Anxiety Is Not a Choice (So Please Stop Telling Us to ‘Chill’)

A person who hasn’t suffered from depression or anxiety themselves finds it difficult and even impossible to really comprehend what it is like to deal with these problems as a person.  But, it seems like many people feel if though those who suffer from depression and anxiety are to blame for their difficult and that they could make themselves feel better if they wanted to. However, anxiety cannot be turned on or off so easily! A person doesn’t choose to be depressed, so they cannot just choose not to be anxious and depressed.

In addition, there is a misconception that a person who suffers from depression and anxiety is very easy to spot as they are pretty much always down.  But, turns out this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Most people experiencing anxiety and depression seem completely Ok most of the time, sometimes even feeling perfectly fine! The negative emotions, feelings, and conditions can gradually develop or occur out of the blue.  As a matter of fact it is common when someone begins to think that they might be completely recovered that these emotion choose to occur again. Even though medications do work for some individuals, others find it difficult to chill out by taking drugs or smoking a joint.

Specifically, telling a person to just chill or chill out has the effect of downplaying a severe illness.  So, if you tell a person suffering from depression or anxiety that their conditions is not serious or real, it is very likely that they will feel even worse as they will blame themselves for feeling the way they do.  And the reality is that they cannot help feeling, no matter how much you insist. It is very important to understand that both anxiety and depression are as serious and as real as a broken leg or a broken arm, for instance.  Just like telling someone to smile when their arm is broken is a bad idea, it is as unwise to tell someone to smile when they are depressed and broken inside. After all, would that help? Would it really help?

It is critical to understand that anxiety is a serious mental illness, and that depression is a serious mental illness. Both of them aren’t life perspectives, they aren’t intentional, and they definitely aren’t dramatized. So, make sure you never tell a person suffering from depression or anxiety to “chill,” to “chill out,” or even to “just relax.” What you should do is ask them what can do you do really help them or at least make them feel a little bit better.

Bottom line is that anxiety is anything but a choice! It is extremely serious condition manifested by excessive fear and worry, both of which are difficult for the sufferer to deal with.