My Angst Is Not Your Angst

My Angst Is Not Your Angst
5
(1)

A few years ago, I penned a column titled “My Tired Is Not Your Tired” that expounded on the severity of fatigue that people with MS and other chronic illnesses experience. I contrasted the general fatigue most people occasionally feel with fatigue related to chronic illness. Reflections on that column, combined with my current intense anxiety, led me to this week’s subject.

Make no mistake: My angst is not your angst!

Anxiety is another resident that I want to evict from my dwelling! Like depression, anxiety surfaces often and unexpectedly. Anxiety lingers, waiting for the perfect opportunity to occupy every aspect of my existence. It grabs hold and refuses to let go. I become a prisoner of my mind, chained to my thoughts. I overthink everything, obsess over details, and envision worst-case scenarios, which is an uncomfortable space to occupy. Currently, I am exploring mindful exercises, praying, and hoping for comfort and peace. My ultimate goal is to manage anxiety in my everyday existence.

The holiday season triggers my anxiety. I am visibly perturbed, preoccupied, worried, exhausted, and short-tempered. I overreact by yelling, screaming, crying, or all of the above. I have been told numerous times to “relax” or “calm down.” While well-intended, advising me to relax agitates me and leaves me feeling angry, misunderstood, and invalidated.

Anxiety is a complex condition that requires more than taking a deep breath, exhaling, and adhering to verbal directives. Meltdowns occur at a moment’s notice without much prodding. Only people who experience anxiety can understand its truly ruinous effects.

I tried to think of appropriate ways to talk to someone who has anxiety without isolating, offending, or attacking them. I employed myself as the apparatus and my experiences as the equipment. Following are my suggestions:

  • Attempt to calm your loved one down without saying the words: Talk about a subject they enjoy or divert their attention from the source of distress.
  • Show affection: Who doesn’t appreciate a hug? A hug expresses emotional support. A hug allows the person to feel valued, respected, and loved.
  • Learn about anxiety: You don’t have to experience anxiety firsthand to have empathy for someone who lives with it. Empathy allows us to care for one another without judgment or criticism.
  • Don’t punish your loved one: Never make the person feel guilty or ashamed because they have anxiety. Let them know they are in a judgment-free space.
  • Encourage your loved one to seek help if needed: Remind the person that anxiety is manageable and that they are not alone.
  • Reach out to a support group if your loved one struggles with MS-related anxiety: At times, the support partner needs care. Don’t be ashamed.

Please be attentive and understanding if you are supporting someone with anxiety. The above antidotes are not universal. They are personal suggestions for desired actions and tend to work for me.

To anyone struggling with anxiety: Take care of yourself.

You are invited to follow my website at www.teresawrightjohnson.com.

***

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.
×
Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *