So, this morning, the phone woke me up and it was my aunt calling. Now this one aunt doesn’t get anxiety. She thinks she does, but she doesn’t. My mom thinks she knows what she’s talking about too, but she doesn’t. (Sorry if you two are reading this, but it’s true). You sadly can’t understand anxiety unless you have anxiety (even then you don’t know everything). The purpose of this post isn’t to expose my aunt and my mom for not understanding anxiety. It’s more of a rant.
Lets pretend for a moment that I didn’t have anxiety. Lets say that I have an addiction to alcohol instead. Now say that I’m trying to quit this addiction. Would you tell me that it’s all in my head that I’m having symptoms? Would you tell me that I’m crazy for when I say that my body is making me think I need alcohol because it’s been in my body for so long? If I started not to feel well, would you say that you’re fine and just calm down? No, because alcohol withdrawal symptoms is more “normal” and understandable than anxiety. That fucking sucks.
Now I’m not looking for sympathy, but I am looking for people to understand that I’m not making up my symptoms or I’m causing my own symptoms. When I first went on Zoloft, the doctor told me that it could effect my stomach. She explained to me that what is in your head is also in your gut. She didn’t tell me what that something was (and if she did it probably had either a long name or a complicated name). She just told me that my stomach might be upset, which it did. Now that I’m getting off this medicine, my stomach gets upset each time I change the dose. My stomach is a little sensitive than others at times, so I know that that doesn’t help my situation either (ie: I can’t drink soda or eat a lot of fast food because it makes me too gassy).
Because I have anxiety though, people think that it’s just me making these symptoms up or that I’m a hypochondriac. Now granted the next time I go out to eat I’m going to be a little nervous that the same thing is going to happen that it did last week and that might cause my stomach to turn. However, if it is anxiety it’s going to come on suddenly and I’m most likely going to have more symptoms than an upset stomach. I’m not going to be able to really talk, I’m going to try to focus on my breathing, I’m going to be pacing. If it’s just my stomach, most likely I’m just going to want to lay down and try to sleep it off.
A for the hypochondriac, I will admit that if I have a headache for more than two days the thought of brain cancer will go to my mind for a second or two, but I know that it’s not it. Cancer is just so much more publicized and it seems more and more people are getting it that you sometimes can’t help but think that. Cause guess what, you’re going to go to the doctor and they’re going to do a scan on your brain to guess what, make sure you don’t have a tumor on your brain. Now this is to cover their own asses, but since that’s the first thing they’re going to test for, you can’t help but have that thought (at least that’s my logic).
So even though this post is shorter than the ones that I have posted in the past, but I think I’ve got my point across. Please, next time you encounter someone with anxiety, don’t say that it’s all in their head if they’re experiencing symptoms or experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Just let them work through it and if you do want to say the above, it’s better if you don’t say anything at all.