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Anxiety – The Silent Struggle

It is tough when Anxiety decides to rear its ugly head. It creeps up whenever you have to do something that you may not have the utmost confidence in doing. It’s a feeling that makes you uncomfortable and can keep you back from putting in your full effort when doing something. It can also be a feeling that comes in the guise of another emotion (for me, it can be the precursor to anger). Anxiety is the body’s response to stress and can breed apprehension in us. The feeling is uncomfortable and can be downright debilitating both physically and mentally. I feel anxiety is something felt by almost EVERYONE in the world at different levels. The constant questioning of oneself and the lack of confidence brought on by the feeling can be truly devastating.

One of my most potent emotions is anger. Before therapy, I would feel it quite a lot, especially during times of intense stress or expectation. I thought to myself that I might have some serious anger issues and that there was no hope to alleviate my issues. Over the years, I noticed that my anger only came during moments when I was a in situation that I thought I had no control over or the control was lost. I would get mad in situations where I thought I would disappoint those close to me. My low self esteem attacked my sense of self and allowed anxiety to creep in. My anger was the shield that kept my fragile sense of self intact and protected my psyche from the vulnerability of anxiety. As a man, showing anxiousness and hesitation can be seen as weak, so I naturally gravitated to a more “masculine” form of expression. At the heart and pinnacle of my rage was an anxiety filled young man that needed to learn positive expression. A young man that needed to talk, vent, and work through inhibitions and perceived weakness. My anxiety went undiagnosed for years until it was laid out to me in therapy.

I will always sing praises for therapy. It allowed me to attack my anger from a vantage point of empathy. I learned to love myself and have patience for myself when I gave into my “anger”. In learning to actually listen to myself, I heard the voice of low confidence. Through speaking, I was able to dig deep into my past and figure out where the feelings were born from. I was able to learn how anxiety can use scapegoat emotions (anger, sadness, indifference,) to mask itself in us and thus we communicate the wrong thing in high intensity situations. There were plenty of times in my life where I feel like a situation could have gone completely different if I just practiced mindfulness. Instead of taking on more than I could chew, I could have explained my apprehension. Instead of beating myself up over a simple slight, I could have practiced more self love. Instead of acting out in rage, I could have just voiced my opinions and concerns instead. Anxiety has a way of keeping us from really being accepting of our selves and living in fear. Therapy helped me to practice ways to really center myself whenever I would feel anxious thoughts come on.

Anxiety truly is a silent curse. Someone can suffer from it and the world would never know. Sure, anxiety can have some physical symptoms associated with it, but it can be a purely mental struggle for most people. What we may see is the manifestation of our anxiety through other emotions. Thus the anxiety is masked and never truly addressed. Therapy, counseling, meditation, and exercise are just some of the ways that we can tackle anxiety. Therapy allows you to truly voice the feelings and emotions that lead to and stem from your anxiety. Counseling, very much like therapy, can help you to define your triggers so as to properly prepare yourself if they come up. Meditation is a great way to center your mind and come to a point of mental calm that can really help with the thoughts that anxiety brings on. Lastly, exercise can be a great way to get out pent up energy that can lead to the more physically expressive forms of anxiety. As I have said before, these are just some of the ways that we can tackle anxiety.

Anxiety is another one of the misunderstood mental ailments in my opinion. It is not just someone “spazzing out” because they can’t handle a situation. It’s a powerful feeling that can disable otherwise capable people. It can activate survival instincts in extreme cases. Those who suffer from this need to be around people who can empathize with their issues. They need to have the confidence to face themselves and find the root of their anxiety. Anxiety can be a crutch if we let it, but it can be battled. My anxiety kept me up at night, kept me from jobs, kept me from going out. It kept me from life. Therapy brought me to a place where I could accept my anxious thoughts and come out on the other side with more clarity and I know others that suffer from this can also benefit from even just talking to someone. Anxiety hits me deep and I just hope everyone can heal from the pain it can cause.

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