It’s strange that you can go to the ER with just about anything and be seen. But if you try to go to the doctor for anxiety, you almost have to walk in naked. (Telling them you expected to get undressed once inside doesn’t bring laughter though, for some reason.) Assuming they don’t use Covid as a buffer to keep people out. So many people suffer with anxiety or depression and never step forward to address it, much less be honest with those around them. They carry secret feedback loops in their head forever, the burden of it growing. Some succumb to alcohol, others to anything that might give them temporary relief. For some, those temporary measures become permanent. Or lead them to make decisions that aren’t in their self-interest. Anyone who steps forward in the smallest way is trying to communicate that they aren’t managing their heads well. It’s easy to dismiss it or look away from people around you showing signs of being stuck. Some of it is because we don’t want to embarrass or meddle in other people’s lives. That’s what we’re here for, though. Without people around us, often even as they drive us a little batsh!t crazy, we let the shadows grow.
For people who say, “Anxiety isn’t real. It’s just worry repackaged and something in hour head.” To which I reply, “Love is unreal in the same sense, but it can be the most uplifting and rewarding thing you can experience. How can you believe in love but not anxiety?” Of course, people look at me like I’m crazy. And not just because I’m prepared to walk into my doctor’s clinic naked.
Over the weekend, someone I’d never expect to suffer from worsening anxiety posted on Facebook about his struggle. He’s the quintessential go-getter and intelligent. I recommended he see a doctor and start on low-dosage medication and treat the problem as if it is very serious. Because it is. Intelligent people are the worst about trying to tread water when there is help available. “It’s all just in my head” is a literal diagnosis rather than a way to dismiss anxiety or its more serious sibling, depression.
Recently, someone I’m close to had a shocking mental health surprise in their family. It broke my heart. Not just because they are good people but because I’m certain it was a hammer strike of surprise in their lives and hearts. Finding out put an icicle in my own head. It made my anxiety seem ridiculous but simultaneously warned me to be more careful. I don’t conceal my anxiety issues because I know that secrecy is poisonous. I wish that people were more open to their struggles and that our medical system would help anyone needing counseling or medication. From my observation, it’s more important now than ever.
We like to observe that people are becoming more callous. They’re not. Our world has shifted into a different corner, one in which people are more isolated or disconnected. Disconnectedness invariably leads to greater problems. We’re social animals and as more people retreat away from the world, the greater the likelihood they’re experiencing mental trauma. Not everyone has obvious clues such as excessive drinking. Some look completely normal and in control of themselves. Until they’re not. A great number of our friends, family, and acquaintances have well-guarded addictions and afflictions.