Anxiety or Feeling Anxious?

Thought I would tackle a different topic this week. I’ve been meaning to write this one for months but just needed more time to do the research. Before I start, I would like to say a big thank you to Lacey Dunn (IG:@faithandfit) for sharing her experience with anxiety and being the inspiration for this topic. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, please do so. Her mindset and the messages that she shares are both insightful and genuine.

Anxiety (noun): a feeling of unease, worry or fear that can be constant, overwhelming and disabling. A feeling that can start to impact your personal life, work or health.

Anxious (adjective): a normal emotion of worry or fear before one faces a test or makes an important decision.

Do you have feelings of being anxious or do you have anxiety? I see the word ‘anxiety’ used haphazardly. There is a difference between having true anxiety and feelings of anxiety. The word has become a ‘buzzword’ on social media. Some people use it because they actually suffer from it, whereas others, use it because they do not know the difference between actually suffering from anxiety and being anxious and/or it is just a popular word that helps your post to get seen.

During my two years as a Master’s student, I began to feel more anxious and lonelier than usual. There would be times where I just couldn’t be around people, I would sit in a corner and just cry. Other times, I just felt like I was in a black hole and I just didn’t know why. For me, that is a feeling of being anxious. I wouldn’t say that I have anxiety because I was able to control it. I got out of that funk by refocusing my attention on myself and learning how to find peace within myself and how to keep it. This is where my health philosophy comes from.

For those who have anxiety (as in a chemical imbalance in the brain), it is more than not being able to function.

It’s suffocating.

It’s having a monster trapped inside your head, pulling you down into a black hole, choking you so you feel like you can’t breathe.

Engulfed.

In a black cloud.

You and your thoughts are trapped by this monster. You don’t know how to stop it. You don’t know when it will end. Until you feel like you finally have a grasp back on reality.

That’s how I know that I don’t suffer from anxiety and I just have feelings of being anxious. And I’m fortunate not to suffer from it. At the same time, it’s upsetting that people suffer from anxiety and social anxiety to the point that it drains them. Their bodies and their minds just feel exhausted.

That is my issue with people using terms such as ‘anxiety’ incorrectly. Are you going through that type of cycle or are you just ‘anxious’ about a situation? The way that some people use serious terms such as ‘anxiety’, ‘mental health’, ‘depression’ etc. to get attention is detrimental to the actual people who suffer from it. You are taking their story, their narrative and creating it into a hype. That is problematic.

You can discuss the issue. Engage with those that suffer from it and understand it from their perspective. By understanding and learning from another person, you are growing, your mindset is changing and you’ll see the world in a different light. By sharing their story, their struggles and their successes, they are helping others overcome their challenges. That right there is showing love to another person.

Until next time,

Folakemi Olamide

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