The truth of the matter is that most people don’t know anything about mental issues.
As such, misconceptions about anxiety shouldn’t be much of a surprise, yeah? I mean, many people go through “episodes” of anxious behavior here and there, yet most of us can’t really understand how it feels afterward.
Sure, they’ll talk as though we actually get the other person, saying stuff like “I know what it’s like” and “we’ve all been through this”
But that’s not true, you don’t understand what’s it like, and the fact that you’ve “been there” doesn’t matter in the slightest.
We are forgetful
I already see your questioning looks.
What could I mean by “forgetful”? Most of your probably think that you know what certain feelings feel like.
Otherwise, why would you avoid them in the first place?
That’s a fair argument, all things considered.
It’s true that we remember certain experiences very profoundly.
Research suggests that we tend to remember bad experiences over good ones – all the more reason for you to remember your anxiety, right?
Truth is, it’s less about memory and more about mindset.
Think about it for a second: when you are anxious, what are your thoughts exactly?
Wait, you don’t answer, I know that you know.
But you were going to give me a few answers alongside the lines of “worried” or maybe “stressed-out”, right?
Truth is, you don’t really understand what anxiety feels like.
You may “know” what anxiety feels like, just like you know about stuff like world war II for example, yet you don’t really “understand” it.
Anxiety is a mindset, you can realize what a certain mindset dictates, but that doesn’t mean that you can see it from “their” point of view.
Because of that, people tend to believe that they understand, but in truth, their perspective is subjective by nature.
Unless they are having the same, or maybe even a similar, condition to yours, they won’t be able to “get it”.
This rule has few, if any, exceptions.
Funny thing is, this rule also applies to people in “during” and “after” situations.
You don’t know your own thoughts, why should you know what other people think?
At this point, you may be raging at me, but let me put up a counter argument to all of your annoyance.
People don’t like to be told what they think and why.
In the most basic of levels we relate our thoughts to our freedom, and we often times get angry when someone tries to “read” us and “uncover” our reasoning.
It takes away from our perceived freedom.
Oh look at that, I did just that!
Let me prove it to you, though:
- You know that you are on a diet, and you tell that to yourself, yet whenever tempted with food something “convinces” you to eat it, even if you curse yourself all the way through.
- You return home after a party, only to wake up with a nasty hangover. You promise yourself to never get drunk like this again, yet you do just that right next week.
You have no idea about what makes you do these things, and you tell yourself not to in certain situations, yet you just do them.
The fact is, the “you” that tells you not to isn’t really the “you” that does these things.
Well, it is, but it’s all about your mindset at any given time anyway.
5 Common Misconceptions About Anxiety
Alright, so after this long intro about why people don’t really understand other people, here are some of the most common and annoying misconceptions that people with a “not-anxious” mindset tend to have.
1) “Just work at it and you’ll feel better”
This one is actually pretty surprising coming from me, I know.
I always talk about self-help, and how, through a methodical approach, you can solve your anxiety and push it all away.
That case is correct for most cases of anxiety, mild to moderate, yet severe cases of anxiety are much more problematic in comparison.
Why? Because like I said earlier – people without a certain issue can’t relate to those who have it.
This also applies to severe cases of anxiety when compared to the rest – the mindset behind “self help” can’t work around severe cases.
Keep in mind, that’s not to say that “self-help” won’t help you, but it might prove itself to be a solid solution by itself over time.
That aside, most “self-help” advice out there is a complete and utter joke, to say the least.
Following that advice won’t nearly be good enough for most people – the only really good pieces are worth anything.
2) “Therapy and self-help didn’t seem to work, my anxiety is special and no one gets it”
This myth bugs me more than it really should.
This myth just goes along with the assumption that all “self-help” is the same, that all therapists and therapy procedures are the same, and comes up with this dumb conclusion.
Here’s an idea – People are different, self-help changes and not all therapists are equal.
Shocking, I know!
Truth is, not only do most of the people who say this don’t try hard enough, they also look for shortcuts and aren’t willing to put in the effort over time. (more on that later)
Trying hard at the moment is easy enough, yet fighting your anxiety and fatigue over time is exhausting, to say the least.
Giving up under the excuse that you are special (as I said before, we don’t like it when other analyze us) is far too easy.
You can’t let yourself fall into this pit.
3) “Just snap out of it!”
A lot of people seem to think that just taking pills, going to a few therapy sessions or just doing some exercises is the only thing between them and total freedom from anxiety.
Boy oh boy, they could not be more wrong.
Truth is, you may knock away anxiety for a while, but mental illnesses are systematic and it’s likely to return.
No, a permanent solution requires effort.
It takes time, many long sessions and hard work, to permanently get rid of anxiety. It isn’t something that you just “do”
Keep in mind, the counter-argument to this isn’t much better – some people believe that you can’t really get rid of anxiety for life and that it will “always be there”.
This idea is equally dumb.
4) “It’s genetic/chemical/biological, it’s a part of who I am”
Using this as an excuse is a very damaging mindset to have, as it throws the blame at someone else.
Chemical imbalance is mostly theoretical in nature, and scans to prove any biological reason were largely misinterpreted, to say the least – most tools that we can use, such as MRI and fMRI scans, do not show us any biological differences
The only argument that holds any water is the genetic one, yet even that isn’t quite good enough.
Genetics can only ‘encourage’ anxiety-related behavior, they do not enforce it upon you.
This excuse is destructive, it’s the “way out” that you might be looking for – but it’s more damaging than anything!
5) “just relax” or “calm down!”
The belief that relaxation is the key to getting rid of anxiety is simply wrong.
Yes, relaxation can help your anxiety, and despite is being rather difficult that’s not the point.
Relaxation techniques lower levels of stress and help you calm down.
As you might know, recurring stress is the very core of anxiety.
As such, you might believe that dealing with your stress would end up being the solution to your problems.
Not so, however.
You see, anxiety may be affecting you because of stress, but stress is caused due to specific circumstances that relaxation simply doesn’t deal with.
Forcing yourself to be relaxed while you have lots of bills (and debt) to pay isn’t going to do you much good, right? Relaxation won’t change the fact that your boy/girlfriend just broke up with you, and you want them back (badly).
The only way to actually treat your anxiety is by finding the source of it – and dealing with that source.
Relaxation deals with symptoms, which are unpleasant but otherwise don’t cause your anxiety to begin with.
Look forward, my friend.
Truth is, most people don’t know much about anxiety.
They tend to think that it’s all in their head, or that they can’t do anything about it. Misconceptions often times seem to contradict each other and go full circle.
Yet anxiety is a pretty simple thing at its core – recurring stress.
As such, it should be dealt with as if it’s just that, not some uncontrollable variable or something you can sleep over (because it’s, you know, recurring.)
As long as you don’t fall into false beliefs, you are already 20% into treating your anxiety.
Meanwhile, though, how about a question? What did you believe about anxiety that turned out to be false?
Make sure to write down your answers in the comment section below – I read every single one of them.
Also, if you got something you would like to ask me personally make sure to send an Email.