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What Is Anxiety?

There are several types of anxiety including, but not limited to, certain phobias, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). (1) Those who have anxiety disorders may feel intense feelings of fear and distress during everyday situations. This can be very debilitating and we would like to help those struggling with anxiety.

A Message To Those With Anxiety

Anxiety is akin to a brick wall being built right in the middle of comfort and potential happiness. The disadvantages that are caused by anxiety can make life feel like no life at all, but that is not true. It's important to remember that you do have a life and it is indeed worth living. You are still your own person and anxiety does not have to control your life.

It is possible to get past your anxiety.

Usually anxiety is caused by the mind creating a bigger problem then is actually there. Living with it can be hard sometimes, but it’s important to remember that each and every time you feel anxious that you are going to be okay. You are a fine and wonderful person and any feelings of worry or stress are going to pass.

You are not some kind of freak or outcast if you shake or sweat or twiddle your fingers while you are talking to someone. It’s okay if you get “butterflies” in your stomach around someone you don't like. It’s okay if you have a weak handshake as your hand shakes as well. It’s important to remember that none of these things and no other symptoms of any type of anxiety make you any less of a person.

There is nothing wrong with you the way that you are.

Having anxiety does not mean there is something wrong with you. It’s important to not put yourself down. It is so easy to repeat negativity to yourself that sometimes you start to believe it. The things that you may pressure or put yourself down about are not true. When you catch negative thoughts coming into your mind, it is important to flip them. Just like it became easy to encumber yourself with hurtful thoughts, it will gradually become easier to empower yourself with your own positivity, support, and love.

If you have anxiety -- social anxiety or otherwise -- one of the first steps to overcoming anxiety is learning to accept that it is there. This does not mean you need to allow anxiety to control the things you want to do, but instead, do things in spite of your anxiety. Don't let anxiety stop you from complimenting someone's shoes; don't worry about what they're going to think of you if you do like their shoes. Refrain from putting yourself directly into uncomfortable situations, but instead, take small yet meaningful steps to overcome anxiety. Remember to remind yourself that the outcome of anything and everything will eventually pass.

If you have anxiety, that is okay.

But you are not your anxiety and “anxiety” does not define who you are as a person. You have a name, and it’s not “anxious”, “worthless” or “anxiety”.

Sometimes therapy can help. Getting help does not make you any less of a person. However, if you cannot afford therapy, there is no need to worry, as there are other ways to get through this. Therapy can help, but it also is not magic. Ultimately, you have to learn to help yourself by thinking more positively and reminding yourself that you are important, beautiful and loved. Live for today and know that there is always going to be more to explore, learn and to love. Tomorrow is not here yet and yesterday has already passed.


(1). NAMI Anxiety disorders fact sheet