Anxiety. It is an invisible illness that many individuals are affected by. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (source: National Institute of Mental Health)
For those of us who endure anxiety disorders, it is quite difficult to explain to those who do not.
Phrases we often hear are:
- “snap out of it”
- “you’re being ridiculous!”
- “get over yourself”
- “You don’t try hard enough”
- “You’re just lazy”
People misunderstand anxiety disorders for laziness, or a person who is unmotivated to shape a better life for themselves. This is untrue. The truth is those with anxiety often do not have reasons for their behaviors, and do try to fight against them.
People who have this disorder will often exhibit many different behavior that society may misunderstand, or fail to recognize as a symptom.
Below are a few of them:
- decline invitations, even if they wish to go somewhere
- Imagine the worst possible scenario in every situation
- compare their success to those who are close in age to them, such as friends and siblings
- the feeling of being too mentally and physically weakened by the affects of their anxiety
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It is important to change this stigma, because this can help those living with and without the disorder. Here is some information on signs, symptoms, and factors of anxiety disorders.
If you are living with an anxiety disorder, know that you are not alone, and that help is available.