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Anyone Who Thinks Anxiety Is A Fad Has Never Suffered From Anxiety

It isn’t this season's 'latest trend', it’s always been there like a pair of well-worn denim jeans.

22/09/2017 11:47 AM AEST | Updated 22/09/2017 11:52 AM AEST
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"I don’t choose to suffer the way I do... I just do."

Ah Society, just as you were going so well you take 10 steps backwards.

For a moment there I really thought we were breaking the stigma around anxiety and mental illness. More and more people are coming forth, finally feeling comfortable enough to share that they suffer with anxiety, and now people have labelled it a fad.

Anxiety isn't this season's 'latest trend', it's always been there; like denim jeans, it's always been around. But many people decide to hide their flared bell-bottoms in the closet never to be seen in fear of judgement.

You may have noticed the current response when someone admits to having an anxiety disorder, "Oh you have it too?", like it's the flu.

My god, I wish anxiety was as basic as the flu and it would simply go away. The problem that surrounds mental illness is that it cannot be seen, it's a debilitating pain that is hidden on the inside. So many millions of people have to suffer in silence.

If you know someone who suffers from mental illness give them support, don't push them back inside the closet with your ugly, old, bell-bottom jeans.

Telling someone with anxiety not to be anxious is like telling someone with a broken leg to run a marathon... It's not possible. Mental illness is not an excuse someone uses to get sympathy or chuck a sick day at work, it's a condition you live with day in and day out.

Of course everyone's anxiety differs; it has different triggers, intensities and can become mild or heightened throughout certain stages of life.

I've had anxiety ever since I can remember. I am constantly anxious about what is coming next... But what is next? I get anxiety and I have zero idea why yet I feel like I'm going throw up and have a heart attack... My body has gone into flight mode. This condition has heightened since becoming a mother, with a whole new list of triggers. I don't choose to suffer the way I do... I just do.

I know the feeling of frustration when others simply don't understand or even 'try' to get your disorder. I've had many people tell me to "read this book it will fix you" and "eat more bananas it helps lift your mood" -- and my gosh, I wish could say, "how about shove your books and bananas up your ass". Would you tell someone with a physical disease to read a book to cure them? No! (But regrettably in this day and age I wouldn't put it past someone.)

Now of course people who are lucky enough to not have this disorder will not entirely understand what it's like -- sure, all people go through moments of feeling anxious, but feeling anxious and having anxiety are two very different things.

Feeling anxious is like a mosquito bite -- there will be times in your life you will get one but it soon goes away. Whereas having anxiety is like having hair -- it has its good days and its bad days (in my case more bad days hence the mum bun) but it's always there, and always will be. (Well, I bloody hope I don't loose my hair.)

The fact that people are bravely coming forth and sharing their stories about mental illness, means it really needs to start being treated more seriously.

I know for my husband Ryan, before he met me he never knew anything about anxiety. Unfortunately, like many others he didn't realise it isn't merely just someone being 'more sensitive or emotional' than others, it's actually a chemical imbalance in the brain -- you cannot control it only manage it. Now I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by supportive, understanding family members who (unfortunately) also suffer from anxiety -- so we all get one another.

Others out there are not so lucky -- they cop the old 'toughen up' or the 'snap out of it' and these poor souls are dying inside.

It's the 21st century and I see the world being so far behind on mental illness, gender/race equality and sexuality acceptance. The world wants to be ahead of the 'trends' yet we are stuck in the 1900s.

If you know someone who suffers from mental illness give them support, don't push them back inside the closet with your ugly, old, bell-bottom jeans.

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If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about anxiety or depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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