One of the most common things that I (and so many others) hear when revealing ‘the anxious truth’ are the suspicious and disbelieving words: “Really… you?!”
Yes. Me. Excuse me if I didn’t have the courtesy to wear a “NUTTER: Please avoid” name tag and lanyard for you.
The problem is, that I mostly appear as confident, opinionated (I hate that word, so negative) and – whenever I get the chance – the life of the party. So people get confused. They feel somehow tricked, betrayed, when you reveal this sombre and unnerving other side to yourself.
But it’s not a trick. A lot of the time, I really am confident, opinionated and the life of any party I have the energy (and the babysitter) to attend. Those are pieces of me – important pieces, but not the only pieces.
And that doesn’t just apply to me. We’re all complex little creatures, aren’t we? If I see a friend secretly shed a tear at a charity advert, or unexpectedly choose a romcom over an action thriller, I think to myself “hmm, I’ve never seen that side to you before”… I don’t run for the hills in case my friend has actually been replaced with a replicant.
The truth is, mental health ‘issues’ make a lot of people nervous. All of a sudden, they don’t know what to do, what to say, to people they might’ve known for years. Now that’s crazy.
So instead of saving it all up for the big, terrifying reveal – let’s all just be brave and have a chat about Our Anxious Lives.