According to Google, the world searched more ‘why’ questions in 2020 than ever before. If you are here reading you have likely read all about my ongoing exhaustion from last year, so I will spare you the details and assume we all are on the same page–2020 was a shit show.
So why ‘why’?
What are we all seeking to find? What are we all so curious about? Why are we constantly asking, why?
The answer is simple. It’s human nature. We do it more than you think. If you have a small child you might be a little more aware because no one asks ‘why’ more than children. Love them but we all know this can make you want to bang your head against the wall from time to time. But we want to understand the world around us. We are curious beings that want answers to the questions we have in life.
As a person that suffers from severe anxiety I am constantly trying to understand, rationalize and control my environment. Whether I actually succeed in doing so is a different story, but the efforts all stem from the same place. Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of rejection. I could go on and on.
I was reading somewhere that @michaelbossick from The Skinny Confidential said something along the lines that we tend to have less anxiety about things we understand. I apologize I don't have the direct quote and source, but that concept resonated with me.
He seemed to hit the nail on the head with his statement. In general, the more I understand something, the less anxiety I have about it. My opinion about it doesn't matter so much as my understanding of it. I don’t like taking tests, but if I know exactly what I can expect to be on a test then I can prepare for it and therefore I will have less anxiety about it. The same thing goes for a vacation or a night out. I wish I could say I am the up for anything girl, but I’m not. I have a ridiculously long excel spreadsheet that is broken down into categories based on the type of trip and the weather that I use as a packing list for every vacation. Yes, I am that girl.
When you are dealing with mental illness it is easy to think “why me?” I have spent countless nights wondering why I have to deal with the things that I do. Why can’t I just be ‘normal’? Why do I have to take medication? Why can’t I just say yes to a vacation? Why can’t I make friends?
These questions are all ones that used to make me feel really depressed and anxious. I didn't understand what was ‘wrong’ with me or why life felt like such a struggle. In high school I had very little understanding of mental illness and what was chemically happening in my brain. Most of the time I was in survival mode. Coping in anyway I could. Not well I might add.
However, once I started asking those questions with genuine curiosity rather than self pity I began to understand. The more I learned about mental illness the more I was able to find my answers. By no means did my anxiety disappear but it is much easier to tolerate when I understand where it's coming from.
For most humans, it's natural to fear the unknown. Obviously it is impossible to prepare for every scenario in life or to understand everything there is to understand. But as a whole the more we educate ourselves and seek to understand, the less we have to fear. Within ourselves and with others.
So the next time you find yourself anxious or fearful of something, try to understand why. Maybe you're anxious because you don’t know what to expect when trying a new restaurant. Hot tip, google the menu beforehand or look at some pictures online first. Any time I have an interview or a meeting with someone I try to find out what they look like beforehand. Not because I care what they look like but because I can put a face to the name in my head. The ominous figure becomes a real person and that is far less terrifying to me.
Education is the key to understanding and understanding is the key to reducing fear. I hope we all continue to ask ‘why’ this year. There is so much we can benefit from by simply having a better understanding.
Thanks for listening to this week's ramble. Until next time, stay healthy, stay safe, and stay curious!
Disclaimer: Please note, all information on The Cheeky Life is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. The intention of this blog is to connect with the community and share my personal experiences with mental health, eating disorders, and life in general. All opinions are my own.