Anxiety is one the most common mental health issues across the globe. A comprehensive study published by researchers at the University of Queensland found that about one in 13 people are affected by anxiety worldwide.
People with anxiety struggle more behind closed doors that they do in public. Often when you see us out in public, we look put together but that doesn't necessarily mean we have it all figured out. Many people with anxiety have become experts at masking it; so often, it is an internal struggle that only we see and feel. Because of that, so many of us suffer alone.
There are many things that people who struggle with anxiety have in common, yet we don't often talk about them. Fear, shame, feeling alone, and vulnerability often prevent us from reaching out or seeking help. Here are 10 truths that people living with anxiety know:
1. Daily tasks are challenging because they are viewed through a lens of worry. Overthinking is exhausting. It's a toxic cycle: my thoughts become worries and worries become my thoughts
2. I know what I worry about doesn't make sense. It's irrational, illogical, emotional and crazy. Those words describe the thoughts in my head, but they certainly don't define me
3. It is physical and at times, all-consuming; I can feel it in all parts of my body
4. It can be treated; but not cured. Taking medication does not make me weak
5. I'm never quite sure when it is going to strike and when it does, I can't just turn it off
6. Anxiety is my constant companion; I'm not sure who I am without it
7. I'm afraid, but I don't know what I'm afraid of. I'm worried, yet there is nothing real to worry about
8. I may come across as arrogant or not interested because sometimes it is so much easier to be on the outside of a group or say no to an invitation. This has nothing to do with you; it has everything to do with me
9. Anxiety is not stress. Stress is temporary; anxiety is forever
10. Anxiety is not easily explicable or rational, at least not to those who don't suffer from it and that's what makes it so hard. I can't explain it to you and you may never understand why I operate the way I do.
I think one of the most tragic parts of living with anxiety is missing the moments. No matter how many times I tell myself to slow down and free my mind of clutter, I still can't let things go. Every part of my life will have to share space with my anxiety; they will never have a place of their own.
Sara Lindburg has a B.S. in Exercise Science and an M.Ed. in Counselling. A 41-year-old wife, mother, and full-time secondary school counsellor, she combines 20-plus years' experience in the fitness and counselling fields and she has found her passion in inspiring other women to be the best version of themselves on her Facebook page Fit Mom. Her inspiration for writing comes from her 6-year-old son, Cooper, and 8-year-old daughter, Hanna.