As someone who has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder I know that I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. As many people do I turned to the internet to help educate myself and found many helpful things about anxiety out there, I also learned that there are a lot of things out there about anxiety designed to lure in people who are desperate for answers. The one thing that I do know is that in order to understand what will work best for you and help others understand anxiety, first we need to get rid of some common misconceptions right off the bat.
IF YOU EAT RIGHT, EXERCISE, AVOID CAFFEINE, AND LIVE HEALTHY YOU ANXIETY WILL GO AWAY
All of these things may ease some of your anxiety symptoms but it will not cure an anxiety disorder. Educating yourself, talking to your doctor or a counselor, and learning what works best for you will make you anxiety manageable in your day-to-day life.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO ARE ALWAYS REASSURING AND HELP YOU TO ALWAYS AVOID STRESSFUL THINGS IS THE BEST SUPPORT YOU COULD HAVE
While your family and friends have the best intentions and are trying to support you in the only way they know how, in the long run this often does more harm than help. When you are always being removed from stressful situations, you really end up holding on to your fears rather than facing them. Instead it is more helpful for your support team to encourage you to work through your anxiety and face your fears and doubts.
ANXIETY ISN’T A “REAL” ILLNESS
Yes in our lives there are some things that may make us a bit nervous or anxious, being anxious is a natural reaction to some things in life. However, an anxiety disorder is anxiety in the extreme and it causes disruptions and impairments in a person’s life and it is a very real illness.
EVERYONE HAS TO FACE ANXIETY
Yes stress and stressful situations are part of life, and everyone has some stress at some point in time. Having an anxiety disorder is not stress. Anxiety affects your whole life, from waking moments to sleeping moments. Anxiety will affect your health, it can give you feelings similar to a heart attack, dry mouth, nausea, headaches, stomach problems, weight gains and losses, and many other things. Anxiety is an illness that can cause you to have panic attacks and prevent sleep, it can seriously take over your life. If you think that you suffer from anxiety don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or a counselor about it, anxiety is manageable if you get help.
EVERYONE EXPERIENCES ANXIETY IN THE SAME WAYS
Even if you and your sister were both diagnosed with the same specific anxiety disorder, your symptoms could and most likely would be different. Anxiety symptoms are different from person to person.
ANXIETY IS NOT A COMMON ILLNESS
In the United States anxiety is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness with as many as one in five adults suffering or being diagnosed with some form of an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
IF YOU SUFFER FROM AN ANXIETY DISORDER YOU ARE MENTALLY WEAK AND SO YOU CAN’T HANDLE YOUR BUSINESS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
NO….this is the same as saying “no worries it’s just a broken leg” and thinking that leg will heal itself. We all know that is not going to happen, it doesn’t mean the one who broke their leg is weak. It only means they need a doctor’s care to be strong again. Those with anxiety disorders can manage their symptoms and most can handle their business just fine!
MEDICATION IS AN INSTANT FIX
As much as anxiety sufferers would love for there to be a magic pill that will instantly fix the disorder for them, this is not going to happen. Often finding the right medication is a trial and error process and once the right medication is found you have to build up to a therapeutic dose. Also for many medication alone is not the answer and other therapy is often done alongside the medication.
PEOPLE WITH ANXIETY DISORDERS ARE RUDE
Many people with some anxiety disorders are not trying to be rude at all. They simply cannot handle crowds, a lot of noise, and new situations and people in general for long before it overwhelms them. They are doing the best they can so please be understanding and compassionate.
In life you never know what another person is going through and so always try to remember that just like you may have things going on in your life that make things a little harder, others have things going on in their lives too. That person who you crossed paths with that seemed like a jerk might just being having a bad day so don’t take it to heart.