If you were asked, “have you ever experienced anxiety?”, what would you say?
The reality is that more people suffer from anxiety than are actually admitting. Unfortunately, anxiety can cause such confusion, that individuals feel trapped and unable to express their symptoms to others for fear of being judged or ignored. The shame, guilt, embarrassment, and fear are all common and understandable reasons that individuals are unable to voice that they are experiencing an internal struggle; therefore, individuals are left isolated and alone, afraid to reach out and seek treatment.
Anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways. For some it is a constant state of nervousness, feelings of uncomfortability, excessive worry, and agitation. For others, it is a hyper sense of vigilance, a powerful belief that something terrible is going to happen at any moment, feeling overwhelmed, being unable to rationalize, and experiencing physical pain or nausea. Anxiety also has the ability to progress into what are called anxiety attacks or panic attacks; the inability to breathe, a tightening in the chest, shaking, vision issues, feeling as though one is going to die, and/or having a sense of pure panic. These symptoms can be intermittent or constant, but regardless of the frequency they have the ability to be debilitating for the individual.
Many people believe anxiety is chemical, caused by an imbalance of hormones inside the body. Some believe anxiety is made up (one of my personal favorites) and sufferers will hear from others, “oh you’re fine….it’s just in your head…why can’t you just get over it”. Sadly, individuals are so ashamed and guilty from their anxiety symptoms that they avoid any type of help, leaving them trapped in their fears.
All of the above factors create a vicious cycle for the anxiety sufferer; an unknown/confusing source, a lack of support, shame/guilt, and the avoidance of assistance all allow the anxiety symptoms to worsen and create such internal isolation that individuals remain alone while their suffering increases.
I want to encourage anxiety sufferers that there is help, there is relief, and there is healing. I have been blessed to witness many individuals ranging from minimal symptoms to daily panic attacks all gain assistance, comfort, and control from their anxieties. Nearly all anxiety sufferers fear that they are “crazy” or that they are unable to be helped; as a therapist, I wholeheartedly disagree. The therapeutic journey can be intimidating and overwhelming, simply calling a therapist can be nearly impossible. However, one phone call to a competent and trained clinician can determine whether an individual continues to endure the painful isolating fear that is anxiety or achieve true internal peace. If you are experiencing anxieties, please consider reaching out to a trusted resource; as a therapist, I am willing and ready to help.