Talking Anxiety: The Who

*Photo by Micah Hallahan on Unsplash

Ballerinas and lawyers, artists and rocket scientists.

Men and women, single or married.

Maybe your boss. Maybe your neighbor. Maybe your grandmother.

All of those people, and every single one in between? That’s who can experience anxiety. That’s who may be dealing with it right.this.second.

There is no “type.”

The “who” behind it — like all mental health concerns — is not one particular personality mold or certain character profile. I like to think of anxiety as the great equalizer; it can affect literally anyone, at any time and any place, any stage in your life.

You don’t even have to be an adult. Over 20% of children ages 13–18 years old have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety can affect people as an indirect result of life events, or due to genetics, or even certain medications or medical conditions. Heck, you may have discovered you’ve begun to feel anxious due to your work environment, or just from watching the nightly news.

While there are certainly varying degrees of anxiety, and also some diagnosed anxiety disorders that are perhaps more severe and associated with specific triggers or causes, having anxiety does not have to feel like something you can’t wrap your arms around. You’re not the only one. You’re not alone.

My goal with writing this series of essays on Medium throughout February was to simply bring a voice to an often isolating mental health concern that is incredibly common, but also incredibly hidden. Yes, talking about it isn’t necessarily fun or sexy, and there’s no pretty bow I can place over this series to prove that talking out loud about your experience is not only okay, but encouraged, but it helps to let down the curtain. Now, I am not a medical doctor, licensed counselor, or mental health expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know this: sharing your story, your truth with another person can make you stronger, and, in turn, it can sometimes help give someone else strength. It doesn’t have to make you feel embarrassed or broken or like a misfit. Because there’s so many of us, and we can be in this together.

All I really can do is keep talking about it myself, and hope that someone else out there is nodding along, realizing they’re not by themselves trying to hold the weight of the world together with scotch tape.

So, get yourself the positive support you need — whether that’s a licensed therapist, journaling, meditation…. whatever works for you.

And then, tell a friend. Tell three friends. Tell your Instagram followers. Just speak up. You never know whose day — or life — you might be impacting.

This essay is the conclusion of a four-part series on Medium by the author, talking through the ins and outs of anxiety. Read more: Part One // Part Two // Part 3.