This generation fascinates me. Everything is transparent, and hardly anything is sacred anymore. While making mental health less taboo by the in-your-face-up-to-date-now-now lifestyle we all are guilty of a time or two, we’ve also been “blessed” by the billions and billions of “memes”. Any sort of meme you need, I assure you, it exists. I’ve done the google search, and so have you…for that perfect meme. And me being me, I have looked up “anxiety memes” As to why, I can’t come up with an answer for that yet but after reading several dozens, I suddenly had a million questions.
“Does this 2×2 in square illustration properly convey how anxiety feels to everyone?”
“Do these 3 bullet points actually calm you?”
“Can a magic picture with carefully placed words make me feel less isolated?”
“These cant possible work, can they?”
“Ugh, what does it all mean?”
I could go on, but Ill spare you. As someone with bad anxiety, there are a few truths I do know for sure, without the influence of a meme. I wish some of my friends understood anxiety better. How can I come up with a new answer to the age old question “why didn’t you text me back last week?” As small an infraction this actually is in the grand scheme of things, had this been 1985, it would be a very different conversation. Back then we didn’t feel the pressure to answer, we didn’t know who was even calling…it was a gamble each time you picked up the phone. Don’t you guys remember that? We didn’t have to let EVERYONE know when we went on vacation or what we had for dinner. Technology has shortened our time, and if you’re like me, heightened your anxiety. We have phones, emails, texting, tagging, hash tagging, photos, comments, inboxes, notifications, and yes….that friends who asks “why didn’t you……” (2 mins after they reached out.)
Friends, anxiety is debilitating. And I had no idea just how much until I began showing signs about 10 years ago. I can’t possibly convey to you how hard it is for us to open that unread text. We love you dearly but the thought of answering you shakes me to my core, if I’m having a “bad day”. I dumb it down and say “bad day” but what it really feels like is a shadow that’s constantly reminding you of every bad decision you’ve ever made, while simultaneously living in a consistent existential crisis, daily and nightly because lord knows we sleep bad too. Ooohhhh, I got it…it feels like someone who gets easily scared of haunted houses who is suddenly thrown into the worst possible Eli Roth scenario. Don’t google him, just know…it’s bad.
Here is the thing, I’m not alone. Neither are you. It only feels that way.
We could be given all the prescriptions under the sun but I have found the only sure fire way of dealing with them: treat it like an earthquake. Grab a hold of something, and let that attack roll through you, hang on, hold on, until it’s over…which yes, it will be. Anxiety is straight up the school bully of the brain. So if you’re the friend reading this right now who has a friend who has anxiety, it was sweet of you to send the meme on how to deal with anxiety but maybe next time send us something soft. A stuffed animal, a fun pillow, a fluffy blanket…as long as its super soft. Anxiety loves soft things.