I was in my late 30s when I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). As a child of the '60s born of immigrant parents who survived both the Great Depression and World War II—each of them with their own harrowing experiences—I was raised with a don't-complain-pull-up-your-bootstraps-and-get-on-with-it mentality. As such, I grew up feeling unworthy of my anxiety.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Beating anxiety involves intentionally doing the opposite of what anxiety is at its core. Anxiety isn't fun, it is almost devoid of positive purpose, and it robs us of passion for pursuing life. Therefore, cultivating passion, purpose, and fun despite anxiety can go far in beating anxiety.
Anxiety and stress are similar in nature. They both are typically unwelcome invaders intruding on our lives, rudely disrupting our inner peace and calm. Because they are related, people often use the terms interchangeably. Technically, there is a slight difference between stress and anxiety. For each of us in our daily lives, though, does the difference really matter? Read on, and decide for yourself.
You may have learned somewhere that anxiety is a mental illness. Anxiety is so much a part of the human condition that almost every one of us across the globe experiences it sometimes. Does this mean that the entire world has a mental illness? For part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, let's explore whether anxiety is a mental illness.
Let's shed some light on understanding anxiety to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. After all, anxiety affects everyone. Every human being on this planet, across cultures, genders, age groups, socioeconomic groups, and all other groups of people, experiences anxiety. To be sure, not everyone has an anxiety disorder, but anxiety itself is part of the human condition. Therefore, it makes sense that during Mental Health Awareness Month we increase our understanding of anxiety. By doing so we celebrate. We celebrate being human and having the ability to take charge of our mental health despite anxiety.
Recognizing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) rituals can be an important journey of self-discovery. Obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferers often have mental rituals that help lessen their worries and unwanted thoughts. When a sufferer performs an OCD ritual, it can temporarily help relieve anxiety. The rituals may seem illogical to those who don’t have the disorder. But to those who suffer from this often-devastating condition, recognizing OCD rituals and their triggers can sometimes lead to greater self-understanding and relief.
Performance anxiety may prevent me from living my dream of singing professionally. Since junior high school, choir teachers and audience members commented on my anxious stage presence. I loved to sing with other people in unison or harmony, but when it came to solos, I was a nervous wreck. I was the recipient of the “Every Which Way but Loose” award in high school choir because onstage, I simply couldn’t relax and enjoy performing. Performance anxiety was front and center at every concert, and it often stole my spotlight.
Living with social anxiety and jumping to conclusions is like perpetually bouncing on a crowded trampoline: We must be watchful so we don't cause harm to others; we must avoid bumping into, and thus annoying, others; we know if we do it wrong we will surely ruin things for everyone; and we jump, jump to conclusions that we're being judged negatively. Social anxiety is exhausting (Social Phobia [Social Anxiety Disorder, SAD]). You don't have to remain stuck on the social anxiety trampoline, jumping to conclusions that you are somehow lesser than others. To stop jumping to conclusions and soothe social anxiety, to find some peace of mind, you must understand some of the effects of social anxiety.
The notion that it's possible to spot a person with anxiety is mortifying to the tens of millions of people living with anxiety disorders. With its physical side effects that can affect every system of the body and its strong emotional symptoms, many people experiencing anxiety have an added worry that their discomfort is evident to the world. Surprisingly, this guide for spotting a person with anxiety just might make anxiety sufferers feel a little bit better.
While social anxiety is often thought to be something for the introverted among us—after all, they tend to be quiet and reserved—extroverts can experience social anxiety, too. In fact, introversion and extroversion are aspects of personality have no bearing on social anxiety. Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder, a mental health challenge that can be faced by anyone regardless of personality type. Therefore, extroverts can, indeed, experience social anxiety, too.