Don’t Hide Your Feelings of Anxiety – Amy Bearmon

I grew up around anxiety. Both my mother and my grandmother’s lives were filled with it. My mother’s most frequent greeting has always been “Is everything okay?” From her point of view, something must always be wrong.

In my life, I have tried to steer in a different direction, while frequently writing about anxiety and speaking about it with groups. I have given talks in my community – at my synagogue – trying to provide real-world insight into traditional lessons, based on my experience.

I have talked to many who suffer from anxiety who have blamed themselves, which is not helpful. I have spoken to many who feel like they are alone. It’s important to remember that we all share anxiety in common, but with different levels of severity. In Israel, for example, where I spent ten years, high anxiety is everywhere. Bags get checked at school, armed guards are a common sight in public and everyone, as a matter of habit, is constantly evaluating their surroundings. But there is reason for it. So, for many, it’s a matter of sorting through what is worthy of anxiety and where you need help in lowering your level of worry.

Sharing what you’re feeling is the beginning of healing. Once you can move on from blaming yourself, you can work on getting rid of feelings of isolation and aloneness. Keeping your feelings hidden is what is most dangerous. Also, if there is a history of mental illness in your family, it’s important to notice that and name that. Awareness of your family history will lead to better mental health for you.

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