If one more person says that to me about the anxiety I feel, I might punch them.
Struggling with anxiety and depression is SO much more than simple thoughts you can control. When someone gets Bronchitis, do you tell them to try not to think about it? My therapist (who is wonderful, by the way) describes an anxiety disorder like Bronchitis of the brain. It needs to be treated like a real medical issue. Instead of a virus attacking your lungs, your brain is attacking itself. Thats the way I see it. With an anxiety or depression disorder your neurotransmitters are not doing their job. They are out of whack. When the anxiety is severe enough, there may be no thought or meditation that can relax your whacky neurotransmitters. They need help being restored to balance, just like your body does with any medication.
You broke your foot? Just try not to think about it. The pain isnt real. You dont need medical treatment. Its all in your head. Would we ever say that to someone?
I am writing this article in response to all the people out there who dont understand anxiety. I know it can be frustrating. You love someone, you see them struggling, you try to give them advice about how to not think about their anxiety. On the surface it seems like a loving thing to do. And believe me, people who deal with anxiety or depression need to be reminded they are loved unconditionally. However, telling him or her not to think about it is an extremely ignorant, and potentially harmful, thing to say. I do not mean it as an insult, rather i mean it as its most formal definition.
Ignorant = lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular.
Those who are ignorant about anxiety or depression disorders should not give advice about curing those disorders. Opinions and thoughts are welcome when they are said from an area of compassion and in a way that takes each individuals feelings into concern.
I am not a doctor so I realize I do not know the ins and outs and the inner-workings of brain chemistry. However, I have done my fair share of research on trying to better understand my mind. It helps me feel less weak when I can better understand my brain and how it is functioning. For more reading on anxiety disorders, I recommend reading this article here. It explains everything from causes to treatments. It might also be helpful to share with those who are telling you to not think about it.
My dad is a very kind man. He would do anything for me or my sisters, and we know it. It pains him to see me when Im down: he feels powerless. He always tells me to pray more, read my Bible more, give it to God. Dont worry! All of that is such great advice. I think we need to incorporate those things into our daily lives, anxiety or not. However, what do you do when youve tried all those things, and it doesnt seem to help?
Because of the lack of education on topics of mental health, especially in the church, Ive often felt like a failure. Ive failed myself. Ive failed God. I cant handle the stress Im experiencing. There must be something wrong with me- I must not be praying enough. I must not trust God enough to give it to Him. Just try not to think about it right?
THIS IS A LIE. Thats the problem, we are relying on our own strength and ability to give our cares to the Lord.
We dont need to try harder, we need to fall harder.