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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Anxiety: "fun" facts and rage bait fiction

Updated: Jul 10, 2023


Why is it that out of all the mental health topics, anxiety is the one I know the most about, but is also the one I understand the least? Ah yes I know, because anxiety often makes no sense whatso-bloody-ever. So here I am to sum up just some of the many ridiculous aspects of it, in an attempt to help you make peace with all the bits you just don't get.



"Fun" fact 1:

Anxiety is a totally normal human emotion alongside anger, happiness, sadness and all the others. In fact, it's a highly useful tool developed centuries ago in order to keep us safe. Seen a scary wild animal and need to survive? Easy! Get a shot of handy adrenaline and voila, your body becomes a mean, lean, racing machine. Like a superhero, you become faster, stronger, more alert, and incredibly streamlined. Great! No becoming a wolf's dinner tonight!

The modern downside? When this happens in the middle of Tesco when your mind accidentally interprets something pretty unmenacing as a threat and your body decides you need to rid yourself of all unnecessary waste matter and run for your freaking life. So now your heart is racing, your legs wont stay still and you are desperate for the toilet. Ugh. Highly inconvenient.



"Fun" fact 2:

There are some people in the world who are afraid of buttons. Yep. If that doesn't help you see how ridiculously stupid and unhelpful anxiety can be, I'm not sure what will. Where is the logic? Nowhere. Logic is the arch nemesis of anxiety. Yes, you can logically know buttons won't do anything to you, but does that stop some people shaking and vomiting at the very thought of touching one? Nope. Like I said, stupid. If your life seems great 'on paper' and you are battling to explain why you feel so anxious about certain things, please think of the buttons and remember you may never get an answer.



"Fun" fact 3:

Anxiety is like a sea creature, adorned with many far-reaching tenacles. One minute, your brain is latched onto something it just cant shake off, so you overthink and obsess until you feel better about it. But what happens then? Does your brain relax? Sadly not. It won't take long for one of those tentacles to go on the hunt and find something else to latch onto. In fact, often these worries then develop further into another whole subsection of anxiety. I may create a game of Anxiety Top Trumps. There is health anxiety, there is social anxiety, there is OCD, there are so many cards to collect! It's a never ending game of "What can I worry about now?" The possibilities are endless. Great.


"Fun" fact 4:

The world and everything in it is chaos. In fact, life is just chaos. We have a small selection of things in life that we can control but in general, the rest is out of our hands. Random things happen. Bad things happen to good people. There isn't always a reason or someone to blame in order for us to be able to make sense of something. No, life isn't fair...but why should it be? The idea of fairness is actually just a human construct that is fighting against reality. Let go of that idea and go with the flow. The more you accept that life is chaos and that you can't control what happens in it, the less anxious you will feel. You will realise it's not your responsibility and a huge weight will be taken off your shoulders.



"Fun" fact 5:

Anxiety is like quicksand. The more you struggle against it, the more it pulls you in. Take health anxiety for example. The more you feed your need for reassurance by googling a condition or certain symptoms, the more you are focusing on it and allowing it to become a "thing." So, just like with quicksand, the key is to not flail about and panic, but to go with it and try not to let it get its claws in while other help comes along or you find other ways of escaping.





Rage bait fiction: all the things you've heard or said about anxiety and anxious people. They may come from a place of kindness or a place of a frustration. Either way, it's not helpful and it's time these phrases were seen for what they are...complete and utter rubbish.






I don't have time for anxiety, you must have too much time on your hands.

WRONG!

In fact, most people with anxiety are high-functioning and continue to hold down and juggle jobs, family life, financial commitments and a social life whilst doing a damn convincing job of not suffering inside. In fact, any other issue in someone's life that is pushed down or ignored whilst they keep living their frantic, fast paced life, comes out as anxiety as their body desperately tries to get them to pay attention. Therefore it's even likelier for a busy, fulfilled person to develop it.



Anxiety is for introverts.

WRONG!

The terms introvert and extrovert are some of the most misused terms around. The key definition of an introvert is someone who recharges their battery by being alone. Therefore, it has nothing whatsoever to do with anxiety. There are anxious introverts and anxious extroverts. There are introverts who prefer being around small groups of people and who hate parties, which is entirely different to introverts who have social anxiety. But at the end of the day, it's just a label and unfortunately anyone can have anxiety, it may just present itself in different ways.



Anxiety is a sign of weakness.

WRONG!

Anxiety is not something anyone chooses to have. It is an illness that develops for many different reasons. Sometimes it comes after a stressful life event. Sometimes it can be traced right back to early childhood and the way we developed. Whatever the reason behind it, anxiety itself can be extremely debilitating and exhausting. For someone with anxiety, getting out of bed in the morning, facing people, learning or going to work, earning money, looking after friends and family, managing to eat and sleep, can all feel like climbing a mountain. The strength it takes to keep going when the weight of the world is on your shoulders is truly admirable, and anyone who does it should be seen as the strong person they are. To say that person is weak is laughable, as it couldn't be further than the truth.



You are and will therefore always be, an anxious person.

WRONG!

Many people who come to me for counselling, truly believe that anxiety is a core part of who they are, and is something they will never be free from. If you are a human who feels emotion, yes you will always feel anxious at times. However, anxiety is NOT a part of your personality. It is something that is happening TO you. I have worked with hundreds of people suffering from debilitating anxiety who have worked through it in therapy and gone on to lead anxiety-free, happy lives. That means you definitely can too.


Just calm down!

WRONG!

Also...HOW??

Telling someone with anxiety to calm down is incredibly invalidating and patronising. If someone is worried about something, telling them to calm down implies it's their fault they feel that way. If they knew how to simply calm down, wouldn't they have already done it? Furthermore, when it's taking over someone's life to the extent they aren't coping on a day to day basis, anxiety is an illness. You wouldn't tell someone with cancer to cure themselves, so don't tell someone with anxiety to do it either.



There is so much more I could have included in this blog post and I found it quite hard to narrow it all down. In summary, however, anxiety is difficult, confusing and an utter pain in the backside. If you're suffering from it, remember you aren't alone. If you aren't, just treat those who are with compassion. We are all trying our best.


Lauren x





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