We all feel anxious at stressful times in life. Whether it’s preparing for exams, sitting an interview, or waiting in line for a rollercoaster.
This is not anxiety disorder. Those diagnosed with anxiety, struggle to find peace in their daily lives. People who are not living with this condition, claiming that something is affecting their “anxiety” based upon a singular event, can create misunderstandings between the emotion, and the condition. Hence, we are going to debunk the misconceptions. The library is open darlings, this, is Fact or Fiction: Anxiety edition.
1. Omg, I Get Anxious All the Time, It’s Not an Actual Illness
Ughhhhhhh, okay we need to talk. To anyone not diagnosed with anxiety, claiming that you’re nervous for your driving test, and slapping it on social media as being your “anxiety”, puts those living with anxiety in a position where they don’t feel validated (mic drop). Anxiety disorder, or GAD (generalised…you get the picture), is a long-term mental illness, which can not only cause psychological symptoms, but also physical ones.
Here are a few examples of psychological symptoms:
- Constant sense of dread
- Feeling on edge, constantly
- Difficulty concentrating (because you’re so worried about all of the above that you’re not even listening to your lecture)
- Heart palpations
- Muscle aches
- Excessive sweating
Together, these can all be signs of a panic attack. If you’re experiencing a panic attack, and aren’t sure what to do, please visit my Help page, where you can access helplines across the world. If you would like to know more on the symptoms of a panic (anxiety) attack, take a look at the NHS’s Moodzone page for panic attacks.
2. People with Anxiety are Weak
Much like other mental illnesses, the age-old stigma remains that anxiety is a sign of weakness, and those affected are pathetic and can just snap out of it. This is not the case (and quite frankly if you believe this, please get a grip). When we break down these ancient-minded barriers, more people will feel comfortable talking about their condition. If you’re not diagnosed with anxiety, it can be hard to understand what it’s like. Imagine you’ve just woken up, and instead of climbing out of bed and getting ready for your day – you lay there, thoughts racing through your head on the tasks you need to complete today (the ones you NEED TO DO TODAY). Instead of getting out of bed, you continue to lay there…still overthinking about what you need to do (OMG). This gets to the point where you’re so stressed about even leaving the house (what if I forget to turn my straighteners off), that you can feel yourself lose control. Yet, you are still in your bed feeling, utterly overwhelmed.
When you have anxiety, everyday can be a struggle. You have survived every bad day sweetheart, if that is not strength, then I don’t know what is (we’re all rooting for you).
3. Only Sad, Lonely Girls Get Anxiety
Statistically, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men, but looking at it logically, that figure may not be an accurate representation of the ACTUAL population diagnosed – one must consider the “Man Up” plague first. In Britain, anxiety is the most common mental disorder, with 8.2 million people being diagnosed in 2013. Six years later, and that number has increased, however, data on the numbers diagnosed is still unclear. Whilst other illnesses get the kind of coverage that “warrants” research, mental illnesses only get reviewed by the Adult Psychiatric Morbitity Survey (APMS) publishing information every seven years. SEVEN YEARS! We need to raise this issue. When we can’t even acknowledge these mental illnesses as important enough to get funded research, we fail those in need.
It is all that common, it can happen to any man (woman, or child), and it is a big deal! (s/o to any Friends fans).
Photo Credit 📷: Tom Hermans