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Looking after ourselves

Senior Contributor

Managing vs Fixing

The other day, I received some well intended--though utterly useless--advice on how to deal with anxiety. It's been rolling around in my head since then, just how differently people respond to the subject of mental illness. More accurately, people who haven't had to deal with it themselves. This is only in my experience--but I'm wondering if others have had similar experiences too--that some people (people who I suspect have never dealt with severe mental illness) seem to think it's something that needs "fixing". I disagree. I don't need to be "fixed", and I think this kind of perspective is just... Not helpful at all. It's been a stark reminder that the majority of people still seem to be "afraid" of mental illness and see it as something that's bad/broken. I'm sure if I wound the clock back I'd remember looking at it that way too. But now, I don't see my anxiety issues as something that needs fixing. It needs managing. And without intending to sounding like an unappreciative ass, the recommendation for "holistic" anxiety chews or whatever they were, is just moronic. It's a sad state, to me, that someone can be (yeah well meaning) but so uneducated about mental health that they sincerely believe anxiety chews are going to be of any help. And it's a little frustrating that some people see it as something faulty that needs correcting. My anxiety, and my boat load of other fantastic issues, are not wrong or bad. They are parts of me that were created when they were needed. They served a purpose. Yes, as an adult, they need managing in order to function, but they are not broken parts of me. They are parts of me that allowed me to survive. Anxiety and fear are not bad emotions or responses, they are necessary to survival. Yes, mine tend to go into overdrive, and yes, that isn't helpful as an adult. But it's not wrong, I don't need fixing, I just need to learn to manage it.

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Managing vs Fixing

@saltandpepper I wholeheartedly agree. Being able to manage our MH is the key. It is not somethine that needs 'fixing' because that says to me that what we are going through is something broken within us - and that perpetuates the stigma and misunderstanding around MI. It is part of us and some things (like the fear and anxiety you describe) are there for very real reasons. Learning to cope with and manage that can lead to a better life ...but it is also something we will always have to work on ...so NO - people that think it can be 'fixed' are - in my opinion - not cognisant of the true effects nor the true spectrum of what it actually is like to deal with MI.

Re: Managing vs Fixing

Hi @saltandpepper 

This is my first post, although I have followed many other conversations. 

 

I suffer from anxiety and have done so for much of my life, as I have recently discovered.  I was hospitalised about a year ago and I am recovering with the aid of meds and therapy.

I have undertaken a lot of research on my condition and l now know a lot more about mental illness. Certainly much more than most well wishing people who are full of good intentions. One thing that has come out of covid is the publicity around mental health and hopefully progress is being made on understanding. 

 

I anticipate managing my condition for the rest of my life but I am confident that I can do so.  

I have had to explain to some close people how they can assist me.

 

I hope this helps. 

 

 

Re: Managing vs Fixing

@saltandpepper  Well said. 👍👍

 

@Finiks  Welcome to the forums. I hope you find support here. Join in wherever you feel comfortable.

Re: Managing vs Fixing

Hey @Maggie @Finiks @Zoe7 thanks for dropping in.

 

@Finiks well done on all the work you've put into your recovery, sounds like you've taken some very positive steps forward. I'm glad you have a good support network in place and friends that are willing and able to help.

You're right, covid has put a spotlight on mental health. I'm not sure how people will respond to it though, and I do feel people will tend to see it as something that needs to be overcome--like the pandemic--rather than accepting and managing. But time will tell hey? My perspective is probably being clouded by the friendly advice I received the other day.

 

It's really gotten under my skin, though I'm not exactly sure why. I did tell them I'm comfortable with my level of anxiety and it's something I can manage--their response was still "we must fix this". Just seems like such a damaging perspective to have, and I remember a time when I constantly felt bad/wrong because of my mental health issues. Now that I've learned to accept it (at least most of the time) it's allowed me to shake off those feelings of "fault". It's a much healthier mindset and one that allows me to manage quite well (most of the time).

Re: Managing vs Fixing

Hi @saltandpepper, it sounds like you've had a really invalidating response to your expriences with anxiety.

In my experience, 'must fix' responses, or reactions, can often come from a place of discomfort on the part of the other person, where they are unsure of how to respond or deal with what you've told them about, so they want the issue to be fixed so the discomfort and uncertainty around how to respond will also go away. As you've mentioned, it doesn't always work that way though, you can't always just 'fix'. I'm also glad to hear you feel able to manage better now and in this, can see a strong sense of resilience within you in being able to pick up and keep going, and a lot of strength and awareness being able to analyse the response for yourself. 

 

TideisTurning 😊 

Re: Managing vs Fixing

Hi @saltandpepper and @Maggie and @Zoe7 .

 

Thanks for your kind words. 

 

I am lucky that I have a supportive network of family and friends. 

 

I think that we obviously need to be careful about what we share with different people but I have found that sharing things that trigger my anxiety with my close family has been helpful in managing what to do when it raises it head.

I have occasionally heard uninformed  people talk about how something may be so "ocd" or the like, but I just let it go because they just don't understand. 

 

It does seem though that there are many people dealing with anxiety and openly talking about it. I think that the more that is known about mental health the better it is for all.

 

I had a mental illness and didn't understand what was going on, but I  do now and I am able to understand the triggers, how our bodies respond and what I need to do to manage.

Warm regards.

 

 

 

 

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