It’s okay to not be okay
It is isn’t it?
Well, in one very important sense it is; it’s okay to not have it all together. Mental illness is something so many of us deal with and it’s the new normal to some degree. Not that it’s something people are comfortable talking about, but it’s getting better.
But I’ve noticed something a bit odd and quite disconcerting. I admit, this is my perspective and I do not speak for you or anyone else. These are just thoughts that have come up lately. I’m not even sure if it’s an actual viewpoint, a definite opinion, if it’s something that has actually changed in the last few years, or If I’m just completely full of it.
So here it is.
Yes, mental illness is okay to deal with, to admit having issues with. Everything from slight social anxiety to serious cases of OCD and beyond where serious medication is needed. I think it’s going the right way if nothing else.
but the first thing I find myself uncharitable enough to think at times is that, “If everyone and their aunt claims to have anxiety, then what does the word “anxiety” actually mean in real life for me?” The odd thing is that if I tell someone that I have anxiety, Joe Blow down the block might say “Oh, that’s okay, we’ve all got that. Pot helps with that these days, doesn’t it? I get anxious all the time. You should take a walk or something. Join a club or whatever.”
the thing is; I don’t think Joe Blow down the block knows what anxiety is. he most certainly doesn’t know what an anxiety attack does to a person. Or how crippling social anxiety can be. Or how stress hormones in the body from cronic anxiety will make you sick, physically. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Joe, I know you mean well, but before you minimize the suffering of those who actually do suffer, you might want to talk to a few of those who know what it’s like.
Really, I do feel like my anxiety, which is both crippling and makes me physically sick, and prevents me from doing so many of the things I deep down wish I could do, gets viewed as nothing more than a slight case of being a bit scared or nervous. Oh, everyone has anxiety these days, no big deal. If it gets bad, there’s pot, and there are drugs. What’s the big deal?
Now, you tell me, am I being fair?
let me know in the comments if you think, as I do, that just the normalizing of the word “anxiety” has made it pretty much meaningless. Or maybe I’m thinking about this a bit screwy, then tell me that.
Music: Demo of “Hey, it’s okay.” by JennyK.