Anxiety is a natural response to stress by your body which can lead to mental health issues. It's a feeling of fear or apprehension about what is going to come. Situations such as the first day of school, interview for a job, speech in front of people may cause most people to get fearful and nervous. But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your daily life, then you may have an anxiety disorder.
It’s always better to talk about your anxiety instead of hiding it. But unfortunately, people tend to hide it from the world. Being anxious is not a problem, the problem is when you look for ways to hide it. This not only puts pressure on you to be something you are not, but it can also take a huge toll on your mental and emotional well-being and trust me, hiding your anxiety is never going to be a solution for anything. In fact, it works better the other way around. The more open you are about your anxiety, the better you will be able to deal with it and cope with your mental health problems.
Why do people hide their anxiety?
For much of history, people affected by mental health issues were said to be victims of witchcraft or possessed by evil spirits. Today almost everywhere in the world, mental illnesses are still taboo. Sometimes society blames the patients themselves for their condition. Certain mental disorders are accompanied by aggressive behaviours or behaviours which people may consider peculiar. Those who display such behaviours are likely to encounter hatred, contempt, or fear.
People with anxiety fear the society so they hide their mental illnesses. Stigma results in feelings of shame, blame, hopelessness and distress. It causes people to hide symptoms of their mental illness, it isolates them and excludes them and results in people with mental illnesses being treated differently from the rest of society.
Many people shy away from speaking about their emotions, which is no surprise when you consider that their feelings go virtually unexplored. People learn from a young age that crying is for the weak, and showing any emotion, especially through crying, is off-limits. But it’s normal for tears to accompany discussions about depression, sadness, and anxiety. Still, a person who cries might be called weak or other names.
People generally learn to suppress their emotions and hide anxiety for a few key reasons.
1) To avoid showing ‘weakness’
Showing people that you are suffering from anxiety can put you in a vulnerable place, and it’s pretty normal to want to avoid exposing vulnerabilities to others. You might worry that expressing certain emotions will lead to others judging you and believing you can’t manage your feelings. As a result, you hide your sadness, fear, frustration, and other negative emotions.
2) Lack of confidence
If you grow up receiving the message that you, your opinions and your feelings don’t matter, you’ll likely learn to hide your feelings from an early age. This often happens when parents and caregivers judge or criticize you for expressing your emotions. Some restrictive caregivers reprimand children for any outburst, negative or positive. Eventually, these children may no longer feel safe expressing their opinions and feelings, so they hide them to prevent further criticism.
The lives of people living with mental illnesses are often drastically altered by the symptoms of the illness and society's reaction to them. While symptoms can usually be mitigated by a number of measures, the inherent stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness may persist for a lifetime and can manifest in a number of ways.
Every culture has a different way of looking at mental health solutions. For many, there is growing stigma around mental health, and mental health problems are considered a weakness and something to hide. This can make it harder for those struggling to talk openly and ask for help.
5) Limited awareness
A person may acknowledge some mental health concerns but can lack awareness of their significance or may not really understand that they have an actual illness. They may dismiss or minimize their issues and say “everyone gets stressed out” or “my problems aren’t that bad” or “you’re making more out of this than you need to”.
Some people become demoralized by their mental health issues and believe “nothing will help me” or “I’ll never get better.” These beliefs can be due to depression or hopelessness and can be substantial roadblocks to seeking help.
7) Practical barriers
Another common barrier to mental health care is the inability to pay for the treatment due to financial hardship or lack of health insurance. Not having reliable transportation, child care issues and appointments for treatment that conflict with work or school schedules can also prevent someone from engaging in treatment.
8) Fear and shame
One of the most common reasons for not seeking help is fear and shame. People recognize the negative stigma and discrimination associated with having a mental illness and don’t want to be labelled “mentally ill” or “crazy.” They may also have concerns about how such a label could negatively impact their career, education, or other life goals.
What should you not hide your Anxiety?
It's probably no big surprise that many people with mental health problems don’t readily seek treatment for their concerns. Unfortunately, pretending mental illnesses don't exist is actually more likely to exacerbate the problem, leading to worsening results. This can also lead to a higher likelihood of more significant ramifications to things like quality of life, career and relationships. If you are suffering from anxiety or any other mental health problem, treatment will let you lead a full, productive life. These mental illnesses may be difficult and painful. But they are all very treatable. Treatment may include counselling, medicine, or both. You may possibly also be treated with complementary therapies, such as biofeedback.
It's important to know that you have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. These conditions are illnesses, not weaknesses. Speak up and fight anxiety!