As someone who suffers from anxiety on a regular basis, I’ve noticed there are three things that have been consistently true about this mental illness: each anxiety journey is personal, it changes over time, and talking about it helps.
When I shared my personal anxiety journey with you in a post on Bell Let’s Talk Day, I mentioned that I would post more on living with anxiety. I have a lot to share.
Anxiety is a personal journey
The first point I’ve noticed about anxiety is that it’s a personal journey.
As the stigma around mental illness is slowly being lifted, more and more people are talking about having anxiety, and no two stories are alike. This was a big a-ha moment for me, because when people would open up to me, I wanted to help. I know what it is to suffer, and I want to share my experience. But, you can’t really give advice to someone else because of the nuanced thoughts and behaviors around each person’s experience.
Each anxiety journey is unique. I took two Cognitive Behavior Therapy classes, which worked really well for me, and it was in the second one that the mental health professional would specifically remind us not to say ‘you should do x, y, or z’ to anyone. We had to use words like ‘for me, this worked’ or ‘I found this helpful in this situation’. At first that bothered me because I had to check myself a lot, but I soon understood. Each person’s story was completely different.