Admitting you have anxiety can be difficult, but doing so can also help you take control of it.
A recent Humans of New York subject is the perfect case in point. The anonymous young woman, who was featured as part of HONY’s Colombia series, candidly shared how acknowledging her anxiety helped her manage it better.
“I used to try to hide it. I would log off social media. I wouldn’t answer calls,” she told HONY photographer Brandon Stanton. “I thought that if nobody knew, it didn’t exist. But the more I talk about my problem, the more I realize that other people experience similar things. So I’m trying to express it more.”
The woman also explained that the pressure she felt to perform well in school led to anxiety and panic attacks, which held her back creatively and academically. An instructor then offered her some sage wisdom after admitting she was dealing with the mental health issue.
“I had a great teacher who told me: ‘Instead of letting anxiety keep you from doing your art, let it be the thing that motivates your art,’” she said.
In typical HONY feel-good fashion, the post got an overwhelmingly positive response. Commenters left messages of support for the woman, encouraging her to continue seeking professional help and applauding her openness about mental health.
“Anxiety can be so debilitating and misunderstood,” Facebook user Meg Wallick wrote on the photo. “Thank you for sharing your experiences. It helps the rest of us know we aren’t alone.”
Nearly 18 percent of Americans are living with an anxiety disorder. The mental health issue is an incredibly common medical problem. Yet research shows there’s a good deal of judgment and shame surrounding it ― which is both self-inflicted and comes from people in society who don’t understand.
It’s this stigma that often keeps those experiencing the condition from speaking up about what they’re going through. However, advocates stress that talking about it is vital in eliminating negative perceptions around mental health.
We commend this HONY subject for doing just that. Can we get more of this?