Many people think that people with anxiety or depression may wake up one day and decide to “get better.” Let them wake up one day and decide to “smile, drink coffee and face it”. I’m sorry to cancel the idea, but anxiety is not something you can choose to have on a Monday and not a Sunday. Anxiety is not a decision. It is not a voluntary thing that you want to have in life, day after day.
It is not a choice. Some days we are free. We think we can destroy it and maybe it will disappear forever. But it infiltrates when we are distracted. It appears in the darkest corners of our mind and jumps on us at the very moment when we feel comfortable. It continually upsets us without any warning.
We cannot simply choose to be happy or to relax. Anxiety has no “STOP” button in our minds. Depression has no stop button in our brain. And certainly both have no eject buttons.
By saying “relax”, you minimize the disease. You downplay the meaning it has in our daily lives. In a nutshell, you say that anxiety is not something to be taken seriously. Which is not a real disease and shouldn’t really worry us. Would you tell someone with a broken leg to stop overreacting and “keep walking”? I do not think so.
So please stop telling us to smile when we don’t know-how. Stop telling us to play happy music and choose to be happy. Stop telling us we have nothing to fear, that’s all we can do. Stop judging how we feel when you have no idea what we are going through.
You will never know how you feel without putting yourself in our place. You will never know what we are going to do with our brains every second of the day. You will never know what it feels like to be afflicted by a black cloud that continually follows you.
And you will never know what it is to fear for your life, to be constantly in a panic and to be constantly filled with “and what will happen if …?” “.
So before you try to make us feel better by telling us to “relax”, remember that anxiety is a mental illness. Depression is a mental illness. Not a vision of life. Not a “stage” from which we will emerge. And not a cry of attention.
Believe me, if we wanted to relax, we would. If we had the opportunity, we would do it as quickly as possible.