**DISCLAIMER** I’m not looking to diminish anxiety for those that do suffer from it, especially as I myself suffer from it in many of its various forms, I’m just wondering if we shouldn’t all take a little comfort from the thought of anxiety being much more common than we think.
Anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain (source), and every day there are new celebrities, bloggers and YouTubers opening up about their own struggles – Why is it then, that as soon as these niggling little worries start creeping back into our minds, do we always assume that no one understands?
I, personally, always manage to convince myself that the thoughts I have are specific to me and the way that I am feeling, and that, of course, no one would ever understand.
I will berate myself for feeling the way that I do and tell myself that I am being silly, am simply overreacting and need to get a grip. In many cases, I am to an extent partially right – nothing really bad can happen when I’m ringing to order a pizza (unless they don’t have any pizza left, which would be a disaster) – but for the most part, I’m simply feeling the same way many people feel every single day.
One of my closest friends and I were talking recently about our anxieties over our careers and getting older, and eventually we got onto the subject of the anxiety that we feel when we are around others – an anxiety that often leaves us feeling isolated and lonely. Just as I was trying to explain how I felt when someone invites me on a day out, he shouted out “I know – me too!”
At first I didn’t believe him, for a start he hadn’t let me finish my point, but he went on to tell me everything that I had been about to say – almost word for word!
Of course, it’s not shocking that other people suffer from anxiety, or that other people suffer anxiety over the same issues as me, but it was shocking to know that this person had the EXACT same thoughts as me. (Here was me thinking I was so unique…)
All of a sudden, I felt comfortable. Over the course of the conversation even talking about my anxiety had triggered off the little anxious bubbles in my stomach (I mean…that’s not just me…is it?), and as soon as he told me he felt the same, they started to disappear.
It wasn’t that those fears had gone away, things are just not that simple, but it was like a tiny weight had been lifted simply from the knowledge that this person understood, that we both felt the same and maybe we weren’t as crazy as we had originally led ourselves to believe. Maybe, if we both felt the same way, then maybe I wasn’t being silly, or overreacting and I was allowed to let go of that grip just a little.
So, to those of you reading this that do suffer from anxiety (and I’m sure there are more of you than any of you might think), and for those of you that can take comfort in this – please know that you are not alone. There’s always going to be another person out there thinking the exact same as you. You are not silly, overreacting and I’m positive that your grip is solid!
(Oh, unless they really have ran out of pizza. I mean…what is the world coming to!)