I am autistic and anxiety seems to go hand in hand with the condition most of the time. So I have had some personal experience of the condition.
But we all suffer from anxiety in various degrees. In actual fact, it is natural and at times very helpful. The downfall is if anxiety is prolonged and has a significant impairment on your mental health it can evolve into an anxiety disorder. Therefore being a REAL condition.
A lot of people seen to have an opinion on the common condition of anxiety. I want to break down some of the myths associated with anxiety.
1) Overacting – I know there are some people out there who think people who suffer from anxiety are being over the top in dramatics. I can tell you there is nothing more hellish then suffering from anxiety and feeling like you have lost control. I don’t know anyone who would want populise anxiety. I do my best to run away from the situation and shut down. I feel embarrassed and don’t want people to see me being so weak. Not to mention how exhausting it is mentally and physically.
2) Having anxiety is nothing – trust me it is your own worst battle and so hard to keep up what is the truth. You self-doubt everything and feels like a constant battle with your thoughts inside your own mind that you can not run away from. It is very scary at times and feels like you are stuck feeling like this anxious state will be with you forever.
3) Relates to childhood – OK anxiety can be down to childhood experiences partly in some causes. Though that does not always have to be the case. Personally, I can get anxious about the situation as a result of how my autistic brain is wired. It responds different to new situations and I automatically get anxious regardless of how many times I have had successful experiences trying something new. I still go into a pilot mode of fear. I was born with Autism and it is something that won’t go away but I can make small steps to change and try to manage better my anxiety.
Also, people develop anxiety when they are older maybe from bullying or stressful situation and causing anxiety. There are so many reasons why people have anxiety that you can’t possibly pinpoint it on one theory.
4) Just forget about it – well if only it was that simple. I mean don’t get me wrong distraction techniques can help but it can take time to manage anxiety that it is not a simple case of forgetting it. For me my anxieties happen when I am sleeping so even though I try to sleep to escape, I still can’t run away from it in my unconscious state.
Sometimes it can take a long time to recover depending on the situation. I am not always aware I am anxious and just have the physiological symptoms rather than the classic thoughts.
5) Anxiety is a choice – this to me seems a crazy thought. Though at times it can be scary to adopt new changes. The prospect of trying something new especially when it comes to therapy is daughting. It can be so easy to stay in the situation as it is safe and even though it is the hell you know what is happening. That doesn’t mean you want to live in the hell, it means your scared. Especially if you have lived with anxiety for years it is hard to visualise changes when old habits have developed and formed for so long. Which kinda links with point four where it does take time and sometimes can’t sort the problem out straight away.
6) Just take a pill and get over it. No, if only it was that easy. For a fact it doesn’t cure the anxiety. It helps take the edge of the feeling and can help make you think clearer but you still have the anxiety. You still have to work at it and it takes time for the medication to kick in. Also as we are different with different genetic makeup what works for one person might not work for another when taking medication as we are all different.
8) Illogical people have anxiety. Ok with anxiety it does distort your thoughts but it does not mean to say that an individual is an illogical person. You could normally be brilliant at balancing out the reason but one area of your life is unevenly balanced. You can be brilliant at giving alternative explications to friends problems but totally unrealistic about your own.
9) Anxiety only affects anxiously natured people. False like anything anxiety can strike anyone regardless of background, personality or wealth. Just because you are socially confident does not mean to say you don’t experience anxiety. That person maybe is just better at masking it.
10) You pass out when you have a panic attack. Actually, you don’t because you have an increased heart rate due to the panic, therefore, you will not pass out. Even though at times I have wanted to your body is in such a state of alert it doesn’t want to shut down. It wants to be awake to protect you from any danger.
I hope this has helped people get a better understanding of anxiety. As you can tell it is a very complex disorder that experienced by many different people and in different ways. That is why there are so many different anxiety disorders.
cheers for reading X