You sense a heavy storm whipping up its destruction. The strong gust of the wind blows you off that you feel your balance giving way. The tide is slowly rising and the icy waters agonizingly bite at your bare feet. But you feel the rough grains of sand sucking you deep so you are left with no choice. You have to cross the dangerous, deep ocean with an unsteady heart. You don’t know what you’re in for. You haven’t the faintest idea how this will look at the end. You feel you are about to explode. You feel the pieces of your soul slowly divide. You force yourself to dive and in a heartbeat, the waves suffocate you. You grasp momentarily for air but the rummaging waters grabs you into its dark depths. You’re being pulled deeper and deeper. Frantically, you flail your arms and legs to fight off the uncontainable gravity. But you fail. You fail miserably again. Helplessly, you feel every hope leave your body. Hopelessly, you become numb. You close your eyes and heartlessly submit to the monsters of your past. You reach the nothingness of the abyss. You open your eyes. You’ve been here before. But you don’t feel anymore.
This is a vague picture of anxiety, an understatement of its harsh reality. People feel the hurt and move on. But there are some who just can’t. Their hearts lament and their minds remember. And eventually, it becomes unbearable that losing oneself suddenly isn’t a bad idea. It’s not the heartbreak or the painful experience that kills a person on the inside, rather it is the prolonged sadness right after. There are some who have been insensitive about this. People don’t really give the utmost attention to persons they know who are suffering. Don’t be one of these heartless creatures. If you know someone who suffers anxiety and prolonged worrying, go out of your way and remember these:
1. Don’t hear them out. Listen.
Just hearing them say something about their anxieties makes you anticipate when they will finish talking. But listening to them touches your desire for them to not stop sharing their experiences and thoughts at all. This is because you want to understand the enveloping darkness they are in. And comprehending their situation and feeling for them is not an overnight sensation. You constantly check up on them. Ask them where they are, how their day turned out to be and make them feel all the more normal despite their desire to push people away.
2. If you can’t understand what they feel, you’re the problem. Not their anxiety.
Some people with mental health illness don’t seek out for help or tell anyone about it because they are afraid that others would label them as ‘weak’, ‘crazy’, or ‘too sensitive’. This is why others won’t step forward to tell their stories and casually tell you what pills they are on or what symptoms they experience in this debilitating misfortune they did not even choose to have. A depressed person can be a single understanding person away from being hopeful again.
3. You understood. Now do something about it.
Anxiety is a constant when it comes to relationships. Fear of losing someone you love, the terror of them being happy with someone else or the agonizing thought of them letting you go will always be there when you love someone. You can’t cure them of their tendency to be anxious but you can definitely ease the pain for them. If there are words, actions, and memories that trigger their helpless state, then do them a big favor and don’t bring them up. Never tell them that they are overly sensitive. Because yes, they feel everything. And that is not a bad thing. Insensitivity is.