Why Hearing “It’s Just Your Anxiety” Isn’t Helpful Advice

I’ve struggled with anxiety most of my life, and in the time I’ve been at college, my struggle with anxiety has become progressively worse. When you factor in grades, finals, projects, deadlines, looking for internships and all the financial woes of college, I mean, how could it not?

I’ve never been shy talking about my struggles with anxiety; I think it’s important for people such as friends, professors and my boyfriend to know that a lot of social engagements are hard for me and when I stress it’s not just stress.

My mind is always jumping to worst case scenario, and trust me when I say it’s just as, if not more, annoying for me than it is for my friends to deal with. I desperately wish I could be a “go with the flow” type of person, but unfortunately, that’s not how my brain works. All of my friends, and a good handful of my professors, have been really receptive to my anxiety. A few friends even noticed I was having anxiety attacks just by looking at me.

Up until recently, my friends have been a huge support system for me. As of late, a friend of mine has taken it upon herself to “call out” my anxiety. Whenever I allow my anxiety to take over, she tells me some variation of “that’s just your anxiety.”

Now, I think I understand what she’s trying to do, but here’s what she’s not doing: helping. When my friend does this to me, it just makes me feel silly for worrying which gives me more anxiety because I feel as though I’m bothering her.

Personally, talking through the worst case scenario helps alleviate some of my anxiety. By pointing my anxiety out to me, all my friend is doing is embarrassing me.

Everyone, please do not say this to your anxious friends. We know it’s our anxiety. We know we’re often times being irrational. We don’t need someone to point it out to us. We need someone to help us through it.