“Just Get Over It”


Art by Nikita Fisher

Nikita Fisher, Editor

When people feel anxious, it’s common to hear them being told to “calm down” or that they’re overanalyzing the situation they’re in. Although these phrases can help people who seem to be stressed, they can also be a complete nightmare for someone suffering from an anxiety disorder.


What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a mental disorder characterised by significant feelings of doubt, worry and fear. People with an anxiety disorder often or always feel as if something will go wrong, alongside feelings of constant panic.

Worries that seem small to others can be huge, and hard-to-remove for those who have anxiety. It’s not easy to deal with, as it disrupts the flow of everyday life very easily. Friends, family, and others who are concerned may try to help, but the help given often doesn’t work and ends up being ineffective.


Anxiety Disorders vs. Stress

Anxiety is usually mistaken as normal stress due to their similarities. Both anxiety and stress deals with our natural “stress response”, telling us whether to fight or take flight when in danger or dealing with a particularly hard or harmful scenario. This similarity does not mean that stress and anxiety disorders are the same. When someone is stressed, it is usually caused by something specific such as studying for tests or getting somewhere on time. We usually know what we are stressed about, and naturally goes away once the stress-inducing event is over.

However, anxiety does not necessarily need a cause and can occur at random moments, even in times of happiness. If there is something specific that does trigger stress for anxiety sufferers, the feeling of worry and tension can reside after the actual cause of stress has been resolved. It is important to know that anxiety is different for everyone. There is no one definite experience of anxiety. Because of this, people might find it hard to relate to others who don’t experience anxiety on the level that they do.


My Experience With Anxiety

I suffer from what many people might call high-functioning anxiety. High-functioning anxiety can be seen within people who seem to be successful in functioning in day to day life/scenarios, and yet still live with heavy anxiety. I do a lot of realism art, both as a business and as a hobby, so I’m often labelled as talkative and confident yet, in reality, it’s quite the opposite.

As an anxiety sufferer, I get extremely nervous around people or when I’m outside of my home. One of my greatest worries I experience daily is if the art I create is likeable– or if I’m even likeable. I’m often told that I need to “calm down” or to- just get over it” usually with the assumption that I’m overreacting or stressed. This is not the case.


Anxiety disorders are illnesses, not simple emotions

These feelings of worry and tension cannot just go away with a simple snap of your fingers. Saying “get over it” to someone with an anxiety disorder is like telling someone who broke their leg to get up and walk as if they were never injured in the first place. Imagine telling someone who lost a loved one to simply “get over it.” Saying that can potentially hurt someone’s feelings deeply, and it’s the same for those who experience anxiety. If people with anxiety had the option to simply “just get over it” and function like everyone else, they most certainly would.


How to lend a helping hand to an anxiety sufferer

Keeping this in mind, there are numerous other things that can harm anxiety sufferers. Phrases such as “there’s nothing to be afraid of,” “you’re overreacting,” and “I understand what you’re going through,”  are all examples of what not to say to people who are experiencing anxiety.

When people open up about their anxiety, they aren’t necessarily asking for advice. Anxious people like myself only wish to be able to be listened to. Talking about struggles can help greatly relieve anxiety and give reassurance that people do care. Knowing that someone will listen to their concerns and not judge them is extremely validating and uplifting.


Understanding is Key

I believe that if people were to understand that anxiety is different for everyone, there would be a lot more thought given to how we treat others and what we say. This can lead to an ideal scenario and mutual understanding between both the anxiety sufferer and others around them.

Anxiety isn’t just a sudden burst of emotion, but a lack of control over worries, doubts and fears. It’s not exactly a walk in the park to simply be able to let go of a thought process that you’ve been forced to endure your whole life. Next time when you see someone suffering from anxiety, instead of telling them to “get over it,” try to take time to listen and understand what they’re going through. The smallest action can go a very long way.