ANXIETY: IS IT A TREND OR DO YOU HAVE IT?
Anxiety is a common word thrown around in conversation at our Sunday brunch table. After years of denying the truth, our society has finally not only welcomed but created a community space for those with anxiety to have a conversation and build relationships together. But what about the moments that anxiety is thrown around a little too often? When that assignment that you were too hungover to finish wasn’t turned in on time with the excuse of anxiety or when a simple “I don't want to” turns into “i cant my anxiety is acting up”. While the commonness of anxiety has created this community factor for some - with balance in life - it has become common in ways that might become more detrimental than good.
Anxiety is actually very normal!
It’s an emotion that comes naturally to most people we know - yes even that coworker who seems to have their shit together all the time. But that emotion for most people will come and go easily. The more severe cases cause a larger impact on your life.
Anxiety is a mental health condition that when severe can “lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry” (www.medicalnewstoday.com).
This severity can cause many wrenches in your everyday plans. A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into an emotionally exhausting experience - the worst part is the onset is different for each person! This makes for a very subjective health condition that only the person faced with anxiety can describe. Just like with many #invisiabledissease , anxiety is treated on a tell-me-how-bad-it-is scenario. This makes things tricky, not only for the professionals, but also for us to decide how bad our anxiety actually is on a scale of normal to severe - especially because we are only gaging our scale on our own perceived experiences!
Is there some sort of confusion?
Some people can confuse what one person might call a life changing severe mental health issue with an excuse to use on a rainy day. I’m not saying someone is lying to you or themself about whether they ever experienced anxiety at all, but what I am saying is that threshold for what makes a situation a normal emotion into a valid life changing reason to turn in an assignment late or not leave the house has become blurred. Due to it being a mental health issue that has become widely self assessed its hard to decide what is a normal human feeling and what is a mental health issue that needs addressing.
With anxiety being used as an excuse more frequently than in the past we run into the issue of the boy who cried wolf - in this instance we’re all the boy. We have bosses, public figures, and more not taking anxiety as seriously as it should be taken because they’ve ‘heard it plenty of times before’. So could the once sought out idea that anxiety become a widespread language to help make it less frowned upon end up actually creating an environment that allow people to stop taking it - anxiety - seriously?
Okay but a lot of factors go into this.
Are our generations just increasingly truthfully incurring higher anxiety? Is it the social aspect of our social media platforms that are actually increasing the number of people nationwide who have this mental health issue? I’d believe it. Or is it that the issue is much more severe than that and it has become a new trend to have anxiety? Have we come so far in creating a safe space for those with anxiety to have open conversations and a community in it of itself that maybe we went a little too far? It’s the catch 22 of it all and maybe we’ll never know.
What do you think?