BY: Adrian Smith
My friend’s sister recently learned she suffers from anxiety, like so many in their early 20s do. While explaining to me her experience, he stressed how important she finds talking to others about what she deals with to gain perspective on the issue and understand how to live with it more comfortably.
I found myself in a similar conversation with another friend who showed me the surgical scar on his wrist. As he retold the story of his injury, he added that if he had gone to see his doctor earlier, when his wrist had first hurt, the surgery could’ve happened a lot sooner, and the subsequent recovery would have been smoother. All of this has me thinking the real first step to taking care of both your physical and mental health is reaching out and talking to people. We’d benefit a lot simply from asking questions and being open with the issues we face in our psyche instead of burying the problem deep within ourselves or shying away from what we could instead be getting help, support, and ultimately, a solution for.
You alienate yourself and create unnecessary isolation when you resolve to keep something that affects your mental makeup, your mood or your character to yourself. It’s a better idea to be actively trying to articulate it to someone who can relate and offer ways to cope with your problems. When you do hear advice, take it seriously—don’t just nod and walk away with a vague understanding of what was said. Really consider what they’re telling you. Pick that person’s brain and use the lessons you’ll learn to help yourself when the time comes.
I remember having high anxiety over assignments before graduation. It felt crippling. I was totally unable to write because my thoughts were panicked. I couldn’t get comfortable, nor could I allow myself some time to get away from the work. A break just made it worse. After a paralyzing couple of hours in bed, I finally reached out to a close friend I know who deals with the same thing. He answered my messages immediately and talked me through the hurdles I created in my mind. I was able to take a break after our talk before eventually going back to the work as night came around—confident, knowing that if I ended up feeling that way again, I knew what to do because it was just explained to me and someone would answer in case none of it worked. It’s also equally as important to voice even small physical discomfort or pain, or you may feel and have that checked out right away rather than wait and hope it goes away.
A lot can be avoided if you just take the necessary steps and verbalize the problem and have it remedied as soon as possible. You never want to risk anything when it comes to your health. Even if it’s something that seems small, confirm that it is, if only for peace of mind, because you never know, but your doctor will.