There are just some things we don’t talk about when it comes to anxiety and depression.
I’ll be honest, even I feel weird talking about them sometimes. Some of them are embarrassing, and just don’t make me feel normal.
So what are these effects that we don’t talk about?
I took this picture to point out some of the physical effects.
While embarrassing, it’s actually a quite common version of anxiety.
I’m talking about “picking.” Sounds terrible huh? Cause it kind of is. It’s exactly what you’re thinking, and if you took a close look at my picture, you can probably point out exactly what I’m talking about.
Sometimes anxiety is picking at any little thing you can pick at, just so your hands have something to do.
That includes hair, skin, scars, you name it. Of course I’m not proud of it. I don’t like feeling like a hack job. I cover it up because it embarrasses me. Yet I do it. I could probably help it, but it’s not easy. If you have this form of anxiety, you know what I’m talking about. If not, I hope I can explain this properly.
I don’t do it because I like to do it.
So why do I do it?
(Time to invest in a stress ball I guess. Haha)
It’s hard to control once it’s in motion. I don’t know if it’s more an anxiety thing, or an OCD thing, or both. But it’s just something that nags me.
Now, some of the least obvious effects of anxiety, yet still embarrassing:
Not showering/taking a bath for days on end.
Normally I’m pretty good at taking showers and keeping my overall hygiene regular. I try to take a shower every other day; I brush my teeth, I don’t wear the same underwear two days in a row.
However, some days it’s hard for me to even talk myself into taking care of myself. That includes not having the energy to take a shower, or wash my face. Could be something as little as not feeling like brushing my teeth before bed.
Sure, it’s normal not to take showers every single day, but with this form of anxiety, it’s a struggle to find the energy. I don’t want to stand up in the shower for 10-20 minutes, I just want to lay in bed in my PJ’s and watch Netflix, or actually fall asleep when I’m supposed to.
More effects would include: Getting sick easily and not getting enough sleep.
That could just be blamed on adulting 😉
But anxiety really does effect your body that way. Even if it’s something as small as a 24 hour bug. Or even when you slept in until noon and still feel like you haven’t gotten enough sleep. It could even be, you took a great nap, and you still want to fall asleep at 8. Except, sometimes you can’t. Insomnia is a big effect too. Ick. ALL THE MELATONIN.
I would like to think I’ve gotten better though. And I would also like to think I’m pretty good at getting to bed on time. I take the pills I’m supposed to take every day. I eat. (I love food too much to go without!)
So for the most part, I’m pretty good at taking care of myself.
But, that’s what anxiety and depression does to you.
It’s never your fault. You can be doing everything you’re supposed to be doing, taking the pills you’re supposed to be taking, and your mental illnesses find their way through the tiny cracks.
It shows up in bad habits, or emotions.
I could be having a great day, and still need something for my hands to do. Not because I’m nervous, or having a panic attack. Just because that’s the effect of most of my nervousness and panic. I’m used to it. It’s a reflex. An unfortunate reflex.
For those without anxiety and depression, I know I don’t make much sense, but if you know someone with anxiety and depression, here are some ways you can help them.
1: Don’t say, ” Stop doing that, it doesn’t look good.”
We know it doesn’t. We can’t help it.
2: Instead of pointing out insecurities, be quiet and get physical if you can. That sounds strange, but I mean, if you have to point out that they’re “doing it again” in order to help them, be quiet about it. Make sure nobody around can hear. It’s embarrassing.
And by “get physical”, be gentle. Move their hand away from wherever their picking at, if you can. But again, be gentle. They’re going to feel awkward if their bad habits get pointed out. But they know they don’t like doing it. Help them. If they’re okay with you getting physical about it. It’s okay to talk about it before hand. Which moves me onto #3
3: Make them feel loved, not judged.
You want to help them, but you’re not sure how. It’s okay to talk to them about it. But, instead of asking, “How can I help you?” ask something more along the lines of, “Is it okay if I do this?” If you ask how you can help, most of the time you’re going to hear, “I don’t know.”
We don’t even know how to help ourselves. Plus we hate feeling like a bother.
So it’s okay to ask, “Is it okay if I move your hand when I see you pulling at your hair? Would that help you?”
4: Don’t ask questions. And don’t belittle.
Wow Monica, didn’t you say it was okay to talk to you and ask you questions? I sure did, and it still stands.
Do NOT ask someone, “Why do you do that?”
Do NOT tell someone, “Fix your attitude, you’re putting everyone else down.”
Do NOT say, “Don’t do that. It’s gross.”
We KNOW it’s gross. We don’t know why we do it. Telling us to fix our attitude is going to make our “attitude” worse.
We’re sorry. Anybody who has anxiety/depression knows it can be hard on the people around them.
Anything you could possibly point out about somebody who has anxiety, knows already.
We know it’s not attractive. But that’s anxiety for you. That’s what it is. It’s ugly.
That’s why we don’t talk about it. Only a handful of people in my life know about these things. Maybe less. But they’ve all been really great at handling it, and showing me love, not judgement. My husband never makes me feel ugly, and he always tries to help me when he can. That usually includes just grabbing my hand and squeezing it tight when he notices.
Oi. I’m also going to mention it effects social life a ton too. I promise, friends, I’m not trying to ignore you, I just feel like I’m a bother. Not your fault. Thanks for still being my friend. Haha.
It also effects work. Yes, I do get yelled at sometimes, and then only later think of a response other than the silence I gave in the moment.
Of course there’s more to anxiety than what we talk about. But I hope by reading this, I’ve helped you understand what it’s like, or if you already know what it’s like, I hope it made you feel less alone.
Thank you SO MUCH for reading!
Let me know if there’s anything I missed, or go ahead and just leave a comment because I would love to read any responses!
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