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3 years ago · · Comments Off on Myths about anxiety · Sticky

Myths about anxiety

Understanding anxiety can be tricky. There are many myths and misconceptions about how it presents itself and how people who suffer from anxiety behave.

Myth #1

You can always tell if someone is having an anxiety attack.

This statement can’t be further from the truth. For people who have suffered and managed anxiety for years, expressive suppression has become the norm. They can look calm and composed on the outside, while their heart is racing, and they feel sick in their stomach. Even if an observer notices the visual symptoms of blushing and sweating, they may not be able to link it to the notion that the other person has an anxiety attack.  

Myth # 2

If someone is feeling anxious in a particular situation, they will feel anxious in a similar situation.

A person’s behavior is not something that happens in a vacuum. There are lots of factors, which affect who somebody will react to a stressful situation. For example, being in a good mood and having a good night’s sleep improve one’s ability to face an anxiety-provoking situation or task.  

Myth # 3

If a person has an anxiety attack, you have to calm them down.

It is upsetting seeing someone having an anxiety or panic attack. Especially if it is a friend or family member, however, the most common “Cool down, relax, all will be ok” response can backfire and make the situation worse:

  1. Because the anxious person may not actually hear them, the mind and body responses to anxiety can dim down our cognitive responses to reason.
  2. If they hear you, they may misinterpret your words as dismissing their suffering.
  3. Practically it is useless advice, as no one can simply relax on command, advice, or suggestion.  

Myth # 4

People who suffer from anxiety are fragile and weak.

On the contrary – people with anxiety are some of the strongest people out there. They get-up day after day to face situations that scare and hurt them. Sometimes they consciously face tasks and situations, which trigger anxiety to learn to overcome them. They face their fears; they seek therapy and follow-through, so they can live the life they want.

Myth # 5

Suffering from anxiety is not a big deal.

Let’s face it, everyone at one time or another had experience anxiety or irrational fear. And because everyone has felt it, they think they know what a person with an anxiety disorder is feeling. They don’t realize that the anxiety alters all enjoyable aspects of their life in a pretty bad way for such a person. They don’t realize the self-judgment, the feeling that you are afraid of fear itself. So, yes, anxiety IS a big deal! But is also treatable, and manageable with a proper therapy. If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, seek help and start living your life to the fullest.