If you have ever felt out of control of your own health, set too high of expectations for yourself, felt that returned-love is performance based, experienced erratic emotional behaviors or were just nervous and unsettled without any particular reason, you’re not alone. In fact, there are about forty million other people in the United States experiencing those same emotions, or rather symptoms, every day. Using the term “symptoms” is particularly important in this situation, because these kinds of things are caused by a true disorder – Anxiety. Anxiety has grown to be the number one mental health issue in North America, with an estimated one third of the adult population experiencing anxiety issues. With such a high number of people being affected by Anxiety, one would think that it widely acknowledged as being a genuine issue, but the unsettling truth is that it’s not.
Unfortunately, there are still negative societal and perceived stigmas around anxiety. This disorder is commonly dismissed as temporary stress that resolves itself after a stressful situation has passed. However, what too many people don’t realize is that stress does not cause anxiety. It can certainly enhance the symptoms of the disorder, but there are deeper factors at play. Those of us who have suffered from anxiety, know that it is something that is always lingering. It can be mentally crippling, and emotionally draining. It can cause an individual to internalize, overthink and expect the worst out of every situation, even with complete and utter lack of reasoning. With these symptoms, people with anxiety are sometimes viewed just being “dramatic”, “emotional” or “irrational”. Those kinds of societal stigmas tend to reflect as perceived stigmas, which can be extremely damaging to an individual’s psyche. With the lack of understanding around anxiety disorder, it seems to be common for someone with anxiety to think that there is something wrong with them, or that he or she “is just messed up”. This mentality can lead to a negative self-image and the reluctance to seek proper care, which is essential in managing a life with anxiety.
The reality of anxiety is that it is a very genuine issue experienced by millions of individuals in the United States. It is too often misunderstood and dismissed, but no one wants to feel out of control of their emotions and health. No one wants to feel like a victim to their own mind, and no one wants to feel like they are broken beyond repair. It is absolutely vital that we talk about anxiety and educate ourselves about it. Furthermore, we need to be aware of the resources out there to manage the disorder and stop thinking of it as something that will pass on its own, because that simply isn’t how it works. By removing stigmas, and providing resources for effective care, we can create an environment for true healing and support.
Sources Referenced: Anxiety Center, Psychology Today