For someone who suffers from panic disorders, everyday life can be a bit challenging, so I can definitely say that there are quite a few things only people with anxiety understand. Todd Farchione, a clinical psychologist at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University, says that “there are certain stigmas that society has created for anxiety sufferers, but even more opportunities to overcome them.” Even if you don’t suffer from anxiety, you should still pay attention to these next few things only people with anxiety understand, because this way, you will be able to be more supportive, more understanding and more caring. So, here goes:
1. You Can’t Just Calm down
In my opinion, this is definitely one of the most common things only people with anxiety understand. Even if you try really hard and everyone around you tells you to calm down and relax, sometimes it’s extremely hard to do it, especially if you have a panic attack. On the other hand, you should know that there are a few techniques you can use when you’re feeling this way. With a bit of exercise, you’ll be able to master them in no time and you’ll know what you have to do to calm down when you’re feeling anxious.
2. Fear Has a Different Meaning
For someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, fear definitely has a different meaning. Everyone is afraid sometimes and on certain occasions, it’s only natural to feel this way; for example, if you have to make a big speech or if you have to take an important exam. Well, for someone who suffers from a panic disorder, these day-by-day challenges can be pretty overwhelming and exhausting.
3. Being Anxious is More than Being Stressed out
Being anxious is more than being stressed out, but apparently studies show that stress is a contagious emotion and that two people commiserating on the negative are actually doing more harm than good. Keith Humphreys, Stanford University psychiatry professor says, that “if you have two people who are anxious, they may feed off each other. If people have trouble controlling their own anxiety, try not to engage in that activity even if you think it might help.”
4. Over-thinking is Really Exhausting
Over-thinking and over-analyzing are really exhausting, but someone who suffers from anxiety just can’t help it. It’s actually a toxic circle where your worries become your thoughts and your thoughts become your worries. A lot of studies have found that ruminating on negative thoughts is “one of the biggest predictors of depression and anxiety,” and more often anxiety suffers tend to get “too lost in the negatives.”
5. Panic Attacks Are Always Surprising
Panic attacks always catch you off guard and they are never convenient. Sometimes they happen when you least expect them, for example, when you just leave your house on a sunny day to go take a walk in the park. This can often be completely debilitating, but there are quite a few techniques you can learn that will help you deal with your anxiety in a healthier way.
6. Other People’s Concerns Only Make Things Worse
Even if the people around you are well-intended when they notice that you’re not feeling too good, even if they are trying to help you calm down, they usually just make things worse. There’s nothing scarier than someone telling you that you don’t look so good, especially when there’s nothing wrong with you and you were actually feeling fine.
7. You Always Doubt Yourself
People who suffer from anxiety tend to doubt themselves a lot. Whether they doubt that they’ve closed the door (even if they’ve checked five times already), that they’ll get a bad grade on that important exam (even if they’ve studied a lot for it) or that other people won’t like them (even if they are extremely pleasant to be around), they always find a reason to doubt their abilities.
Dealing with anxiety on a daily basis is not easy, but there are quite a few things you can do to improve your well-being. Do you know any other things only people with anxiety understand? Please tell us about them in the comments section!