Anxiety is real, uncomfortable and real uncomfortable at times. Let's continue looking at some other things anxiety is not though:
I’m feeling my arms right now. I turned 40 last month and I’m still here. Despite the thousands of times I thought I was dying of a heart attack, suffocating or some other bizarre event like driving off the road because of intrusive thoughts, I’m still kickin’ and screamin.’ All those years I feared I would die, I had no idea how unpainful and worry free I would be when I actually did die.
Almost three years ago, at 37, I died a handful of times, according to some of the most respected cardiologists in the country (thanks again Dr. Bruce!). And it didn’t hurt a bit! I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t lost, I wasn’t hurt, not even a little. I’ve always had a heart problem, aortic stenosis, and I’ve known about it since I was seven. But doctors couldn’t tell if my aorta had two leaflets or one (‘you should have three,’ they’d say). Turns out I had one (unicuspid aortic stenosis--rather rare actually). The leaflet was in the form of a tiny hole that trickled blood from my aorta like the leaky faucets in all my bathrooms.
Dying didn't scare me. And as uncomfortable and deceptive as anxiety is, it’s not dangerous in and of itself (I’ve never driven off of the road because of it; never choked; suffocated; or even when my heart did stop it wasn’t near as bad as I expected and I handled it quite well)…Okay, honestly, heart surgery can piss you off though!
A Small Deal:
While anxiety is in-and-of-itself, not harmful, left untreated, it can bulldoze through a life leaving only rubble of what appeared a normal existence. The truth is anxiety is a big deal and a small deal at the same time. While, at first, it demands all of your attention (a big deal) and can leave you feeling incredibly done with yourself, it actually was never meant to be placed at the forefront of your life. Like shame, anger, or sadness anxiety in its purest state, is a tool (a small deal), more or less. Like a gun is to a cop. It keeps us safe and ensures order. But, when it goes awry (and when we encourage it) it can dominate us. Like a bad cop misusing his gun. (This gives some insight into how we gain control over anxiety. If the gun (tool) itself is not the problem and instead its the “bad cop” who's the problem, what has to change? The tool (gun) or the cop (you)?)
Anxiety is very common. The stats on it at the time of this writing show that according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.”
Children are not exempt either, in America, “anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old.” Which makes them at a much “higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.”
It's of the upmost importance to treat anxiety early!
Click below to check out Reid Wilson's book. This is the book that taught me all about switching my attitudes toward anxiety and about the physical aspects to anxiety. Great book!
(The information included on this site/article is not an attempt to provide counseling/therapy or any other form of professional treatment, not even a bit. In no way is it intended or implied to substitute counseling/therapy or any other professional services. Also, while the content of this site/ article could be based off real life circumstances, people (clients), names and situations have been changed to protect the identity/confidentiality of the person. Each client has also signed a release to allow the therapist to write about their situation for educational [not therapy] purposes only. If you need professional help, and/or have mental health questions, by golly, seek out a professional counselor...you and your family deserve it! )