Anxiety may be hard to define basing solely on patient’s experiences. I and Doc (see my About page to have an idea of Doc) actually did not thoroughly define the term in any of our sessions, or maybe we just had not gotten the chance because I already quit.
But anyway, in my last entry, What is a support group, I mentioned that a support group are the people who care when you are already not functioning well. Because you are on a critical emotional level, you tend to be easily attached to the persons who care, or to persons who seem to care.
Who are those who care?
Based on experience, there can be four kinds of people around a person going through some emotional setback:
- Those who listen
- Any person experiencing an emotional difficulty is going through some tough time in their lives. There is always the story behind each emotional challenge. Sometimes, all these people need are those who are able and willing to listen without judgment.
- Those who try to give advice
- I think it is default to a friend to try to give advice or to cheer you up when you are feeling down. Ok, friends, calm down. I realize all your efforts but depression and anxiety are not your normal dose of loneliness. The normal sadness will just be gone once you have made your friend laugh. But depression and anxiety are different things. And depending on the level of a person’s depression, trying to make him or her laugh may not be the best thing to do. I’ll have a further discussion on this on future posts.
- Those who seem to care
- This one is a bit tricky to spot. Only you can know if you can depend on a certain person or the kindness he or she is showing you is just an act of generally being nice. You can accept the support they give, but for me, don’t entirely make them your whole foundation. This is because when they finally decide to not give you support anymore (due to circumstances that I will discuss in future entries), you will be left all empty again, and even all those strength and emotional strength you have saved will just vanish.
- Those who can’t understand
- Then there are the people who won’t ever see that your dysfunctionality is a result of some emotional struggle. They just see you as a rotting person, doing nothing good with your own life. Their minds are even closed enough to not welcome the possibility of a mental strain.
You should automatically see the red flags in these people. This is one of the traits that make them the “toxic” people in your life (more on this “toxicity” on future posts).
However, having said all of these, being attached is not a bad thing. Babies and the young ones, at a certain stage, are still weak and need someone strong to depend on and thus get attached. Even weak plant stems are tied to strong ones for support. Even a roof cannot stand alone. It needs pillars and foundations. This support is what makes the weak ones stronger in the long run.
This give and take relationship is emotionally healthy for both parties. It is healthy for those who give support because they feel that they are important. Realizing that you have a purpose is crucial for your mental health. It is healthy for those who receive the support because they feel that despite the nothingness there are still people who care.
But maybe, it is all about being attached to the right kind of people and completely shunning away from toxic people. And to be able to completely distinguish the toxic people from those who are not, one needs to develop first his or her own emotional strength.
I will have further discussions on future posts on all the topics mentioned here.