As many of you probably are aware, I struggle with anxiety. It can be really painful emotionally to struggle so mightily and the last thing I want is to be yelled at or scolded for having something that is hard to control. With that being said, I have come to understand that some people, no matter what, have a difficult time being kind to those who struggle. It’s a sad, but true fact.
The thing that is even harder to understand is when people who have struggled (or struggle) themselves with the same or similar issue as your own, still manage to treat you like crap. I know that anxiety can be frustrating (man, do I know that), but that’s no reason to treat others who suffer so terribly. In fact, if you’re going through something similar (or have in the past), that should make you more empathetic. Or at least, that’s what I would think.
Now before I continue, I would like to say that I’ve met (both in person and online) people who are extremely empathetic when it comes to my issues with anxiety. Seriously. So many of you and those who I’ve met outside of this blog have been (and in some cases, continue to be) amazing when it comes to supporting me. For that, I thank you. I hope I can and am doing the same for you.
However, I’ve also come across one individual in particular that despite the fact that she struggled and still struggles at times with anxiety, has treated me like garbage on several occasions. I was once at her house and when talking about how I should take medication (this was a while ago and I can’t remember if I was on any medicine at the time or not. Either way it doesn’t matter), she literally shook a bottle of medication in my face. I was extremely anxious at this point and she only made it worse for me.
On another occasion, which I may have mentioned on here or my other blog, this same individual told me that because my anxiety was different than hers, something must be seriously wrong with me. Again, not a nice thing to say to anybody let alone to someone who struggles with anxiety so much.
What really got me about the person whom I’m speaking of, is that she too had (and still does) struggle with anxiety! Doesn’t she know how difficult going through something so seemingly limiting is? Doesn’t she understand how much misery anxiety can bring a person? Doesn’t she? How would she like to have been treated this way at the most anxious time in her life? I imagine she wouldn’t.
I understand if maybe she couldn’t deal with someone being anxious, I do. I understand if she was dealing with her own issues and therefore didn’t want to go out of her way to help others. I do. If I was somewhere and was really anxious, I’m not sure how useful I’d be in helping someone else – I may be working too hard to help myself stay calm. However, I do know one thing – I wouldn’t treat someone suffering like shit. I wouldn’t make them feel horrible about themselves. Oh and if I did by chance snap at them for some reason, I would apologize. I never got an apology from this individual and for the record, she’s had plenty of opportunities. She’s a friend of the family. Another thing? This person wasn’t anxious at the time. She was fine. She just felt like being utterly cruel to me. Real nice, huh?
This post is about paying kindness forward, not cruelty. As I mentioned a few paragraphs above, I’ve had and do have tons of people who support me in my journey to get through anxiety. I have bloggers who have become great friends and who I talk to when I need to discuss my anxiety and when I just want to shoot the breeze and I have family and other friends who are and have been there for me when I struggle with anxiety.
I appreciate this very much. I appreciate the support that I’ve received. I am happy to say that I’ve had (and have) family, friends, and teachers who have tried to understand what I go through and have tried to help in any way possible. For this, I am grateful and I wish to spread the kindness. I try my hardest to help others who struggle with anxiety, even if we’ll never meet face to face. Also, if I do meet someone with anxiety (and yes, I have), I’ll treat them (and have treated the ones I’ve met) with respect and kindness. I know how important that is.
So the next time you see someone struggling, whether you have kindness and support in your life or not, offer your support and respect. Make the decision to be kind and to help others instead of the choice to make them feel miserable. It’ll make all the difference. Thank you.