Anxiety is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”.
If only it were that black and white, hey? For anyone who experiences anxiety – and there’s a lot of us, it’s the number one mental health condition in Australia – knows it’s a difficult one to explain, to express, to manage.
It’s important then, that we discuss it on a larger scale.
For our brand new podcast with yourtown and Kids Helpline, H R U ?, it’s our first topic of discussion – from how people experience it firsthand, to how to deal with it in everyday life and how to talk to others who might be going through it.
Hosted by everyone’s favourite curly-haired presenter Marty Smiley, the pilot episode calls upon Kids Helpline Specialist Josie, who gives incredible insight into anxiety counselling from the two years she’s been in the position. “When you really unpack anxiety – anxious thoughts, anxious feelings – it’s stress, right? It’s concern, it’s distress or stress related to something that is happening,” she explains.
When someone you know opens up about experiencing anxiety, Josie says the best thing you can do is open up that conversation.”The absolute best thing, whether you’re a professional, whether you’re a support person, whether you’re a family member, is just to say, ‘Tell me about it’,” she explains.
Another good question is ‘What do you need?’
“I think that’s the most powerful question, really, in anything when we’re looking after someone and caring for someone’s mental health,” Josie explains.
This being said, you shouldn’t necessarily wait for the conversation to be prompted before you can offer a helping hand. “Often, unfortunately, we put the onus on other people to bring up with us if they’re not feeling OK,” Josie says. “But often, particularly anxious people, might be really concerned, about how to do that or how they’ll be perceived.”
If you notice that someone isn’t seeming themselves, asking how they’re going or pointing out that you’ve noticed differences can help open the conversation, Josie says. “Allowing them to pick and choose what they want to bring up from there is really good.”
The first episode of H R U ? also speaks to Adit Gauchan of hip-hop duo Horrorshow, who discusses his own anxiety and how he manages it, as well as the loss of his brother earlier this year. “It uprooted any kind of normality in our lives,” he explains to Marty in a heartbreakingly raw and honest conversation, noting the importance of experiencing the grief in its entirety. “Feeling the pain, feeling the sadness and trying to find the beautiful things in that.”
If you’ve ever lost someone close to you or know someone who has, it’s definitely worth your ears’ time.
Throughout the 8-episode series we’ll be opening up on all things mental health, from relationships to grief, loneliness, identity and more. Next up? Sexual health.