My Anxiety, Part III: Everyone Has an Opinion

Jen Sullivan
10 min readSep 26, 2023

So of course when people find out I have anxiety, they like to give me their opinion of how they think I should cope with it. Though some are from people also suffering who like to share their techniques, most are from people who really have no concept of what having a mental health disorder is like, or they understand it psychologically, but have never actually dealt with it themselves.

I usually don’t mind talking things through with others who also have severe anxiety — it’s almost like some sort of therapy where you get to vent your frustrations and be truthful without judgement. That said, there are some who are so insistent that their ways are the only techniques that will work. I have noticed that this is usually part of their mental health issues: they just cannot seem to comprehend that the same practices might not work for others. Some get really pushy about this, but it isn’t as common as the attitude from those who have no personal experience with severe anxiety.

I have had so many people tell me ways to cope with my mental struggles, from changing the way I look at the world to changing my diet to just dealing with it and moving on. None of these are helpful and just tap into my rage, raising my frustration with society and its lack of understanding when it comes to mental health disorders. The Anxiety that plagues me is not from external stresses; it is only made worse by those factors. It will always exist because I cannot remove it, and the only techniques I’ve found to control it are to avoid most of society — something that is not possible in the modern world.

My biggest gripe with input from others is that they act like there is something wrong with me and I am refusing their magical cure. If controlling The Anxiety were as simple as thinking positively or changing my attitude, why would I continue to suffer? No, our society just assumes that if you have a mental health disorder, it’s because you are weak or because you are not trying, never mind that it is the very practices of our world that strengthen these mental health issues for a lot of people. Concerns like unaffordable housing, low wages, lack of decent healthcare — these increase depression and anxiety, and for those of us who already suffer, they just make it worse.

“Think Differently”

I know that most people are just trying to help, but, for me, other’s suggestions are usually just annoying and insulting. From the idea…

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Jen Sullivan

I am a gamer, a geek, and a gardener, among many things. I enjoy writing as a way to share with others. You'll find no AI content here--I am a real writer.