Something I have noticed lately is that a lot of people have an ignorance towards anxiety, panic attacks etc. Some people go through life without any major anxiety (lucky them), for others though, anxiety is something that plagues life and it is not something that can be turned off like a switch, it is something that needs to be worked through. Think of it as a chapter in your life story, as you go through it you WILL get to the end and sometimes it is where the book will end, but also there is always the possibility that the story will pick back up again later in life but for now, you are content with how the story closed.
Someone I love dearly has had severe anxiety over the past few months and I completely understand their situation. It was only five years ago that I was in the same place. Crying constantly for no reason, not understanding why you’re acting the way you are, overreacting to every little thing. You feel like you are watching your life from the outside, you’re doing things and saying things you don’t want to, but you can’t stop yourself from doing it and you become so frustrated with yourself and your situation. It affects everyone around you and it takes a little while to realize that the stress is not just on you but is spreading throughout the people around you, your family and friends. They worry about you, they are constantly on edge not knowing what to do or say and it is exhausting for everyone but it is a situation you must realize is no one’s fault. It just happens!
A lot of people do not want to be around when life gets to this stage and you come out of this chapter in your life with less friends but true friends, because the ones who stick around are the ones who truly care about you and love you. I came out of it with two or three people who had stuck by me through everything. Who came to hangout with me when I didn’t want to leave my house, who text me every day just to check in with me, or would just make me forget for a few hours that feeling of panic I struggled to shake and I will be forever grateful to them. On the other hand, I had people in my life who couldn’t deal with it and were not around during that time but are still part of my life, I don’t hold it against them in any way. It is not an easy situation to surround yourself with and I completely understand why they took their space during that time.
People who have the attitude of “Why can’t they just get over it?”, “What is wrong with them?” really irritate me. Unless you yourself or someone close to you have been through something like this you do not understand the personal frustration of not being in control of your moods or emotions, of feeling out of control in your own life, watching more and more people fade from your life not knowing how to deal with you. It is pure ignorance to think this is something that can be fixed overnight. It takes time, everyone takes a different route and the time it takes to get back to yourself is not a set amount of time and there is not a defined route, everyone takes a different road of recovery. When you come out the other side, you are a different person, you see things differently and you are more conscious of the emotions of others. I am nothing like the person I was five years ago, I have changed for the better. I’ve had my moments of relapse, they last a few hours, a day or two at most but I have people in my life who support me and a positive outlook on the world and it has made all the difference.
So for those of you around people going through this, support them, listen to them, and help them see there is an end to this stage in their lives, remember it is only a chapter of life’s story and it is just a more challenging one. It is not easy at times, if you need to take a little distance for a few days to make sure you are in a good place, do it, you are no use to anyone if you are tired, or exhausted of the situation, but once they know you love them and will be there for them, that is the most important thing.
Shauna is a 22 year old Irish native following her dreams in the crazy city of Los Angeles. Adjusting to the culture shock as she takes her first steps of her career, taking every opportunity that comes her way. Follow her on Twitter @Shauna212.
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