Thankfully, people are becoming increasingly more comfortable talking about mental health and the anxiety is one of the areas within this that is commonly discussed. Due to this however, this also means that there appear to be a lot of myths surrounding what anxiety is and how to deal with it.
Does anxiety impact you?
Do you feel like you’re struggling with too many worries about the future? Do they interfere with your sleep and keep you from enjoying life? Do you have a constant or recurring sense of nerves or unease? If so, please know that you’re not alone (although knowing this may not make you feel any better). Millions of people are impacted by anxiety, stress and worrying, and because of this prevalence, much research has been done to discover how to help.
You don’t have to suffer in silence, hoping that your worries will just go away. There are things you can do to alleviate your struggles.
1. Myth: Anxiety isn’t a real illness.
Although there isn’t a medical test you can take to see if you have anxiety, all of your worries and the physical consequences that go with them are very real. If your worries are negatively impacting your life, you can get help and take steps to treat it.
2. Myth: You can pass out when having a panic attack.
A panic attack won't cause you to pass out, as fainting will usually occur when there is a drop in blood pressure. The opposite occurs when you experience a panic attack, with your heart rate and blood pressure increasing.
3. Myth: You should avoid stressful situations if you suffer from anxiety.
The issue here is that it is almost impossible to avoid stressful situations. Life is full of stressful, and often unexpected, situations that you simply cannot avoid.
Also, using avoidance strategies means that you are not allowing your brain to become accustomed to the trigger, and trying to avoid the situation that causes stress can actually make anxiety worse.
You can learn coping mechanisms that can help you to deal effectively with these situations, gradually building new pathways within the brain, making this response more likely in the future.
4. Myth: Some people just worry and cannot be treated.
While there are some people who stress more than others, there are plenty of treatment options available for all cases. Sometimes it is just a matter of the right time, method and treatment option for the individual. e are all different and therefore approaches need to be different too.
5. Myth: Anxiety disorders are rare.
You may think that you are the only person that suffers from such worries, but research has found that as many as one in five struggles with an anxiety disorder.
Many people feel that they are alone with their struggle, and without actively seeking help, they will continue feeling alone.
6. Myth: My anxiety will get better on its own.
Many people put off seeking treatment for anxiety as they are able to go about their daily lives without too much issue. However this may be an avoidance strategy and over time the condition may get worse.
It’s important to acknowledge the way that you are feeling, reach out for support, get advice and learn coping mechanisms - the sooner, the better, because you really don’t have to suffer.
7. Myth: I only need a little drink / drug / food to get through this.
Many choose to self-medicate to get themselves through a stressful event, often opting for drinking alcohol, taking a recreational drug or binge eating.
While this may work in the short term, over time you can become reliant or even addicted to these while the anxiety will continue to remain.
With the cause of your anxiety still present, you also have the physical, psychological, social or financial impact of the coping response too, which can then grow your anxiety further - starting a negative cycle.
8. Myth: Anxiety treatment will take forever.
Not at all. Some people may suit longer term talking therapies, however others may prefer to see improvements just with a few sessions of a blend of hypnotherapy, NPL and coaching.
9. Myth: You can overcome anxiety overnight if you want to.
If you have ever heard someone say to just “get over it” when it comes to your concerns, then they likely don’t really understand how much worry anxiety can cause.
This lack of support may lead to you avoiding the subject entirely and cause you to suffer in silence.
If you have no one within your life right now that you feel you can talk to, a professional understands that your worries are real and how they can debilitate you. They have techniques that can help you.