to the point I just had to write a hate post on it, tried to explain that those with depression or anxiety use it as an excuse to treat others like shit, in which she blames the “anxiety excuse” it on “introvert culture”. While I do believe that you shouldn’t abuse your mental disorder in order to “get what you want”, the way this writer explained this issue was… written very poorly.

To point out its first major flaw, anxiety isn’t an “excuse”, and I honestly think the writer meant to explain how you shouldn’t abuse others with the excuse of anxiety. Saying you avoid certain situations and settings because your anxiety flares up is much different than saying “fuck your feelings, Susan, but don’t take what I said seriously because I have anxiety.” Secondly, she compared mental health awareness to a harmful & toxic Tumblr community known as “introvert culture”. They are not one in the same whatsoever. While one is completely made up, one is something that millions of people struggle with on a day to day basis, whether it is as manageable as an anxiety/depressive disorder or incurable as schizophrenia.

But her overall intentions of this article wasn’t wrong. In a response to the article, this writer writes the following:

So first off, I want to say that, yes, there are some positive points in this article. Like for example, people with anxiety shouldn’t abuse and be mean to their friends. I agree with this. But I believe that people can have a greater understanding on the matter. (And if you don’t want to, that’s fine as well. Just don’t be friends with someone who never tries to treat their anxiety).

She mentions that, yeah, even if you have a diagnosed mental disorder, that doesn’t give you a pass to treat the ones you love as shit; but, most people living with a mental disorder (who are actively treating it, of course) don’t intentionally try to treat their loved ones as shit. As someone with SAD, you’re more worried if you are treating them like shit!

But when you expect people to understand and say something like, “Yeah girl, I can’t go out tonight; my anxiety is really bad and I just want to stay in, y’know how it be like” and she doesn’t understand why you would miss an opportunity to go out and enjoy yourself, you’re setting her up to fail in your eyes. Then it’s her fault for “being insensitive” and “not understanding” when really, she sees it the way she is able to see it: “Come on girl, there isn’t anything to worry about! You’ll be fine. It’s not like you’ll be by yourself all night. Just relax.” While that answer is the goddamn honest truth, you’ll see it as her not understanding your level of anxiety, and getting mad at her for saying what she said.

Those people are not your therapist. They are not going to understand the level of your anxiety. They are not going to understand that there are just certain things that you cannot do because of your anxiety. They are not going to understand that there are just times where you get an anxiety attack out of nowhere, and you have to be okay that they will never be able to. All that they can do is acknowledge that you have it, know the basics of your anxiety, and be supportive of you getting the help that you need. They can be understanding of your anxiety, but you cannot hold them accountable for understanding every single thing about it.

Honestly, I’m learning this as well.

As a person with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, I do realize that those around me that know about my anxiety don’t know the complete story, and I can’t expect them to. The most I can get is the love and support from them while me, myself, and I handle my own anxiety. You can’t expect those around you to cater to your every need, you gotta do it yourself, and for awhile I unintentionally would set up my loved ones up for failure, expecting them to completely understand and to completely empathize with my anxiety disorder. In the long run, I found my anxiety even worsen, expecting those around me to do the job that only I can do.

As much as we want to be understood and want our loved ones to say all the right things to us, we can’t expect that. We need to be the ones to say all the right things to ourselves. We need to understand ourselves in order to cope and manage our anxiety in an efficient matter. We need to be confident in our anxiety, as crazy as it may sound. Instead of saying “You’re such a horrible person for not understanding after I clearly explained how my anxiety works”, say, “I am experiencing a lot of anxiety right now, but I have it under control; thank you for being here for me.”

So to my readers with an anxiety disorder, or even anxiety in general: at the end of the day, you are the only one who is capable of understanding your anxiety, which also means that you are the only one who is capable of managing with it. Let your support system do what they’re supposed to do: support you in your self-recovery journey.

Thank you to mine who has been there for me through my ups and downs of it all in the last five months. ❤

 

-Liz. (:

3 thoughts on “Day 28: To the People with an Anxiety Disorder, You’re Setting Your Loved Ones Up for Failure.”

  1. Hi Liz! While I do agree with some points and disagree with others, I experience this all the time and it’s the worst. I do believe, however that “support” is used a bit loosely in some senses. There are different levels of support and wished that those who do say they support you listen and practice compassion and empathy. While they may not totally understand what you may be going through, they do know you enough to respond with the knowledge that they’ve gained. There’s a difference between whether they support you and whether they don’t take you serious which furthers the stigma. I do believe there is almost a 100% job of the one with anxiety to actively work on themselves and their healing, but also a part on the one who actively call themselves supporters to be just that, not when it’s convenient for them, but to respect you enough to give a compassionate/empathetic response when you’ve put in work to educate them on your condition. It’s not okay to be rude, mean, or disrespectful to anyone and blame it on your anxiety, but if anyone is to support you they also must do the work to adjust and respect your boundaries and request as well. ❤❤

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    1. Thank you for your response! I do agree with your point that those around you and support you should know you well enough to respond in a way that is going to make you feel as supportive and comfortable as possible. For someone who wasn’t aware of their anxiety and pretty much viewed it as a negative thing before going through the process of treating in, I guess it could run off on people who think that it’s not a big deal when I’m learning to listen and respect my anxiety, and in some way embrace it. To constantly shift perspectives like that (I feel), it could cause confusion to those who may not understand why all of a sudden you’re taking your anxiety so seriously. But I do agree, people that choose to support you now have this responsibility of gaining the prior knowledge behind your diagnosis (whether it may be), but as the person with anxiety, you have to understand that those who may not experience the same levels of anxiety aren’t going to understand how hindering anxiety could be, especially when there’s people saying “we all have anxiety, but we get over it.” I was influence by my therapist to write this post; I was in a session with her and expressed a conversation I had with someone, and she had to point out that it wasn’t fair on their part for me to put them in a position where I expected them to agree and understand my anxiety to the fullest extent in the conversation. Although there’s a difference between someone being insensitive and someone telling you what you should hear, in my particular case, I have to understand that getting myself out of anxiety at times is home having to become uncomfortable in certain scenarios, and sometimes it’s those around us that tell us the right thing to do. I hope this made sense! Lol

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      1. I totally understand, as I had to get to know my anxiety as well. People will not always understand you, but that doesn’t mean you have to blame yourself in any way either. You have to love you in the process and not put yourself in a position where you feel guilty because that ultimately may impact your anxiety negatively. As I stated before, it’s a learning process for both you and your supporters. I guess I disagree with the title of this article, as you are not setting your loved ones up for failure at all, but instead you are learning with them. It will be uncomfortable sometimes and that’s okay. As you grow and heal you will be able to help them understand more and better. Be compassionate with yourself and your journey as you will get frustrated with others for not understanding. That doesn’t mean they can’t understand, however. Teach them to love and support you the way that makes you feel most comfortable. I hope for the best in your healing process. I hope you find people who don’t make you feel bad for having anxiety because they may not understand how hard it can be. I’m here if you want to heal with me as well.

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