Anxiety!

Hi folks. As you can tell, we will be talking about anxiety. This month is, amongst many other things, Mental Health Awareness Month. There are so many disorders and mental diseases that are out there, but anxiety is one that I am very familiar with. This is my own personal take on the subject, from the life experiences I’ve had. I’m not going to go in to terms and definitions or get scientific on you. I want to give you my real world view.

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Now, let’s debunk some myths I used to believe about anxiety.

MYTH: Anxiety causes people to be nervous wrecks all the time.

REAL LIFE: Anxiety is not defined as someone who suffers from constant worry or fear. It is definitely a part of suffering from anxiety, but you aren’t in constant Chicken Little mode. There are times where the sky is indeed falling. Other times, you are a¬†completely functional human being. Two years ago, if you would have told me that I have an anxiety disorder, I would have told YOU to get your head checked. The effects of anxiety are wide ranging, but most people who suffer from anxiety go through phases of anxiety highs and lows, and will have anxiety or panic attacks.

MYTH: I thought having anxiety meant you were crazy.

REAL LIFE: Well, you are crazy, but everyone is crazy, including me.¬†Anxiety is a normal response to certain situations. Some people suffer from an overabundance of it. It can be mild or severe, but most people with an anxiety disorder fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Anxiety can also be associated with other disorders such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Being “crazy” is subjective. We all go off the rails from time to time. It is important to know when you are going off the rails too much.

MYTH: You can tell when someone has anxiety.

REAL LIFE: The truth is that people are exceedingly good at putting on brave faces for others. I know this because I’ve done it for a long time. I’m not going to go in to details about my life, but it hasn’t been all sunshine and happiness. I began hiding behind a mask of sarcasm and ill temper a long time ago. I have a very short temper. I constantly think about how things aren’t going to work out. I function on a razor’s edge of knowing that my life is fine and I’m an idiot for worrying and complete nuclear meltdown. Hi, I have an anxiety disorder. It took a rather personal situation to put it in perspective for me. The world didn’t end, and I was relieved when I found out that there was a rational answer to my irrationality. The only thing I regret is not seeking out help sooner.

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Anxiety is a tough road to walk if you don’t know where you’re going or if you don’t even know what road you’re on. My personal experiences have taught me that the best thing that you can have is a support system. Get help and talk to someone if you feel like there is something in your life that you can’t control. If you know somebody who you think is suffering from anxiety, reach out and support them. Don’t be a short fused nervous time bomb like me. It’s ok to be a little crazy. We can all be crazy together.

For more detailed information on anxiety and associated disorders, visit the following links:

National Institute of Mental Health

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Alliance on Mental Illness