• Mike Douglas

The misuse of "anxiety"


I'm writing this a few days after the event so I have calmed down a fair bit now. But, it's still really annoying!

Right, well, I guess I should actually tell you what's got me all annoyed. 

Earlier this week in the morning I was radio channel hopping in the car while sitting in traffic on the way to work. Eventually I found a song playing. Then a song or two later the talking happens, Radio One is not a station I would usually stay on but I did. 

Nick Grimshaw and his co host are talking about accidentally sending messages to the person your talking about or posting their name on social media when you meant to search it. Basically what I think is being described is bullying...worry not it gets worse!

Nick a couple of times says talking about this is giving him "anxiety". This riled me a little, as someone in the mental health community who talks about the misuse of words. The fact we see or rather hear mental health ILLNESSES used as adjectives. Still haven't heard anyone say they feel cancery and I probably will never hear that because cancer has more visible symptoms and there has been great work done by cancer charities to educate our society. 

While the use of the word "anxiety" was upsetting for my, I considered, maybe you could honestly have anxiety symptoms in the situation being described. If I think about this behaviour situation. Your talking about someone behind their back, and they might be about to find out how you feel. Or maybe Laura is about to find out you've been stalking her photos and you've just liked an Instagram photo from 12 months ago. Then how would I feel, I could be nervous, unsure, on edge, unable to think about anything else, it stop me doing or concentrating on tasks.

Ok so maybe while not the best example. This is an...ok... use of "anxiety". Maybe I'm overreacting. 

The radio conversation continues, Nick then says "I'm getting full on anxiety"! I also rip the radio out of the car to throw it out the window. This is ridiculous, uneducated, uninformed, misleading, stigma building, potentially isolating and extremely damaging to the mental health movement that people within our communities are fighting for. We try to raise awareness, prevent stigma, support fellow suffers and those around them. Previously I have mentioned the damage that mainstream media are doing when it comes to mental health. But in honestly I think I have done this imagining a faceless media. Well this week I heard what I consider ignorant and harmful use of the ILLNESS anxiety. 

I'd like to think I always consider what the other side was thinking and their perspective. With that in mind I had self justified the use of "anxiety", but "I'm getting full on anxiety"?! No, no, no! 

This was another example of how mental health is not seen as serious or important by the media, specifically Nick Grimshaw and Radio One. A very sad day for radio! 

The mental health community will continue will continue to raise awareness in the hope we see and hear less of this. More importantly so people suffering from this ILLNESS will not feel alone, will know there is support, help and understanding out there. You just will not fine it on Radio One. 


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