What is anxiety? Why can’t you just go outside and feel better? What is all this noise about a mental health day? Yes. Mental health has become to center of main stream media for a while now. We have social media influencers talking about how important it is to take care of your mental health. News stories of people taking their own lives brings up the topic as well. Bullying isn’t just being passed off as a coming-of-age experience anymore. Prescriptions are through the roof. And what for? What is this silent disease plaguing our nation and what can we do?

Mental Health

Photo by Anh Nguyen
When you look at someone in the street you can make snap decisions if they are healthy or not. This can be based on weight, demeanor, muscle tone, posture, their smile, activity they are doing and so much more. If someone is running down the street: healthy. Let’s say someone is smoking on the corner: not healthy. What if someone has clear skin and is wearing a nice coat: healthy. And someone who could lose a few pounds and has a large coke in their hands: not so healthy. I am not saying we are walking down the street doing this every day. I am saying you can if you want.

But what about someone’s mental state. Sure, they can be happy. But is it the setting, the person they are with, the conversation they are having, or their overall self? Mental health is tricky because our minds are tricky. Have you ever felt yourself spiraling? Imagine having a good day and all the sudden Gena from accounting calls you fat and you just lose it. You start thinking about how right she is. What a failure you are at your workout routine. What a failure you are at this job. How you’re a fraud and have no idea why your significant other likes you. And the list goes on and on.

In short: Anxiety is when Gena from reception is a little voice in your own head.

What is Anxiety

Anxiety is when you feel unnecessary worry, angst, or stress. I like to think about it like there is a constant end of the world dooms day scenario in our heads. Now this can cover multiple area

Photo by Max NelsonSituational anxiety:
Doing something out of your normal realm of day to day and thinking the worst is going to happen. Examples include going to a party, traveling, dates, interviews.

Out and about anxiety:
You are in a place where there are a lot of people and your mind starts racing. Are they talking about me? Did I say the wrong thing? Am I overdressed/underdressed and offending anyone? Etcetera.

Self-inflicted anxiety:
This is when you yourself just start going into doomsday mode. Triggers can be finances, family, work, relationships, body image, among other.

What Can Be Done About Anxiety

One thing that all forms of anxiety causes is logic to go out the window. The odds of people giving two shits about what you are doing is slim to know – unless you live in a small town where no one has anything better to do, or you are famous. Statistically you are going to be fine in that new situation. And when it comes to self-infliction that’s just us letting our brains go topsy-turvy.

Photo by Joshua NessFor mild cases sometimes bringing yourself into the present can be enough. You can even talk yourself out of the spiral, which is a sure sign you have a mild form.

For more intense cases, where it begins to interfere with your day-to-day life, talk to someone. Anxiety is hard and if we don’t talk to other people it’s even harder. Internalizing our fear makes them bigger. Talking to someone who can help us normalize what is happening is great. Talking to someone who can help us walk out of our own darkness is a gift.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk. People care. People will listen. And people love you, even this anxious part of you.