I have been journaling since March 2021 about strides I am making in practicing yoga or walking on a regular basis. A week or two ago, I decided to include journaling about my anxiety in the same log. Once I started writing about my anxiety, it was as if I could not stop.
I called my anxiety a bully in that it instills pain wherever it goes. I called my anxiety cancerous in that the anxiety causes good health to go bad. I wrote and wrote and wrote about anxiety not being a friend but being a bully and how there was no room in my home for a bully. I do not allow bullying to occur in the neighborhood or at school, so why would I accept bullying at home?
I know I don’t always have control over my emotions and that is why I have a diagnosis of bipolar, but it is soooo helpful to be able to call out anxiety as a bully and think of it as something that is pervading my home rather than a feature of the bipolar I just have to accept. It is true I cannot control the anxiety when it occurs, I can only control how I respond to it when it does occur. But calling it a bully somehow helps me to think of the anxiety as “other than” and not me. I am not my anxiety. I am not my diagnosis. I am not my bipolar. My anxiety exists as a bully as part of my illness. I can call it out for what it is and I can tell it off and I can tell it it is not welcome in my person, in my home, or in my relationships with family and friends.
Does anybody else have coping mechanisms for anxiety that seem to help by differentiating the anxiety from the person experiencing it? Is it helpful to you too to think of anxiety as a bully to be kept at bay?
3 thoughts on “Anxiety is a bully”
Anxiety isn’t a big issue for me, but I do find it helps to be able to recognize my symptoms as something my illness is doing to me rather than as a part of me. Even if I can’t control it, having a sense of why it’s happening is helpful.
I agree that it’s important to see that symptoms are part of the illness instead of part of the person. I wonder if there were a method to address this difference in such a way as to help with the stigma of mental illness. If the symptoms are illness-related instead of person-related, might we be able to address stigma better somehow with this distinction? I don’t have an answer to this, just a question?
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I think it could make a difference, both to stigma and self-stigma, to be able to compartmentalize symptoms as something that is illness rather than person. I’m not sure how we could get people to see that, but I think it could make a big difference.
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