Note: This post is intended for those living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. PTSD is a severe form of anxiety caused by trauma. If you live with mental or physical symptoms of trauma, I am very sorry for what you have gone through. I encourage you to seek professional help or contact the ADAA for support.
Anxiety disorders are very common.
I believe one of the first and most important steps toward successful recovery is understanding that you are not alone. Symptoms that might seem to you to be strange, bizarre, or horribly frightening, are being felt by people all over the world – quite possibly by somebody living on the same street as you.
Not only are you not alone in living with your anxiety disorder, but it doesn’t mean you are “sick” either. It takes a lot of great personality traits to cook up an anxiety disorder – you are an interesting person! Feeling anxiety is nothing to be embarrassed about or feel shame over. It’s simply the result of the way your body, brain, and personality work together to keep you safe. They do a great job. A little TOO good actually. Be proud of that. Own it.
Never forget that anxiety is actually there to help you live a longer, better life. Yes it is obnoxious, and overbearing and downright scary at times. But its purpose is to wake you up and get your attention. Anxiety is trying to tell you that you need to slow down your life and start taking better care of yourself and speaking to yourself in a healthier, stronger way. Sweet and subtle nudging won’t push you into action. The message has to be tough and strong, through symptoms that MAKE you pay attention. If you listen to those symptoms, and the overall message your anxiety is sending, and start living your life in a healthier way, you will be amazed at the positive changes that will occur – both inside your mind and body, and throughout your world.
Familiarize yourself with the information in this graphic from Union Quay Medical Center. This graphic was created using statistics from both the UK and the US with sources at the bottom of the graphic. Familiarize yourself with as much about anxiety and stress as you possibly can so you can de-mystify it, understand it what its purpose in your life is, and eventually (yes, its possible) make friends with your anxiety and use it to make your life better.