“Man Up” Is A Terrible Advice For Someone Who Suffers From Severe Anxiety

Because It’s impractical and caused me more harm than good.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

From an early age, I have hesitated in being offensive in fights that I have fought. Because I have used force and it has hurt a few people very badly. Because If somebody would bully me, I would stand there looking dead at them, calmly. I wouldn’t really use my fist flying towards them. Instead, I would clench them and stand there.

Anxiety, how may I describe mine. It’s a fight or flight response, it’s like my heart beats so faster, that it gets hard to breathe. At times it felt like I was going to die, or so I believed. Maybe it is a condition I was born with. I do not know, but there have been times it has caused me to lose myself in a fight. Thus people would tell my father, that your son can’t even man up to a fight.

I will be really honest, I haven’t lost a fight in the traditional sense. It’s that I would just tire the other person, and just avoid getting hit. Most people don’t usually control their breathing, as they are amateur fighters and are never fully able to balance their Qi. I believe most people don’t even know how to fight. Fists flying in the air doesn’t make you a fighter. My martial arts master used to say that to me.

It’s all in your breathing. You make every breath count, as you launch a fist. If you lose even one breath, you will lose your concentration and will lose the fight altogether.

I learned a great deal from him. He always taught me to never use what you learn for offense, as I learned only to defend. Though, once or twice I broke someone’s arm with a kick. My legs were really strong back then, still are somewhat. He told me to always use a front kick when fighting amateurs as they never really know how to block an attack.

A blow to the stomach, when they don’t breathe properly will put them down for good, use that opportunity to land a few hits. It won’t hurt them on the spot, but it will start to kick in as they will get tired afterward. Generally, I would use the same thing he mentioned in fights. I learned to control when my anxiety would start during a fight.

I would master the control of breathing, during fights and that is how I lasted longer, even much longer in fights where three or four people simultaneously jumped me. Highschool was really tough. They will always pick on the guy who’s sensitive and doesn’t fight back. So there was a time, I did get jumped by 8 people they encircled me and starting to hit me. I tried to control the situation through breathing so I could last a bit longer, but then they started hitting. Now I used to be called “Man up” by those chumps as well.

I landed a solid blow on three of the 8 boys on their groin and got an opening to flee. But in moments such as these, “Man up” is the worst advice anyone can give you, let alone the impact it was on someone’s mental health and their self as a whole.

In one moment, my father once told me the same thing as well, “Man up” after I “lost” a fight. I was mostly confused when people would say this to me, I didn’t hurt those boys, and I defended myself and came unscathed. But then why do they shove this unsolicited advice that just affected me in the most confusing of ways possible. I couldn’t make sense of it.

The first time, I remember I got this advice was from a family acquaintance. I got to head on the head, with a stone a bot threw. I was bleeding but still was conscious. I remember his words very clearly, as he said: “ Be a man, next time.”

This was perhaps the trigger that caused me a severe amount of anxiety during a fight. Though I have never picked a fight with anyone. People around me as a kid have always tried to start a fight. I don’t know the reasons, as I have tried countless times why they picked a fight. Perhaps because they might need to show others that they are smarter than me or powerful. To build a repute for themselves, it can be any of the few.

Though I never really cared, why they picked a fight. I just wanted to outlast them and so I did. By learning martial arts and controlling my breathing I was able to outlast my opponents in every fight. I learned to properly defend myself and also come out unscathed. I learned to not use violence as the first answer to reason with others. I was able to battle my anxiety with an effective countermeasure rather than advice that caused it in the first place.

Whenever it hits, the fear that cripples one’s heart. It is better to breathe slowly and deeply by closing your eyes and focusing on the heartbeat. Breathing in and out from your mouth. Deep breaths are all it takes to balance your focus and calm your Qi.

You will realize the other factors around you as the air that flows around during your fight. You will be able to use anxiety as fuel towards helping you fight. When focusing your Qi, you can use anything that arises from your body, towards helping you relax and focus on what you ought to be doing.

From my experience, it is better to learn the art of self-defense and what it can teach to others instead of advice that has no implementation whatsoever. Thus, I would always advise keeping one in check. To always breathe during an anxiety attack. Focus and practice your breathing. The more you can breathe, the easier your muscles and body would relax. The better you will feel in control.

Ignorance is bliss.

Do not listen to people’s unsolicited advice that is just toxic for your mental health. It is better to focus on better things in life. Practice the art of ignoring the people that are just bad for your health, and it will work wonders for you.

Thank you for reading.

Stay Blessed and Stay Safe!

With Love ❤️

Riku Arikiri

I write about life, and the hope it bears in a poetic context. 💖🕊️

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