Shortness of breath, tight chest, racing heart and flushed face; not a sensation that most are fond of. Most people that enjoy facing their fears are thrill seekers, who enjoy the rush that the sense of danger brings them. Others, like myself, try to avoid that uncomfortable feeling usually by avoiding the cause of the fear. Its easy enough to avoid snakes, spiders and heights, but there are some scares that cannot be avoided.
I speak of course of anxiety; whether it be the social kind, or the kind that you can’t explain. It’s the latter that I’m familiar with, and it’s not uncommon to wake up and fear the rest of my day. It is exactly that increased heart rate and shortness of breath, the sense of panic that arrives in my chest even before I get out of bed. If only I could tell you why I experience this, but I cannot, for all I know is there is a world outside the safety of my blankets that shoots the striking fear into my mind and body.
There are a few things I have narrowed it down to, and I am sharing this because I know that I am not the only one that suffers from this. It could be the fear of messing up and having the people that matter to me be disappointed. It could be a test or paper that I have to deal with that I fear I will not do well on. It could be anything in the possible world that causes me to experience that unfortunate panicky feeling that I dislike so much. But there is something even worse than that particular feeling and it’s knowing that there are few people to tell my problem to that will understand and offer comforting words.
So for me, and those who also suffer from this mental infliction of which we have no control over, I ask those of you who have to deal with us to pay attention. We do not need you to tell us that there is nothing to worry about, or that this is just an over reaction. What we really need is for you to listen to us when we open up to you, for that is one of the best cures for our little problem. Sometimes we need to talk about what is causing our fears, and we need to let someone know what is going on in our heads because the longer we keep it inside the worse it gets.
So next time you have a friend who needs to talk to you about why they can’t get out of bed, or put pants on and go out in public, don’t tell them to suck it up and get over it. Let them rant it out, and tell them that it’s going to be okay and give them a hug. Encourage them to try and offer the help that might be needed, lend them a hand at getting out of bed. And when they are brave enough to put their pants on and venture out into the world stand by their side and let them know that you are there for them. That can make the biggest difference to how we people with anxieties we cannot explain will face the world; to know that someone cares and that we are not alone can help us gather the courage to take on the world one day at a time.