One of the hardest things about dealing with anxiety is trying to explain to other people, what anxiety is and what it feels like. Not only is it really hard to understand it yourself. It effects everyone differently. There is no ‘go to’ explanation or standard speal that really describes the all consuming ‘thing’ that is anxiety.
I have done my best to describe what anxiety is here, but that isn’t what I want to do with this post. I want to explain how difficult it is to explain anxiety. – I feel like this is getting confusing already . . .
One of the things I have noticed throughout this ‘wonderful’ anxiety driven experience over the last year, is how hard it is for people who haven’t experienced anxiety to understand how it effects you. Even though they are trying their hardest to understand, it is really hard.
When you really think about it, anxiety isn’t something that ‘makes sense’, it is irrational. That is not to diminish the reality of it. Nor does it mean it’s not real or there is ‘something wrong’ with you. It just means that by definition it is hard to explain. This is the best analogy I can come up with to explain both sides of understanding/ explaining anxiety.
It is like trying to explain the colour yellow to someone who has been blind their entire life. It is not the person who is blind’s fault for not having experienced the colour to fully understanding what you are explaining. Nor is it the person who is explaining the colour’s fault for not knowing the right words to accurately explain it.
Neither people are in the wrong, it is just human nature to better understand something you have experienced first hand.
My advice to both sides is, make a conscious effort to give each other some leeway. As the person with anxiety. Try to understand that someone without anxiety may find it hard to relate to what you are going through. Not because they don’t want to understand, but because it is out of their experience.
As the person without anxiety. Try to understand that the person with anxiety may act or do things that seem ‘strange’ or ‘counter’ to your understanding of anxiety. For example, I can stand up and talk to a room full of people with a normal level of anxiety. But if I have to mingle or talk one on one with people, I get extremely anxious and find it unbelievably hard.
To someone without anxiety, it may seem odd that I can do one but struggle to do the other. Everyone’s anxiety relates to different things, it is not all streamlined.
To sum up, anxiety is extremely confusing, for all involved. The best thing you can do is understand what triggers your anxiety and make sure you communicate the best you can with those close to you.
Alisha Barbara explaining anxiety