wE'Re AlL mAd HeRe

Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic… and the rest!

#MentalHealth and the Media

Happy Halloween everyone! Normally I love a bit of dress up, but I didn’t do much this year. Although I’ll admit, I did miss judging the girls in really inappropriate clothing.  A sexy Red Riding Hood? – SHE’S A CHILD!!

Apologies for the long radio silence. Things have been interesting, to say the least…. Don’t worry, Mr Fraser and I are still married, Rigby is still Rigby and no, I’m not pregnant.
I can’t really talk about it at this stage – ask me again in a few months.

Let us change the subject.

Media exposure has been a wonderful thing for mental health. Nothing spreads awareness faster or has such a long reach. It also puts pressure on the government to recognise issues, and for this reason, I take as many opportunities to write articles as I can. The more information and personal experiences that are circulated, the better. The charity Time To Change are excellent at this, check out their website or even better become a TTC Champion!

Yet, as with all things, media attention hasn’t been without its setbacks. Language, for example, is a sticking point for me. Some journalists are more sensitive/clued up than others and the majority of the time I don’t take offence. However, I am starting to worry about how the word ‘anxiety’ is used and therefore perceived. Over the last six month’s it seems to have become a catch-all phrase for ‘stress,’ which if you suffer from anxiety is both untrue and insulting. The difference is so extreme, it’s like trying to compare a papercut to a stab wound. When I’m stressed I feel irritated, wired and worked up. When I’m anxious I can barely think straight, the negative thoughts in my head are deafening. I can’t keep still, my heart pounds, my breathing is heavy and my emotions are volatile. Do we spot the difference there?!

Exposure is great, but it needs to be managed. I don’t want to get to the point where anxiety is viewed as “nothing” or merely something that sensitive people have. For the record – Last week I watched a bloke cave another bloke’s head in with a baseball bat called Lucille (Walking Dead). I’m not a delicate flower, but I do have Social Anxiety Disorder. To disregard this genuine condition as being ‘sensitive’ is like a kick in the stomach.

Everybody slips up now and again and that’s cool. I know I’ve said many ignorant things without thinking, E.g. “Omg I’m beyond depressed today.” Or “I swear, if I have to wait much longer I’ll kill myself.” Flippant, and immature statements that I’m not proud of. How can I criticise journalists for poor language if I’m guilty of it myself? Can you imagine if cancer was referred to in such a way? “I swear if I have to wait much longer I’ll get cancer and die.” – Suddenly it put things into perspective.

I have no desire to become a word Nazi or ride off into the sunset on my high horse. But I do believe that change starts at home and from now on I intend to think before I speak.
Hopefully, others will too.

newspaper

Categories: Anxiety, Social Anxiety

7 replies

  1. I couldn’t agree more, Claire. Language is so important, it’s difficult enough to explain the differences between stress, anxiety and being sensitive, without the media appearing to dismiss one of them as someone just feeling a ‘little worried’ about something. I’ve gone through my life thinking I was too sensitive, and being told that I’m being silly for getting upset for no apparent reason, now understand that actually, it was probably anxiety at work; and yes, I am sensitive, but that’s not a bad thing, is it?!

    Love your blog, it always makes me smile/laugh, and think about how I am with people. Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. Over emotional and self absorbed. I got that once from my manager (in another life!). Over sensitive – had that too. It was interesting actually going back to the GP this week saying, I surely shouldn’t be ill, I put my meds back up two months ago but I don’t feel right. Told her a couple of things and she was like ‘wow, if that happened to me I think I’d be pretty anxious too’. Basically told me it was all relative. That was a relief!! That for once my anxiety was relative to external things. That was stress. Not the illness. It’s an really good point you make. I have anxiety disorder but I can still have normal stress at times too! xx

  3. Let me just start off saying that this is by far my most favorite blog to read about social anxiety! I am so inspired by your words and encouragement and hope to find that one day! I have been suffering from anxiety for about 11 years now, but have been recently figuring out ways on how to control my mind into thinking positively rather than negatively. I really loved this post because I am a journalism major, and I could not agree more about the media spreading awareness for any disease in general…though it has been within the last couple of years where I have seen more about mental illnesses. Growing up, I have heard countless times that “anxiety isn’t real because everyone has it”. Though I understand everyone becomes stress, I know there is much more to anxiety then that. But, then again not all journalists suffer from this mental illness therefore I feel that the term “anxiety” is thrown around a lot as well. I know journalists have to fact check and do research before writing articles, but it definitely made the term more “popular”. I also recently began thinking before I speaking as well, just because my short-temper has got me in trouble before, lol.

    Thank you again for sharing this post!
    Cara
    cmdevenney@mix.wvu.edu
    http://www.devenneycara.wordpress.com

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