According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), In America, 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from anxiety disorders. 40 million.
Can you imagine living your life with complete anxiety? I wasn’t always an anxious person. Or maybe I was but life was just too peaceful then. I began noticing my anxiety after moving to Los Angeles. Here I was, barely 23, in a new city with no friends, hardly any immediate family and no real concrete plan. It came full force.
My panic attacks start with my chest tightening and my head feeling light. Then comes the deep gasps, dry heaves and tears. I’ve never seen myself have an attack but I’m sure it isn’t pretty.
Having an attack is like being forcibly removed from the driver’s seat of your car and being strapped in a sitting position to the hood. You have no control. You can see the path to safety but you can’t get there. You’re yelling and screaming as life passes you by while your body gets hijacked.
There are many different types of anxiety, which means that there are numerous treatments and studies that can be done and have been done to help ease anxiety. However, for those of us who suffer from anxious minds, here are a few quick things to know:
1. We are not okay
Most of the time, I tell family and friends that I’m fine in order to spare them the worry. The truth is that sometimes I’m not. People who suffer from anxiety sometimes think that by hiding from the issue or downplaying it, it will either go away or, at the very least, not cause concern from family and friends.
2. Don’t tell us to calm down
Having an anxious mind is a real thing. The fears, worries and sometimes irrational behavior, it all deeply affects us. If you happen to witness someone having an attack, telling them to “calm down” won’t be very helpful. It actually just reminds us that we aren’t in control.
3. Give us time
Sometimes anxiety attacks can cost us relationships because of the constant battle of living a double life. Trying to be in the moment when your mind is everywhere but that. Sometimes we will need time to be alone. It might be often and it might seem cold but it can be the only thing we feel we can control.