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Anxiety Stigma

There’s been much in the way of discussion regarding “toxic” cultural practices, and "toxic positivity,” is receiving its due attention. I couldn’t be happier. A culture of toxic positivity poses an active threat to the wellbeing of anyone who is mentally ill.
It’s no surprise that I have very real reservations concerning the role the Internet plays in mental health. I’ve railed against social media’s role in exacerbating mental health issues in the past, and I’m still crestfallen that more people are not following my example. But today, I wish to discuss something that’s talked about even less than social media, because, I think, it’s something that most people don’t take seriously: the role memes play in the mental health conversation.
I’ve written about mental health disclosure on this blog several times in the past. In those posts, I’ve taken a strong stance in favor of the practice, because I am firmly committed to the benefits mental health disclosure brings to those who are mentally ill.
My mental illness will never be cured, but I’m not asking you to think my opinions are the only valid ones. That would be a mistake. All I ask is that you listen and agree if you so choose. That being said, this post is going to touch on the idea of finding a “cure” for mental illness. For some, the idea of being “cured” of their malady is a dream – for me, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never be cured, and, in fact, I don’t want to be cured of my mental illness.
I feel high anxiety in the heat. This is not the first time I’ve mentioned this. I just don’t deal with heat well. I never have. Not surprisingly, July is perhaps the worst month for someone like me, as it’s often more than just hot – it’s unbearably hot.
The increased awareness of people who are mentally ill has led to an increase in the number of people who want to be mental health allies. Both of these things are great, of course. However, if you want to be an ally, there are good and bad ways to do it, and perhaps the most important thing to remember is if you want to be an ally, don’t be selfish.
It's important to divulge your anxiety disorder to important people, and in a previous post, I tried to convince whoever I could that disclosing your anxiety was in your best interest. If you are one of those readers and actually took my advice, thank you. Now, you may need some practical tips for how to divulge your anxiety to others – I hope these can help.
Disclosure is an important part of living with any mental illness, anxiety included. For those unaware, disclosure simply means letting the people in your life know that you are mentally ill. In a future post, I will share some more practical advice for when you disclose, but right now, I want to focus specifically on why I feel disclosing is so important, and why I feel everyone with mental illness should disclose.
For many of you, hearing me recommend being alone while anxious may seem foreign, if not counterproductive. After all, a common suggestion for people with any mental illness is to maintain a healthy support network to get you through tough times. I’m not disagreeing with that suggestion, for I think it’s vitally important for your health. What I am suggesting is that during those periods of heightened anxiety, it may be helpful to step away from everyone and allow yourself to be alone with your thoughts.
A few weeks ago, I outlined why I think American society causes anxiety. I want to revisit this topic again, but this time focus on one particular social plague: what Medium’s Gabriella Rackoff calls: "the cult of the entrepreneur."