Do You Know Anxiety?

  Anxiety is a mental illness that affects more people than anyone really likes to admit. There are over forty million adults in America alone that are affected by this disease every single year. In my personal circle alone, a lot of people I know have anxiety as well as constantly suffer from it in some form. Everyone has different triggers, coping mechanisms, and ways of showing it- while someone may choose to get a chemical boost from a prescription while others choose yoga every morning to start them out with endorphins. I personally have chosen more natural remedies over anything else- although more recently I have decided to give my brain a rest and go speak to a doctor about other options. I've been doing a lot of research on new ways to cope or treat my anxiety- while doing so I've also learned a lot about my own anxiety.

 While I'm just now going to a doctor to willingly try and medicate my anxiety so I can pursue all that I want in life- many people are just like me. Just under thirty-seven percent of those dealing with anxiety actually receive treatment for it. The stigma about it is almost as crippling as anxiety itself, I was shocked to see how many people came up to me at parties after I posted my Social Anxiety post so long ago. People would tell me how they didn't really see anyone talking about it or speaking up about having it, so they always figured they were essentially alone. I'd get emails and comments about anxiety as well with all of the feelings swarming around it. How smothered, how isolated, how burdensome the weight on their shoulders was for things they couldn't control, but felt so many things for. Yet what a lot of them didn't know was that having an anxiety disorder usually meant it came from a list of a few things; genetics, brain chemistry, personality, life events, etc. A lot of illnesses are like that- personally I've been told that I am believed to have anxiety and acute anxiety. Meaning my anxiety spikes after traumatic events happen; sexual assaults, sudden breakups, being laid off, harassment, etc. Not to mention, my believed base-line zero for anxiety is anyone else's three. I've also been told that I have PTSD due to certain life events- if they had never happened, I would never get anxious or have episodes when I deal with any triggers. If I see a police officer, instead of feeling anxiety or having a flashback of why they give me PTSD- I would just see them as any other person.

 What a lot of the people emailing me also didn't realize was that depression went hand in hand with anxiety. Nearly one-half of the people out there diagnosed with anxiety are also diagnosed with depression and the same to those who have depression usually are diagnosed with anxiety too. On top of that, there are more specific anxieties that people have other than just general anxiety. General anxiety affects six point eight million adults and it often is an illness that pairs with major depression.   My own disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, affects fifteen million adults in the United States alone. Honestly, I felt really alone up until recent years when I started reaching out for help and speaking up. I've talked to people around the world and discussed different techniques to use as coping skills for my own anxiety and anxiety attacks. While mine came into my life during winter break of sophomore year in high school, it's said most people tend to begin seeing their's come into effect around age thirteen. One thing one of my therapists told me resonated with me, it's something I tell people to think about who have also spoken up about simply not understanding where it came from. My therapist told me that maybe since I've always had social anxiety, it was shown by me being an extremely shy child, that when I was finally happy sophomore year- my body decided I was ready to handle all of it. With me being my happiest, living the most regular high school life a girl can be, my happiness showed that I could handle a new challenge in my life at the time. My brain was remarkably wrong. According to one study, a decent percentage of people report experiencing symptoms for ten years or more before seeking help.

 Because a lot of people don't truly know anxiety, and I'm no doctor and not yet a therapist, I decided I wanted to start speaking up about it more to my own platform. I can only imagine how many people feel similar to me when it comes to anxiety or even more specifically, social anxiety. So I've decided to step back to where I loved being, an advocate. I want to use my platform to speak up about the mental illnesses that affect me as well as millions of others. The social stigma on anxiety is still around and it should have ended by now, it's 2019 and times are changing. There are new ways to help yourself cope with these disorders as well as new things that can cause these disorders. Coping skills like yoga, meditation, exercise, mary jane, and more. New triggers like social media, the new American dream, FOMO, and more. In the following weeks, I will be diving into social media, anxiety, and depression while also still sharing and discussing the other things that I love. This is just a new way for me to help others while working on my own self too. 

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