For someone who has never dealt with anxiety, it can be hard to truly understand what an anxious person is experiencing. For those living with anxiety, the feeling can even be hard to put into words. Listening to others get it wrong can be just as frustrating as the actual anxiety itself. Here are 8 misconceptions about anxiety that far too often muddy the waters of what anxiety is to those who experience it.
It’s not very common
Anxiety is not strange, rare, or uncommon. In fact, according to huffpost.com, “anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million American adults per year, which is about 18% of the country’s population. Anxiety disorders are also one of the most prevalent pediatric psych conditions.” If you’re experiencing anxiety, you’re definitely not alone. If you know someone with anxiety, don’t treat them like they’re weird or abnormal. You’d be surprised how many people deal with anxiety that have just never told you.
It’s best to avoid situations that bring on anxiety
Ok, so we’re supposed to live in a bubble? Sometimes facing your anxieties is the best thing you can do to feel powerful and strong in the face of your fears. The best thing to do is to confront those feelings head on! Avoiding anxiety tends to reinforce it and make it more debilitating when those situations surface again. Of course there are dangerous or unhealthy situations that would warrant space, rather than exposure, but in general, it’s about moving forward, not away. Go to that party, step on that plane, and break your routine!
Medication is the only treatment for anxiety
Throughout the years, there have been many recommended “treatments” for anxiety, including medication. We’re not here to criticize medicine, but what we are here to say is, “There are other ways!” At Lifted Naturals, we believe in utilizing probiotics, education, and encouragement to live our best lives, and that just happens to be without prescription medication. The most important thing is that men and women with anxiety find a healthy regimen that works for them. It’s just crucial to know that there are other options out there that don’t involve a prescription from the doctor.
It must be something from childhood
Let’s not make assumptions. Just because someone experiences anxiety, doesn’t mean that they have a past riddled with childhood mistreatment or traumatic incidences. While experiences such as these can have an effect on anxiety, it doesn’t mean that childhood is where everyone’s anxiety is born. In fact, you can live a happy and problem-free life until adulthood, when anxiety springs up for one reason or another. Let’s not assume why someone has anxiety; there doesn’t need to be a reason!
Anxiety isn’t a real medical condition
There are many labels for anxiety… does it really matter what we call it? Just because not everyone chooses to go to a doctor to deal with their anxiety, doesn’t mean it’s not just as serious or valid. Anxiety is classified as a mental health condition. On top of the psychological effects, anxiety also manifests in physical symptoms. Downplaying or discrediting anxiety and its symptoms doesn’t help anyone! Drop the labels, forget the arguments about how to classify it, and let’s just call it anxiety.
All you need is a good support system
This is tricky. Of course having family, friends, and colleagues that know about your anxiety and are supportive about it is a great thing that is extremely helpful with battling anxious feelings. It’s also important to remember that anxiety goes much deeper than that. Simply knowing that your husband is there to help you through a panic attack is wonderful and sometimes helpful, but unfortunately, that will not always stop an episode from occurring. You’d be surprised how strong anxiety is and how sometimes it takes over no matter who is by your side. Don’t stop being supportive, just don’t be frustrated when your support doesn’t cure it all.
All anxiety is the same
There are different levels of anxiety, varying symptoms, and so many diverse triggers that it’s not possible to apply one label to anxiety. While one person might experience anxiety due to postpartum depression, another might get those feelings thinking about traveling. Do you break out in hives or feel like throwing up? While one method may help someone with anxiety, another individual might require different support. Even if you have two family members that deal with anxiety, there is a good chance that their experiences vary in many ways.
Anxiety equates to weakness
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate; it affects individuals from all backgrounds and at all ages. We all know many individuals who live with anxious minds who are stronger than ever. In fact, dealing with anxiety and pushing past those feelings, can make someone even stronger than before. We underestimate ourselves and unfortunately, we also undervalue our colleagues and friends all too often when it comes to anxiety. Don’t leave someone out because they have anxiety. Consider anxiety a part of being human, not a weakness that makes them less than capable.
If you’ve never experienced anxiety, it can be hard to understand it. And remember, what works for one person may not work for another. If you live with someone who experiences anxiety, it’s critical to keep an open mind, be compassionate and patient, and come from a place of empathy and curiosity when it’s time for conversations surrounding anxiety. And if you’re the one experiencing anxiety, let’s give ourselves some of that compassion and patience.
At Lifted Naturals, we are all about starting conversations that matter. Send this to a friend that struggles with anxiety, or pass it along to someone in order to help explain anxiety. How do you feel about the perception of anxiety? We’d love to hear about your perspective! It’s all about the journey and we’re all in it together!