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Click-bait

Click-bait

Dear Anita,

Your hair smells like cinnamon, and your skin is made of the first morning dew in summer.

My best friend just told me that she suffers from anxiety, and has had panic attacks recently.  I'm scared and embarrassed that I didn't know this about her.  I'm not sure what to say, and I feel like I'm looking at her weird.  I've read a few things like: "What Anxiety Feels Like" and "10 Things Loved Ones of Mental Illness Sufferers Should Know", mostly on Facebook, and I'm not sure if they help.  Is she going to be ok?  How do I help her?

Affectionately yours,

Bertha Bestie

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Dear BB,

Moisturize with coconut oil.

Now.  First of all, let me just say, my bestie sprung bangs on me recently, and I wasn't sure I would recover.  Good thing she's beautiful and they look amazing, because you just shouldn't surprise a bestie like that.  So having your sister-from-another-mister spring something so mysterious, scandalous, and scary as anxiety and panic on you is nothing to sneeze at.

I think you should be kissed square on the lips for seeking out how to be there for your friend, what you've stumbled upon, my darling, is "click-bait".

There's few things in this world that I hate more than "click-bait".  You know, those articles that are titled things like, "You Thought You Were Healthy, Until You Read This One Thing You're Doing That Will Kill You by Dinnertime"; or "Is your relationship doomed?? A four minute quiz will tell you".

I don't really need to know what kind of Disney princess I am, because I know (Ariel, duh), and because it stresses me out.  I also don't want to read an article that boasts, "The 10 Things People With Anxiety Want You To Know".  Sigh.  How do they know what I want anyone to know?  I find it annoying.  No one knows what my anxiety feels like to be able to put it into a bulleted list.  My point is, click-bait just isn't helpful.

If you want someone to know what your anxiety looks like, tell them.  If you want to know how to help someone who struggles with anxiety, ask them how.

That goes for anything, by the way, not just anxiety.  It doesn't have to be a "disorder" for you to show empathy.  We all have hard days.

Listen, we're all weird...and we're all ok.  (and let me say that 22 hours a day, I don't believe what I'm typing here....and one of those two blissful extra hours is my daily lunch-nap...)

Articles describing "A Day in the Life of <insert issue here>" are sort of like the sad Sarah-McLachlany ASPCA commercials of mental hygiene: they can spark awareness, but can show too daunting a cause to do anything about.  We're less likely to want to talk about these issues if we keep making them scary and sad.

Anyway, BB, I digress.  It's not as scary as we're making it out to be.  Haven't you ever had a bad day?  The kind where you were overwhelmed?  And you just hated everyone's faces?  Or a day where you didn't feel 100%, and no one understood?  Or maybe a day where you were super worried about money or something and found your self in a tailspin about "what if"?

Yes?  Then, see?  You can empathize!  You know!  We all know, because anxiety isn't weird or uncommon.  It just takes many shapes.  Sometimes the shape is scary and bewildering and can take us off guard for a while.  Where articles like the ones you found can help is to give you a general grasp of what anxiety can look like for some people....just don't use it as a GPS for "the answer".

There's always a way back from anxiety, and if there are friends like you in the world that are just willing to ask, "what do you need", then that way back will be a lot quicker, and a hell of a lot less lonely.

In later posts (Peabody callibur, surely), we'll talk about the shapes anxiety can take, and that might help give some context for the beast we all have inside.  Until then, BB, keep being the most amazing friend ever.

Anita

Recovery is a four letter word.

Recovery is a four letter word.

I've got 99 problems, and don't want to get help for any of them because I'm not "weak"

I've got 99 problems, and don't want to get help for any of them because I'm not "weak"